As Winter was still casting its spell upon all of us in Central Illinois a customer contacted us and requested that we help transform their dreams into reality. As we made it to the property we could tell there were several things that needed to be done. The property was an old one and the new homeowners started by gutting the house, as well as, the entire yard.  We first started on the entry way into the updated home. As you can see in the first set of pictures, our crews had to remove the old landscape, landscape timbers, rock etc… After the clean up portion was completed our crew started laying the foundation of the new entry way by constructing a retaining wall. The retaining wall was necessary in order to bring the grade of the entry way up and have it stay level. After the wall was constructed we installed a custom designed brick paver walkway that adds character and dimension to the entrance. Once completion on the walkway was underway we installed a new landscape complete with decorative landscape rock and various perennials.

Before & After Residential Landscapes

After completion of the entry way landscape our crews focused their efforts on the backyard. The turf was that of any typical lake side yard, filled with various weeds and very little grass to boot. After the existing turf grass was removed the homeowner requested on installing a natural stone walkway down to their newly constructed boat dock. In the pictures below you can get a really good understanding of before and after. The second picture was taken shortly after the stepping stones were installed but before the soil was regraded. In the “after” of the second image one can clearly see how the stepping stones are inset into the ground giving a seamless look. Only after two weeks of seeding the property, you can begin to see the lush green hue of the grass blades peeking up from the soil.

Before & After Landscape Stepping Stone Walkway

During & After Landscape Stepping Stone Walkway

In the midst of laying the foundation for the Natural Stone Walkway, we had a crew begin on a steep hillside that had been overgrown with years of brush, debris, weeds, saplings etc… Our crews started by clearing away all of the overgrowth, simply so we could see actual ground. Once the overgrowth was cleared out, the homeowners met with us to discuss which trees they were wanting to keep and how far to bring some of the tree’s canopies. After said work had been completed our talented designer came up with a unique hillside design that would not take away from the homes natural setting but rather add to it. Various perennials were planted along this hillside including hostas & salvia…just to name a few. We also wanted to give back some of the charm of the “woodland” setting and installed 3 beautiful Canadian Hemlocks, as well as, various boulders scattered throughout. In the pictures below you will see how we were able to transform this once disheveled hillside into a mainstay at this particular property.

Before & After Landscape Lake Hillside Before & After Lakeside Hill Landscape Before & After Lakeside Hill Landscaped

One of the final portions of this complete transformation was the replacement of a failing driveway retaining wall. As you can clearly see in the picture below, the previous wall was constructed out of decorative landscape block and NOT retaining wall block. After several years of heavy traffic the decorative wall could no longer hold under the pressure and eventually succumbed to it. Our crews began by removing the old wall block by block, and removing a tree that had sprouted and began causing issues as well. After the demolition was completed a proper retaining wall was constructed with the appropriate base, backfilling & drainage. The new wall was constructed to be able to take the beating that the decorative wall could no longer handle.

Before & After Driveway Retaining Wall

Not everything completed on this job is pictured here. We also installed a Premium WeatherMatic irrigation system, of which only 3% of contractors nationwide are accredited. Within the new landscape we also installed  fabulous L.E.D. landscape path lights, as well as, up lighting to make the tree canopies stand out in the darkness of the night.

All in all the homeowners were extremely happy with the work that had been completed as were we to be able to work with such great customers! We know that this transformation is going to be loved, shared & enjoyed for years to come. We at Kiefer Landscaping cannot wait to see this landscape mature and add beauty and style to the area.

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Over the past several years, we have noticed a lot of phone calls from individuals who are dealing with failing retaining walls.  A retaining wall is intended to retain entire hillsides. If a wall is not properly installed starting at ground level then issues will arise.  In the example below we found that this particular retaining wall was failing FAST. You can see clearly, from the present crack, that the wall is falling to the left & to the right. The reason for this being an improperly installed base and base course. The most important step in any retaining wall is the soil base; comprised of tamped CA6 rock. This is the point where one needs to take the extra time to ensure that the base is level, if not, the entire wall will eventually fail. After the soil base has been installed, the next step is to start laying the first course of block. At this point every block needs to be individually leveled. Once the first base course is down then we simply stack the remainder of the block in a staggered pattern (to ensure maximum strength) & back fill with CA7 rock. As you may be able to notice in the picture, there is no type of drainage for ground and or rain water. All rain and ground water needs to be able to filter through the the back of the wall and out the other side, leaving no room for water to build up behind the wall. Depending on the size and height of the retaining wall, GEO-GRID may be needed. Geo-Grid is a product that is installed behind the wall and back into the turf / hillside, giving more strength and durability.

