27 Sep 2019

Freezin’ Season

As Virginians, we are lucky to live in an area that experiences the beauty of all four seasons.  However, the intense sunshine and snow do leave us with a few more responsibilities than other, one-season states.  One important winter step that many people forget is winterizing irrigation systems. With Virginia’s common below-freezing temperatures, making sure your irrigation system is prepared for the cold is crucial to save you from severe damage and repairs.

What Is Winterization?

Winterizing irrigation systems is a precautionary procedure that removes excess water from vulnerable pipes.  The process is time consuming and detailed, which is why it is best done by irrigation maintenance professionals.

Save Money

Your irrigation system is an important investment.  Winterizing these systems will save you large amounts of money in the long run.  Any bit of water left in irrigation pipes can freeze and expand during the winter, causing pipes to crack.  The cost of repairing these systems is far greater than the cost of winterizing.

Avoid Wasting Time and Landscaping

When irrigation system pipes burst, homeowners usually don’t realize there is a problem until well into spring.  Once they find the issue, it can take weeks for system repairs to take place.  By this time, much landscaping can be lost due to the lack of irrigation and, often, the process of repairing the system can wreak havoc on your yard, too.  Having your irrigation system winterized can save you time and save your yard.

Protect Tap Water

Another reason why you should winterize your irrigation system is to protect your home’s tap water. The backflow prevention device is an important piece of your irrigation system which prevents contaminants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, and animal waste, from entering your home’s water pipes.  This piece of the system is above ground and exposed to the elements and is, therefore, even more at risk of freezing.

G&R Contracting offers winterization treatments so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the changing seasons worry-free.  Sign up before November 1stto receive 20% off ($60).  Freezin‘ season is on its way, don’t wait to sign up!

Contact us today to sign-up!

27 Sep 2019

Freezin’ Season – Winterization

As Virginians, we are lucky to live in an area that experiences the beauty of all four seasons.  However, the intense sunshine and snow do leave us with a few more responsibilities than other, one-season states.  One important winter step that many people forget is winterizing irrigation systems. With Virginia’s common below-freezing temperatures, making sure your irrigation system is prepared for the cold is crucial to save you from severe damage and repairs.

What Is Winterization?

Winterizing irrigation systems is a precautionary procedure that removes excess water from vulnerable pipes.  The process is time consuming and detailed, which is why it is best done by irrigation maintenance professionals.

Save Money

Your irrigation system is an important investment.  Winterizing these systems will save you large amounts of money in the long run.  Any bit of water left in irrigation pipes can freeze and expand during the winter, causing pipes to crack.  The cost of repairing these systems is far greater than the cost of winterizing.

Avoid Wasting Time and Landscaping

When irrigation system pipes burst, homeowners usually don’t realize there is a problem until well into spring.  Once they find the issue, it can take weeks for system repairs to take place.  By this time, much landscaping can be lost due to the lack of irrigation and, often, the process of repairing the system can wreak havoc on your yard, too.  Having your irrigation system winterized can save you time and save your yard.

Protect Tap Water

Another reason why you should winterize your irrigation system is to protect your home’s tap water. The backflow prevention device is an important piece of your irrigation system which prevents contaminants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, and animal waste, from entering your home’s water pipes.  This piece of the system is above ground and exposed to the elements and is, therefore, even more at risk of freezing.

G&R Contracting offers winterization treatments so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the changing seasons worry-free.  Sign up before November 1stto receive 20% off ($60).  Freezin‘ season is on its way, don’t wait to sign up!

22 Aug 2019

Is Your Patio Prepared for Fire Pit Fun This Fall?

PATIO PAVERS – KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

With fall approaching, it’s time to say goodbye to scorching sunny days and hello to cool, refreshing evenings.  Backyard barbeques, bonfires, roasting marshmallows, watching the leaves change color, and enjoying the nice weather with family and friends are just a few of the joys of outdoor living.  Patios and fire pits make for the perfect space to experience the changing season.  As this long, hot summer comes to an end, now is the perfect time to prepare for fall fun.

