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7 Ways to Deal With a Tree Stump in Your Landscape

If your landscape has a tree stump, you might be wondering what you should do with it. Leaving it in place means you’ll have your lawn around the tree stump while also using caution not to trip and fall on it. Depending on the particular tree species, though, stumps can have roots extending as deep as 2 feet into the ground, making them difficult for the average homeowner to remove. Thankfully, there are several ways to deal with an unwanted tree stump in your landscape.

#1) Dig It Out

For stumps with shallow roots — extending no deeper than 1 foot — you should be able to dig it out. A mini excavator is ideal for this project, though even a shovel will suffice. Just dig a trench with about a 2- to 3-foot clearance around the stump, at which point you can dig underneath the stump’s roots to remove it.

#2) Burn It

Burning is an effective, time-tested way to deal with a tree stump. But you can’t just start a fire on top of the stump and expect it to burn away the stump. Rather, you’ll need to dig out a hole or cavity in the center of the stump, at which point you can fill it with tinder and kindling. Once lit, the stump should catch fire and slowly burn. Keep in mind that it can take several days for a stump to completely burn. During this time, either you or someone you know should monitor the smoldering tree stump to ensure the fire doesn’t spread.

#3) Chop It Up

One of the easiest ways to deal with a tree stump is to chop it up. While possible with an ax, it’s recommended that you use a gas-powered stump grinder for this project. You can rent them for about $100 to $200 per day — or you can hire a tree/stump removal company to chop it up for you. Either way, a stump grinder will make quick work of your unwanted tree stump (or stumps) by chopping and grinding them to a pulp.

#4) Treat It With Chemicals

There are chemical-based products available that are designed specifically to destroy tree stumps. Available for sale at most home improvement stores, chemical-based stump-removal products generally contain potassium nitrate. Contrary to what some people believe, this chemical doesn’t burn stumps. Instead, it works by speeding up the stump’s natural decaying process. Tree stumps can linger for years or even decades, slowly drying out and decaying until there’s nothing left. If you treat a stump with potassium nitrate, however, it may decay in as little as one or two months. Once decayed, you can then dig out or chop up the stump using some basic tools.

#5) Turn It Into a Stool

If the tree stump is located in a convenient area, you could try turning it into a stool for your landscape. To do this, cut down the stump to an appropriate seating height of about 23 to 28 inches, at which point you can apply a wood sealer to the top surface. The wood sealer will create a waterproof barrier over the stump, protecting it from moisture and pests.  You can then use the stump as a stool when relaxing or lounging in your outdoor living space.

#6) Grow Plants On It

Another innovative way to deal with a tree stump is to grow plants on it. There are a few ways to grow plants on a tree stump, one of which is to simply place a soil-filled planter or container on top of it. Alternatively, you can cut out a hollow cavity in the middle of the tree stump, fill it with soil and then add your plants.

While you can grow any type of plants on a tree stump, vine plants are ideal because of their natural ability to grow down and around the stump. As the vine plants grow, they’ll cover your tree stump with colorful flora. Just remember to water and prune the plants as needed.

#7) Use It as a Table

Finally, you can use medium- and large-sized tree stumps as a table for your landscape or outdoor living space. Just place a couple of chairs or stools around the stump, and you’re good to go! You can place cups, drinks or other items on the tree stump — just like a conventional patio or outdoor table. It’s an innovative way to handle unwanted tree stumps in a landscape.