 

When shopping around for someone to build and retaining wall remember these crucial steps we have pointed out. No retaining wall job is ever CHEAP and if it is I would be very very cautious. In the world of retaining walls you honestly “get what you pay for”. Paying someone thousands of dollars, only to have the wall fail will ultimately lead to paying close to triple the original price.

Please don’t make a costly mistake! Compare contractors, get pictures of jobs they have installed, ask for letters of recommendation.  

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Natural Stone Projects

On February 11, 2011, in Natural Stone Projects, Services, by Admin

Edging:

If you are looking to add a nice, natural looking edge to define your landscape beds, you should check out our stone yard. We have many different natural stones to choose from and would be happy to assist you in choosing the right stone for your property. Whether you are a do it yourselfer or looking to hire a contractor, we are here to help. If you are looking for a landscape company to design and install your landscape beds with some natural edging there is no one better than Kiefer Landscaping. If your are the do it yourselfer type then there is no better place to shop for your stone than at our retail facility.

 

Patio’s & Walkway’s

If you want to add a walkway or some patio space to your property but want to keep a natural look, give us a call! We can design and build the mortared natural stone patio or walkway of your dreams. Natural stone gives you the ability to create a very unique, natural look that cannot be duplicated just by dying and stamping concrete.  Concrete will fade and crack over time and never look as naturally beautiful as the variations in the natural stone. By choosing Kiefer Landscaping you are guaranteed the very best installation in the industry and when we mortar the seams, they will be clean and smooth giving you that wonderful natural look you are trying to achieve all the while giving you a solid patio or walkway.

Retaining Wall’s

Are you looking to add a retaining wall to your property but you want to keep a more natural look and feel? If so, give us a call and have us show you the options available for natural stone retaining walls. We will design and install a beautiful natural stone retaining wall to the exact specifications you are looking for and you have the ability to be involved every step of the way or not at all. We offer a number of different colors and styles to choice from. Installation can be accomplished in a number of different ways; first it can be drystacked if the wall is under 2 feet in height, next we can add construction adhesive in between the layers and this will add more strength to the wall while keeping the natural look and feel. The best way to install a natural stone retaining wall over 3 feet tall is to mortar the stone in place, this helps give the wall some real strength while keeping the natural look.


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Kiefer Landscaping offers the very best in computer landscape design and installation. The attention to detail goes far above the landscape industry standards. Your personally customized plan will include, to scale, anything on your property that is involved in the area of the project (house, deck, existing walkways, driveways, trees or shrubs that would stay, etc). All new products placed into the plan will also be to scale and demonstrate the exact look that we are trying to achieve. Our superior landscape designers will work with you to build a plan that has our expert guidance but with your personal touches. Upon reviewing your plan you will be able to visualize what your property can look like if you choose to have Kiefer Landscaping install your next project.

A quick plan drawn up by our experienced landscape designer.

Whether you are looking to revamp an existing landscape or for something totally new, we will help give you exactly what you are looking for. Kiefer Landscaping has transformed many ordinary homes into beautiful showcases just by adding or changing the front landscape, back garden, or landscape beds or berms throughout the property. We do this by adding the highest quality of trees, shrubs, perennials, boulder accents, natural stone dry stacks, Windsor stone walls, brick paver edging, decorative rock or mulch and much more. Any project will be custom designed by our expert landscape designers with your personal touches added in. You will be impressed every step of the way, from the way the crew lays out the project to the quality of the their work to the way they clean up the site each and every day, and most importantly with the final picture of your new installation.

From paper comes a masterpiece.

Landscape rock can add personality and depth while bringing out the natural color's or your home's decor.

With spring comes color!