Patio pavers are incredibly versatile and allow for many design and layout options.  They can be used for steps, pathways, patios, driveways, or to surround pools.  Patio pavers are typically made from concrete, clay, or stone.  With so many options, it’s beneficial to know all the choices before starting the design process.

CONCRETE PAVERS

Concrete pavers can look like concrete or be dyed and molded to look like cobblestone, flagstone, bricks, etc.  Concrete allows for endless designs, since it can be poured into any shape.  Some use concrete pavers to create geometric or abstract shapes rather than typical rectangles.  Concrete is usually one of the cheaper options when it comes to patios.  It is durable and will hold up through most weather conditions, although it is subject to cracking due to freeze-thaw cycles.

STONE PAVERS

Stone pavers can be made from a multitude of stones, such as marble, travertine, limestone, granite, bluestone, and more.  After being quarried, the stone is cut to standard sizes and thickness.  Stone pavers come in earthy colors, as they cannot be dyed.

FLAGSTONE

For a natural stone look, flagstone is usually the way to go.  Flagstone is sedimentary rock, typically sandstone, that is cut into flat, irregular pieces.  Since it’s not altered after being quarried, the earthy colors vary depending on where it’s from and what substances formed it.  While the finished product is stunning, flagstone is heavy and hard to work with.  Patios made of this material require adequate drainage because the stone is subject to erosion and splitting.

CLAY BRICKS

Clay brick patios give a traditional and symmetrical feel.  Bricks come in several different colors, the most popular being red.  They hold their color very well over time.  Installing brick patios is easy due to their size.  While designs are usually symmetrical, many layout options can be achieved.

COMPOSITE PAVERS

Composite pavers are made by reusing scraps of plastic and rubber.  When being manufactured, they use less energy and release less carbon.  Another benefit is that composite pavers are substantially lighter than concrete pavers.

Contact us today to get a FREE design consultation!

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/44281-patio-materials-101/

http://www.mason-lite.com/top-5-factors-to-think-about-when-creating-outdoor-fireplace-plans/

11 Jul 2019

It Doesn’t Have to Be Christmas to Light Up Your Home!

It’s Christmas in July! And we don’t mean it’s time to hang the tacky Christmas lights.  We’re talking about elegant, professional landscape lighting.  Landscape lighting is a fun and functional way to illuminate your outdoor living spaces. There is plenty of room for creativity in lighting up gardens, patios, porches, walkways, and yards.  Not only is outdoor lighting aesthetically pleasing, it increases the value of your home, adds practicality and safety, and reduces the risk of crime, too.

PROPERTY VALUE

Landscape lighting is a beautiful way to showcase your outdoor living areas.  By adding lighting to patios and yards, many more hours of visibility and usage are added, as well.  This, in turn, expands your overall living space and adds value to your property.  In fact, it is estimated to increase your home’s value by as much as 15-20%.

FUNCTIONALITY

While yard features, such as decks and walkways, are extremely useful in the daylight, they lose much of their functionality when the sun goes down.  Installing outdoor lighting removes this concern and makes your yard even more safe to use at night.  No need to worry about tripping over flower pots or down steps.

REDUCE CRIME

Another benefit to landscape lighting is its proven reduction of crime.  A well-lit yard becomes much less of a target for robbery and vandalism.  A recent study showed that crime can be cut by 39% simply by having proper outdoor lighting.  So, while your yard becomes more useful and appealing, it also becomes safer… a win-win for the homeowner!

11 Jun 2019

We need to talk about your backyard!

Don’t miss out on summer, family fun!

Spring leaps right into summer in Virginia, and that means your yard should be ready for all of the attention it’s about to get. A beautiful, vast, green lawn is something to be really proud of, and you undoubtedly work very hard to maintain it. While grass and gardens are pretty on their own, incorporating hardscaping elements into the landscape can really bring your yard to life. “Hardscaping” refers to the man-made features in a landscape, such as patios, paved areas, walls, benches, and walkways. Keep reading to learn more about what hardscaping can do for you, your property, and even the environment!