Don’t let your landscape suffer from an unwanted tree stump. Use one of the seven methods listed here to deal with it. Whether you dig it up, treat it with chemicals, turn it into a stool or use any of the other methods listed here, you’ll create a more attractive landscape that improves your home’s curb appeal.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Design a Low-Maintenance Landscape

How much time do you spend maintaining your landscape? According to a survey cited by the Chicago Tribute, the average American homeowner spends a staggering 70 hours on his or her landscape each year. Of course, that’s nearly the equivalent of two full workweeks. The good news is that there are ways to design a low-maintenance landscape

Plant Slow-Growing Grass

Consider planting a slow-growing variety or grass in your landscape. The most time-consuming task of maintaining a landscape is mowing the grass. During the spring and summer, you can expect to mow your lawn about once a week — sometimes even more frequently — with most common varieties of residential grass. But some varieties grow slower than others, and planting one of these varieties will ease the burden of mowing your lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, typically requires mowing just once every two or three weeks, making it an excellent choice for a low-maintenance landscape.

Cut Down Unwanted Trees

The number of trees your landscape has will affect the amount of work it requires to maintain. From tree limbs, pine straw, leaves, acorns and other debris, trees can create a quite mess. Therefore, you should cut down and remove any unwanted trees in your landscape. If a tree offers shade or aesthetics, keep it. Otherwise, hire a tree removal company to cut it down. Not only will this create a cleaner landscape, but it may provide you with a plentiful stack of firewood to use in your fire pit.

Install an Automated Irrigation System

You can’t always rely on Mother Nature to keep your grass hydrated. While manually watering your lawn is always an option, an easier solution is to install an automated irrigation system. There are different types of automated irrigation systems, but they are all designed to automate the process of watering grass. Once installed, you can control when the sprinklers are activated and for how long they stay active. It’s an easy, hands-free way to ensure that your grass receives adequate water, even when you’re away from your home.

Use Perennial Plants in Flowerbeds

Avoid using annual plants in your flowerbeds and instead use perennial plants. Perennial plants are defined as plants that last for at least two years. In comparison, annual plants only last for a year, so you can expect to replant them every year.

Here are a few low-maintenance perennial plants that work well in the Southeast:

  • Daylily
  • Latana
  • Rudbeckia Fulgida
  • Peruvian lily
  • Heuchera
  • Yarrow

Spot Treat Weeds

The secret to maintaining a weed-free landscape is to eliminate them as soon as they emerge through the soil. When you spot a new weed growing in your landscape, either pull it out using a handheld weed extractor or treat it with an herbicide. The former requires more work, but the latter is more effective at killing weeds. There are dozens of herbicides available that will quickly kill weeds without harming your grass. Alternatively, you can make your own weed-killing herbicide using a solution of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap. The vinegar and salt is what kills weeds, but the soap creates a sticky texture that clings to weeds. Just combine the three ingredients in a spray bottle, at which point you can spray it over any weeds growing in your landscape.

Create a French Drain Around Waterlogged Areas

If you discover an area of your landscape where rainwater collects and “pools up” rather than drains away, construct a French drain to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. Also known as a trench drain or rock drain, a French drain consists of a downward-sloping tunnel that’s filled with gravel or small rocks. When it rains, water will seep past the gravel or rocks and into the tunnel, at which point it will drain away from your landscape.

Use Mulch Around Trees and Plants

Adding mulch around trees and plants offers two main benefits, one of which is fewer weeds. It covers the soil so that newly sprouted weeds are unable to receive sunlight, thereby preventing them from growing. Additionally, mulch reduces the watering requirements of your trees and plants. Mulch absorbs and holds moisture, gradually releasing this moisture back into the soil where it’s then absorbed by the adjacent trees and plants.

Create a Dedicated Outdoor Living Space

Finally, consider creating a dedicated outdoor living space in your landscape. You can clear out a section of your landscape, for example, to lay gravel, brick pavers or even cement. When finished, you can use set up a fire pit, chairs and other accessories to complete your new outdoor living space. Even if it’s only 10 by 10 feet, that’s still 100 square feet of landscape space that you won’t have to worry about maintaining.