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Eye Catching Stone Construction

On January 31, 2011, in Stone Construction, by Admin

Retaining Wall’s:

When it comes to quality installation of any kind of retaining wall system, nobody tops our expert crews. We have been installing retaining wall systems for over 20 years now and continue to be the very best when it comes to quality and service. We install a variety of retaining walls such as: The Allan Block collection, The Ashlar Block collection, Bedford tumbled stone, Windsor block, Old Country tumbled and non-tumbled, and we also have a number of natural stone retaining wall products to choose from. We have established our name by installing to the exact engineered specification designed for each product for each specific project. In building a retaining wall the first step is deciding on the correct elevation for the wall to end up at, then you will know at what exact point the top of your base needs to be. The next and most important step is getting a solid base. Varying on the height of the wall you have different depths for your compacted CA6 gravel base. When properly installing a base you should compact the CA6 in 2” to 3” increments to ensure proper compaction and to eliminate any settling. After you get your base block leveled in all directions on the CA6 base you simply stack the additional courses making sure to stagger the seams while backfilling the wall with CA7 gravel to a varying depth from the front of the wall that is based on the height of the particular wall. In most cases you will also need to provide some drainage near the base of the wall in the CA7 backfill. You do this by installing a 4” corrugated pipe that is slotted to allow water to access the pipe and run it out away from the wall. As you get to your desired elevation you will need to install block caps on some retaining wall systems, making sure to cut the caps to where there are no visible seams showing. For any retaining wall systems over 4’ tall you must install geogrid reinforcement material (it is often installed every 2-3 courses and approximately 4’-5’ back from the front of the wall).

An Allan Block retaining wall w/ built in steps and a brick paver walkway.

Boulder Retaining Wall’s:

Boulder retaining walls are a wonderful way to add a very natural look while serving the purpose of a retaining wall system. We have installed boulder retaining walls from one row high to stacking boulders over 10 feet high. We have many different sizes to choose from or we can mix and match. We also have a few different options from granite boulders, our favorite and most popular, to sandstone boulders to choose from.  Our staff can also get many different types upon request. Our crews have the ability to build anywhere on your property, tell us where you want it and we will find a way to get it done. We have installed a number of boulder walls down steep hillsides, along lakes, boat docks and in many other challenging environments. So whatever you are looking for our experienced team has you covered.

These Granite Boulders not only serve a crucial purpose for this property they also offer an amazing design aesthetic.

Stone Column’s:

When looking to enhance the appearance of your property stone columns are something you should consider. Whether you add them at the end of your drive, have them set throughout the border of your patio, or even have them set along the edge of your property and install fencing in between, these are all very nice ways to enhance the appearance of your property.  When using our company to install your stone columns you have numerous choices to help decide what would look the best on your property. We offer a number of different styles, sizes, colors, and patterns to choose from and would be happy to help you determine what is best for you. Lighting can also be added within the columns themselves or mounted on top of them for an added luxury. We have installed a large quantity of stone columns and promise to give you the very best in customer services and quality installation.

Stone Columns grace the exterior of this tumbled paver patio

A beautiful sight to come home to.

Sitting Wall’s:

Do you want to add some seating to your outdoor patio but also want to add a wow factor? Than let our expert team design and install custom sitting walls using a number of different retaining wall blocks, decorative landscape blocks, or natural stones. By having us install a one of a kind stone sitting wall around your patio you are indeed killing two birds with one stone. You are getting the additional seating you were looking for while getting an amazing new appearance to your backyard. There are so many different designs, stones and color options to choose from as well.  Our excellent sales professionals will be here every step of the way to ensure you get exactly what you are looking for. Our crew can custom install your sitting walls to any height and can offer different solutions on the width of your area. Another option to consider is the addition of low voltage landscape lighting, we can add some specially designed integral wall lights to spray light down and the best part is, in the day light you will never even know the lights are there.

Relax and entertain all Summer long.

Outdoor Kitchen’s:

There is nothing more enjoyable on a nice day than to be enjoying the outdoors and having a beautiful outdoor kitchen to prepare and enjoy an appetizing lunch or supper.  We use only the best materials when designing and installing your custom outdoor kitchen.  We offer a number of different stones, tops, patterns and colors to choose from and will be here every step of the way to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.  Nothing is out of reach when you choose our crews for the job, we will take your ideas and vision and turn it into a reality, giving you the perfect outdoor kitchen you have always wanted.  We have installed a number of kitchens of all sizes, whether you are looking for a small counter to go with your mounted grill or you are looking to install a fully loaded kitchen complete with sink, fridge, grill and fireplace, Kiefer Landscaping is your best option.

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