1. AESTHETICS

When lush, organic landscapes are paired with thoughtfully designed hardscaping elements, the result is a beautifully balanced property. Great hardscaping draws inspiration from the natural shapes, lines, and textures of the landscape, creating a seamless transition from your home to your outdoor living space. Hardscaping can transform a flat, vast yard into a stimulating, visually diverse space with depth, dimension, and defined lines and edges. Hardscaping elements such as walls, patios, and walkways can provide organization for your plants, lawns, and gardens, enhancing their beauty and highlighting their place in your yard. Incorporating elegant walkways and paths can also help to direct people where you want them to go, protecting your grass and plants from too much foot traffic. Your hardscaping elements will work with the organic elements in your yard to create a functional, picturesque landscape that is truly an extension of your home. 

3. FUNCTIONALITY

Hardscaping can be just as useful as it is beautiful. With patios, paved areas, and walkways, more of your yard is accessible year round. More hardscaping means more space to entertain and more comfort for your guests and family members. Installing an outdoor kitchen gives you the space you need for meal preparation, so you don’t have to leave the party to cook in the house. There’s nothing like a fire pit to bring people together, either! Patios, benches, walkways, walls, stone paths; the possibilities are endless, and you can make your space uniquely “you.” In addition to extending the amount of space you have to entertain, hardscaping can create privacy for you and your guests at all of your gatherings. Courtyard walls, fences, and stony boundary lines allow for privacy and frame your yard beautifully.

2. LOW MAINTENANCE AND EFFICIENT

Unlike your lawn or garden, hardscaped areas are extremely low maintenance. It requires no mowing, trimming, snipping, or pruning, and you will never have to water it. Since you won’t have to fret about keeping it green and healthy, you will have more time to enjoy your outdoor space. With less lawn and garden to tend to, you’ll save money on your water bill. Hardscaping features can be designed to help keep water in places you want it, making sure there’s less leakage from the areas that need it the most. So, you won’t have to water your plants as much, either. When planned correctly, hardscaping features can greatly reduce erosion. Retaining walls, barriers, and stone or concrete in areas where erosion is likely can keep your ground intact for years to come. Hardscaping benefits both your wallet and our environment through water conservation and land preservation, all while adding to the beauty and functionality of your yard.

4. PROPERTY VALUE AND CURB APPEAL

To top it all off, hardscaping even increases your property value. By adding more usable square footage to your home, your property becomes more valuable to potential buyers. An outdoor space they can envision themselves enjoying is a great selling point, and many buyers are looking for properties with these features. Not to mention, beautiful hardscaping in your front yard will maximize your curb appeal. It is the first thing people see, and a good first impression is invaluable. You can decide exactly how you want to welcome guests into your home with the endless choices of hardscaping designs and materials available. The possibilities are endless, but the end result is always fantastic when you work with G&R Contracting on your hardscaping projects. Call us today for a free consultation!

06 May 2019

Top Reasons to Install an Irrigation System

 

It’s that time of year again. Everyone is spending time outside and enjoying their outdoor living spaces… and everyone is looking at yours! Is it up to your standards? If your lawn and garden aren’t looking their best despite your efforts, they may not be getting the proper amount of water. An irrigation system can help revive a struggling lawn and keep a beautiful one looking fantastic with a fraction of the work. Keep reading to find out how an irrigation system from G&R Contracting will pay for itself in no time.

1. Saves Time, Water, and Money

Watering by hand adds up to a lot of wasted time and water. An irrigation system can be set to water your lawn automatically, saving you the time and hassle of watering it yourself, or the cost of hiring someone else to do it. Most systems also have moisture sensors, so they won’t start if it’s raining and will shut off when the irrigation process is complete. As a result, they don’t use any more water than necessary, saving you money on your water bill.

2. Prevents Weeds and Diseases

Installing an irrigation system designed specifically for your landscape means that only the areas in need of water will get it, which limits your potential weed growth. In gardens, drip irrigation systems are particularly efficient, delivering water directly to the plant’s roots rather than sprinkling the entire surrounding area. When plants are watered with a hose, standing water droplets on foliage allow for blight disease proliferation. Your garden isn’t the only thing at risk; over watering can lead to disease in your lawn as well. Excess moisture leaves lawns susceptible to root rot, moss growth, powdery mildew, and brown patches.