Low-maintenance landscapes are gaining popularity among homeowners in the United States. According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), they are the third-most popular landscape project, surpassed only by “native plants” and “drought-tolerant plants.” And now you join the crowd by creating a low-maintenance landscape using these tips.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Is an Outdoor Kitchen a Smart Investment? Get the Facts

Defined as a dedicated outdoor space for cooking, eating and relaxing, outdoor kitchens have become a popular home renovation project in recent years. They offer the functional benefits of an indoor kitchen but with the added beauty of the outdoors. When the weather is nice, homeowners can use this area to cook, eat and host parties. Building an outdoor kitchen is neither easy nor cheap, however, so you should consider if it’s worth the investment before embarking on this major renovation project.

Benefits of Building an Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen will open the doors to a world of new possibilities for you and your family. Granted, you can always cook and eat inside your home, but having this space outside your home is uniquely beneficial for the following reasons:

  • It’s easier to grill and smoke foods with an outdoor kitchen.
  • You don’t have to travel far beverages.
  • It enhances the aesthetics of your home’s curb appeal.
  • Saves space inside your home.
  • Keeps odors from cooked foods outside.
  • Offers the perfect space to host parties and get-togethers.
  • Promotes a more energy-efficient home, which can save you money on your monthly utility bills.
  • You may find yourself preparing and cooking more meals with an outdoor kitchen rather than eating out.
  • It will expose you to sunlight, ensuring you get an adequate amount of vitamin D.
  • Using it will keep your indoor kitchen clean.

Average Cost of Building an Outdoor Kitchen

So, how much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen? Prices vary depending on the type of appliances you intend to install, where you want to install then, the state and city in which you live and other factors. According to a report by Home Advisor, however, the average cost of building an outdoor kitchen in the United States is about $10,670. Of course, some homeowners spend less to build an outdoor kitchen, while others spend more. For a typical, medium-sized outdoor kitchen consisting of a grill, refrigerator, cabinet materials and storage, though, you can expect to pay about $10,670.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to save money when building an outdoor kitchen. Building it yourself is one way to save money. Most contractors charge a premium for this service, so a do-it-yourself (DIY) route can easily save you thousands of dollars. You can even rent the tools needed to build your outdoor kitchen from a local home improvement store. Choosing smaller appliances will also save you money. You probably don’t need a full-sized refrigerator for your outdoor kitchen. Instead, choose a smaller “compact” refrigerator, which are available for as little as $300.

You can skip a gas grill altogether by using a fire pit for your outdoor kitchen. Fire pits offer the beauty of a burning fire with the functionality of a grill. You can gather around your fire pit during the evenings and at night, but you can also use this accessory to grill and cook foods. And since fire pits cost a fraction of the price of gas grills, using one can further reduce the cost of building an outdoor kitchen. These are just a few ways to save money when building an outdoor kitchen.

How an Outdoor Kitchen Will Affect Your Home’s Resell Value

The high cost of building an outdoor kitchen may deter some homeowners from moving forward with this project, but you should consider the impact it will have on your home’s resell value. Building an outdoor kitchen will almost always increase your home’s resell value. Prospective home buyers today pay close attention to outdoor living features — and there’s no better feature for this space than a fully functional kitchen. With all of its previously mentioned benefits, an outdoor kitchen will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers, resulting in a higher resell value.

According to one study, outdoor kitchens increase the resell value of U.S. homes by an average of 100% to 200%. If you spend $10,000 to build an outdoor kitchen for a $200,000 home, for example, it should increase your home’s value to $210,000 or $220,000. That’s a pretty strong return on investment (ROI) that’s difficult for homeowners to ignore.

In Conclusion

Building an outdoor kitchen requires an investment of your time, energy and money. Once it’s complete, though, it will provide you and your family with a wealth of benefits. You can use it to grill and smoke food, host parties, lounge and more. To determine if an outdoor kitchen is right for your home, weigh the pros and cons while also considering how frequently you’d use it. But considering that it has an average ROI of 100% to 200%, an outdoor kitchen is usually a smart renovation project that pays off in multiple ways.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/