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Recent Questions & Answers:

I manage a complex in Pueblo, CO.  It has 2-story condo buildings.  When it rains, water cascades off of the roof causing the ground in the plant beds to erode.  Gutters are not feasible due to the architectural design. People have suggested installing 1" river rock.  What do you recommend?

Good question about rainwater and water falling from your roof. Without gutters or downspouts this will always be a problem. If you have no way to install gutters of any kind then you need to create a splash zone free from soil or dirt. The dirt as you well know will splash onto adjacent plants and walls and can cause a real maintenance issue and even damage and kill small plants. I come across this frequently. For the record, I advise anyone considering this issue to install gutters and pipe them, if possible, to a rain garden or cistern.

However when this is not possible I would suggest using gravel that is complimentary to your landscape. 1" is good because it is too big to be moved by average rain drops or rainfall. Peagravel (Pea gravel) can be splashed out of place and become a mess, plus its harder to walk in soft small round gravel as it moves under foot. Also I prefer rounded river gravel or river rock for this application because it tends to absorb the splashes unlike fractured quarry gravel such as slate or marble chips which tend to splash more. I would recommend that you excavate a trench 12-18inches minimum wide and 6 inches deep. Lay filter fabric, silt fence, landscape fabric or weed screen (or weed control fabric) in the bottom and then cover with gravel. Do not use plastic as it will hold water. Trim off the excess landscape fabric around the edges and mulch up to the edges of the gravel. Make sure you place enough gravel and stones so that the surface of the gravel is equal to or higher than the surrounding mulched landscape beds. Your done. Not however if your soil is not sandy and quick to percolate and absorb the water, you may want to install a french drain in the trench to route water away from the house. This is especially true for folks with basements or crawl spaces that are damp and or flood periodically. Keep in mind if you install a french drain the trench will need to be deeper. Search my previous answers for french drain construction.

One final comment. When selecting the gravel, be sure to select a color that is not going to be glaring or bright. You can even get lava rock (lavarock, lava-rock) and river rock (river-rock) that is similar in color to mulch including hardwood mulch, pine nuggets, cedar and pinestraw. These colors will blend in well with the natural surroundings.

Greetings!  We planted a row of 6' cedars along the rear of our property line this past May.  They were planted in new triple mix (to 3'), were watered every few days, and we used 5-15-5 root stimulator.  They get at least 6 hours of sun a day.  They seemed to be doing okay, until just recently.  Several are looking very dry & brown in the centre.  Is it possible that concrete dust blowing on them for the past 2 weeks from a neighbours pool/interlock patio project could have affected them?  Do you have suggestions to revive them?

Concrete contains sodium hydroxide. Plants are very sensitive to any salt (sodium) and can be readily killed by it. The alkalinity of the concrete dust would also act to kill plants. The only advice I can give is to hose down the cedar and hope it lives. There is no way to "revive" a plant poisoned by salt. Good luck. Let me know if I can be of further help.

I have an area rug in my living room that is laying on carpet. ALL the edges of the rug are curling up. Is there something that can be done to make it lay flat again?

Thank you for your question.  I'm sorry to hear about your rug.  Let me ask you something, did the rug lay flat before you put it on carpet?  Does it lay flat now if put on a hard floor?  We have to rule out a few things before figuring out how to fix the problem.  Also, do you know if your rug is machine-made or handmade?  Area rugs on top of carpeting, especially plush carpeting, are always a less than ideal situation, but sometimes you can make it a bit better.  Usually, I recommend a pad, but since your rug is curling up rather than buckling, then I would suggest a few other fixes.  First, take your rug and dampen it just a little, lay it upside down and place a board with some weight on it.  Roll it in the opposite direction a few times, and then give it a whirl.  It should be a little less curly.  If this doesn't help, what we sometimes do as a last resort is sew a few weights into the back of the rug.  Those very flat, thin, washers work very well.  Sewing through a rug is a bit difficult, so have someone with strong hands, or use pliers to push a needle through the back of the rug.  

I hope the information is helpful!

I have a small  room that is 9 by 11 approximate.  I need to buy a wood  dining table with  4 chairs.  I do not know the recommended size/style of the   table-   round, square rectangle.  I think I want a rectangle, but don't know what size I should get given the size of the room.  Thank You very much.  Any guidelines would be appreciated.

A good rule of thumb is to allow 24" of space per dining guest, and an additional 24" 'swing out' or 'pull out' space for chairs.  Rectangles will allow you more square footage on the table top than round or oval.

If your room is 9 x 11 and you want max size on the table (no sideboards or buffets in the room) then probably the largest table you can put in there is a 60" x 84".  But if we refine that further to a practical level as usually only one person sits at the end, then the functional max size is going to be 40" x 84".  That will allow you two people on the ends, then three down each side (provided the legs on the table area fairly outboard such as an English Farm Table, etc).  That gives you a little space for a serving table / buffet on the long side of the room as well.  If you want less crowded, then drop to a 38" x 72" with leaves (6 seater, 8 with leaves).

Hope that helps!

I have just today had a brick patio built at my front door. It is two steps, approximately 8x10 feet. The temperature around here now is 50 to 58 during the day, and 33 to 40 at night, although the temperature tonight will be down to 31. No rain is expected. I have two questions; The patio was just finished about 4 hours ago, and it is covered with a plastic tarp. Is the above weather conditions safe for the patio as far as any damage is concerned? and, since the patio is not covered, and will be exposed directly to the weather, should I put on a sealer and if so, when do I put it on and what is the best brick sealer to use?

The weather conditions are ok for your new patio. You should definitely seal your new patio in about two weeks. I do not have a particular favorite of brands just make sure the sealer you buy is designed specifically for masonry. The most important thing I can tell you is do not put any type of salt product on your new patio when you get snow or to melt ice. Even with a sealer deicers containing salt will destroy your new investment. Best of luck and enjoy your new patio.

We are a family owned business that is currently licensed and insured in the state of CO. Since 1980 MGS Renovations has been providing quality remodeling services to customers in Southern Colorado. We offer clean, quick and reliable service as well as true attention to detail. We also do insurance claims - siding, roofing, windows, doors, water restoration, custom framing, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, decks, sheetrock, basement finishing, painting, gutters, wood flooring, tile, or anything else you can think of. We are certified installers of Vinyl, James Hardie Siding, Pella Windows, and Trex decking, but we have experience doing many other things. We work with you, the customer, to make every step of the process smooth and enjoyable.


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