3. Improves Plant Growth

Plants grow faster and remain healthier when watered with smaller amounts over a longer period of time. This is exactly what an irrigation system is designed to do! You risk over watering, under watering, and uneven watering when using a hose or movable sprinkler, all of which can be detrimental to the health of your plants. Whether you’re at work, at home with your family, or out of town on vacation, your lawn and garden will get what they need to stay healthy and beautiful. 

4. Preserves Soil Nutrients

The excess water from hand watering results in runoff, which absorbs and carries away vital nutrients that your plants need. Using a hose can also compact your soil, which can lead to root suffocation and disease. Irrigation systems use smaller droplets of water and less of it, preserving your soil structure and making sure it retains the nutrients your plants need to thrive.

 

Ready to invest in an irrigation system? Click here to learn more about your options for irrigation through G&R Contracting.

16 Apr 2019

About Our New Look

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new logo and brand identity! You’ll soon start seeing it everywhere we are. We partnered with River City Consulting to develop a new brand for G&R Contracting, and in this post, we’ll give you an inside look at how it all came together.

Why the New Look?

G&R has been going strong since 1998, but we’ve grown a lot since then. In the beginning, we were primarily landscapers, but our services have since expanded to include everything from hardscaping and outdoor lighting to irrigation and drainage. While our old logo lets our customers know that we can make their lawn look fantastic, it doesn’t represent the dynamic company we’ve become. So, to better represent who we have become in the past couple of decades, we decided to refresh our brand image.

The Drawing Board

Our designers started by sketching out all of their ideas. From these rough sketches, they chose the concepts that were most in line with our vision and refined them on paper before moving forward digitally.

Asking Around

Once the logo ideas were digitized, we chose the three strongest concepts and conducted a survey asking our colleagues and customers which design was their favorite and why. This feedback is really important to us, and it was taken into consideration during our decision-making process.

The Winning Design

The water droplet design was ultimately the winning concept, touching on nature’s elements. The leaf represents our work in landscaping, the stone pavers represent our beautiful hardscaping, and the water droplet shape itself represents our expertise in drainage and irrigation. We also love that the stacked typography of our business name is similar in appearance to our old logo; we wanted to keep some of those original elements for those who already recognized that design.

After a few weeks of development, tweaking, and perfecting, we arrived at our final design. We feel that our new brand will both inspire our customers and serve our business, which was our ultimate goal. It represents the variety of services that we now offer while staying true to our roots. We’re beyond excited moving forward, and would love to hear what you think!

22 Jan 2019

5 Advantages to Hardscaping in Winter

Your outdoor living space might be the last thing on your mind now that it’s freezing outside, but winter is actually the perfect time to start planning your next hardscaping project. If you call G&R Contracting today, you’ll be ready to enjoy a new patio or outdoor kitchen before your flowers start to bloom. Here are the top 5 reasons to tackle your hardscaping projects in the winter:

1. Lower Costs

The cost of hardscaping materials is driven by supply and demand. Since contractors are busiest during spring and summer, the demand for building materials drops significantly during the colder months. Getting started on your hardscaping project now could save you a bundle!

2. Less Wait Time

Everyone wants a beautiful backyard in the summer, so that’s when we’re the busiest! If you wait until it warms up to call a contractor, you might have to get in line. We will be able to set up your initial consultation and start your project much more quickly if you call G&R Contracting today.

3. More Time to Plan

Getting started in winter means you will not be rushed during the planning and design phases of your project. With so many beautiful options available, you’ll be glad to have the extra time to choose the perfect design and materials for your new outdoor living space.

4. Faster Completion

Hardscaping in the winter speeds up the process from start to finish. We are quicker to meet with you, quicker to order materials and quicker to break ground on site. We aren’t as busy when it’s cold outside, so we can focus more of our attention on you, your project and getting it done faster.

5. Ready for Spring!

Spring and summer should be spent making memories, not rushing to finish that project you’ve been putting off. If you call us now, you’ll get to enjoy your new outdoor living space all season long. You’ll be entertaining guests and hosting parties before your neighbors even plan their first cookout!

18 Apr 2018

3 Important Maintenance Items for Spring

The days are growing longer and warmer. Spring is here! It’s the season for cleaning, home improvement projects, and cleaning and repairs. While you were still getting used to losing that extra hour of sleep, we were busy putting together maintenance tips for your home.

Remember, you can always check out our annual maintenance checklist for a quick guide to once a year projects. For more detailed instructions, keep it right here. Don’t delay! Take a look at this list and note what things you need to do this spring season.

1. Check on your Trees

Ensuring your trees are healthy and well rooted can prevent a lot of future hassles and insurance claims. Believe us, having a tree fall on the house is not a fun experience. Here are a few steps you can take to making sure that your trees are healthy and ready for another season of shade.

01 Junk on the trunk

Taking a look at your tree’s base is often a good indication of health. There are a couple things to watch out for. First, pay attention to decay or rot. A rotting tree trunk is usually a good sign that the tree has seen better days. Next, consider the amount of mushrooms or conks on the tree. Usually there isn’t a problem, but when combined with other issues, it’s a tell-tale sign of a dead tree.

02 Brown Collar

A tree’s collar is where the trunk and roots meet the soil surface. Pull back the grass and take a good look at the collar. Notice any bark that might be missing or falling off, as this could be a bad sign. Finally, consider large cracks that could allude to structural weakness.

03 It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its a tree branch!

Sometimes, all it takes is looking up. Is your tree overly barren when it should be sprouting? Are there tree limbs falling into your yard? Those are usually bad signs.

If you’re noticing any or a combination of these things, call your local arborist and have them run an inspection on the trees in your yard. They’ll let you know if the trees need to be removed or if you’re safe.

2. Cleaning your Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to ruined flower beds, saturated foundations and water damage to your siding or even interior. All of this can be prevented by making sure that your gutters are clean and well maintained. Realistically, you should clean your gutters twice a year and after every big storm.

01 Hardware

We recommend wearing long sleeves and gloves. Often times when you’re dealing with metal, sharp edges can get the better of your skin. Above all else, protect yourself. Here are a few things that you might need to pick up to get the job done:

  • Gutter Scoops
  • High Pressure hose
  • Extendable Ladder
  • Tarp or plastic bag (optional)

02 Doing the Deed

If you’re trying to spare your lawn, be sure to have your plastic bag or tarp ready to capture the gunk you’re about to pull out. Stabilize your ladder, and put on your gloves. Once you’re up on the ladder, make sure you’re at a comfortable height, but can still see and reach the gutters. Using your gutter scoop, scrape out any debris and throw it down to the ground, or into your trash bag. Make sure you get dirt, sticks, leaves, and debris out of the gutter to allow water to flow along, down, and away from your home.

03 Clean Up

Once your gutters are cleaned out, take your hose and flush out any remaining dirt. Keep careful watch on the flow of the water, making sure that you can trace the water down and away from your home.

Remember to stay safe. If climbing ladders isn’t your thing, call a local contractor to do the job for you. Chances are, they can offer any repairs or improvements that you may not have an eye for.

3. Check for Pests

Once the days begin to warm up, be on the lookout for bees, ants, and other pests. Squirrels can be dangerous if they’re getting into your house. Raccoons can become aggressive and can lead to disease because of their fondness for trash. Bird droppings can cause serious damage to roofs and automobiles. So before any of these issues become a problem, nip it in the bud and contact your local pest control professional.

An especially dangerous pest for the spring time are termites. Termites are incredibly difficult to spot if you have other little issues in your home. If you aren’t sure, be sure to hire a pest control professional to inspect the home. Look for these 3 warnings signs if you think you have termites.

01 Discarded Wings

Termites have wings that they use to fly around from one colony to another. Once they’ve landed and establish a new colony, they shed their wings. What’s more, they will shed their wings in a single file line as the new termites enter their colony. You’re looking for a row or a line of small wings.

02 Mud Tubes

Termites need to live in very humid environment. The further North they get, the more likely they are to build mud tubes near foundations. This gives the termites a highway that’s humid enough to maneuver around your home. Mud tubes are pencil sized shafts (almost like small roots) that run up and down your foundation. A good way to identify if you have termites is to break the middle of one of those tubes. If termites pour out, that’s probably a bad sign. If they don’t, check back in a week or so to see if that tube has been rebuilt.

03 Wood Damage

Termites feed on wood and in the process, it weakens the structure of the wood; this is dangerous in homes for obvious reasons. It can be hard to spot because it’s often behind your wall. Look for small holes in your drywall, or wood damage outside, under, or above your home. If you think you might have termites, its best to take care of it as soon as possible. Termites cause billions of structural damage each year. Don’t be another victim.

Notable Mentions

Don’t consider this an exhaustive list, but we’ve compiled a few other things to check around your house when Spring rolls around. Be sure to inspect and replace if needed your…

  • Smoke Alarm
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Windows and Doors
  • Garage Doors
  • Dryer Vent

Additionally, it might be beneficial for you to contact a local professional and get them to inspect a few other big items around the house:

  • HVAC

Your heating and air conditioning unit needs regular maintenance. Be sure to replace your air filters regularly and get a professional to perform a system diagnostic at the turn of the season.

  • Mold and Mildew

With the wet season comes mold and mildew, especially around basements, attics, and other areas where water collects. Remember that mold and mildew can be the source of really nasty illnesses. Be on the lookout for this around the house.

  • Roof inspection

Snow, sleet and heavy rains can cause a number on your roof. Remember that most roof jobs come with substantial warranties. Don’t be afraid to keep an eye on the roof and call your roofer if you think something could be wrong.

11 Apr 2018

Top 3 reasons for outdoor lighting

There’s nothing quite like having a spacious and welcoming outdoor living space at your home; a place where you can relax or entertain guests. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, enjoying refreshing drinks on your patio, or hanging with friends around your fire pit, you’ll want to make sure your space is safe and well lit. Outdoor lighting fixtures are incredibly versatile, they can be aligned to almost any lighting need.

We at G&R Contracting believe that there are a few different reasons to invest in proper outdoor lighting for your home or office. Today, we’re counting down the top 3 reasons to consider outdoor lighting for your next home improvement project.

1. Outdoor lighting reduces crime and theft.

Many office buildings and workplaces have very specific rules about lighting that must stay on while the property is vacant. The reason for this is because over the course of history, people have learned that well-lit buildings offer a sense of maintenance and security. If a home or office building is lit, it gives the impression that people are there. But even if it’s obvious that no one is there, the impression that the area has a level of maintenance is often enough to deter would-be crime. It isn’t hard to put two and two together; to a crook, more lights equal more chance of getting caught.

According to the National Institute of Justice, well placed security lights can be the difference between a safe area and a crime ridden area. Street lights, college campuses and parking lots are all examples of proper use of outdoor lighting to reduce or eliminate crime.

But don’t take our word for it. You can check out the study on how lighting reduces crime at the National Institute of Justice’s website here.

2. Outdoor lighting adds functionality and safety.

There are two obvious benefits to adding lighting fixtures to your property. You can’t deny the wow factor that you feel when you drive by a home that has well placed landscape lighting to accent the architecture. Lighting can also add a level of functionality: The most basic types of lighting are walkway or path lighting. Walkway lighting can illuminate dark pathways that lead to doors – this is especially useful for first time visitors.

Deck and patio lights offer spot lighting that allow you to make use of your outdoor space after the sun goes down. It’s your property! Why should you not be able to make full use of it at night?

Regardless of if you’re planning an evening BBQ, or you’re just taking out the trash at night, exterior lights offer incredible security.

3. Outdoor lighting improves appearance and can increase property values.

A well planned and well executed lighting or landscape design can create increase property values by as much as 15-20%. The wow factor we spoke of earlier is called “curb appeal.” You can use strategic outdoor lighting to highlight walkways, lawns and other architectures to give the space a bigger feel, make it more aesthetically pleasing and in all of that, increase the overall value.

Bad lighting decisions or faulty electrical or lighting equipment can cause harm to you or your property. Before you dig, wire or install anything, make sure you have the know-how of industry experts to help you plan and implement your vision. What sets G&R Contracting apart is the proven history of expertly executed lighting projects, and our incredibly satisfied clients. Give us a call at (804) 360-2686 or fill out the contact me form and let’s talk about how outdoor lighting can work for you.

 

(804) 360-2686