Landscaping materials offer alternative yard options

LANDSCAPING 1

By DYLAN McKENZIE

Times Leader Staff Writer

WHEELING — Many residents of the Ohio Valley are getting ready to prepare their yards and gardens for warm weather, repairing any damage left by winter and making ready for summer. But some people are moving away from traditional grassy lawns, giving homeowners more options when renovating their home and property.

Nationwide trends show that many Americans are moving away from the idea of a large, grassy lawn for their home. Some people prefer gravel, paving stones or other materials for their yards. This can occur for a number of reason. A lawn, of course, requires dedicated care, including mowing, seeding and watering in many cases. It requires almost weekly mowing and upkeep to keep it looking green, well trimmed and fresh. An area covered by paving stones, in contrast, doesn’t require nearly as much care — simply spray off the stones when they get dirty and replace any that area broken or out of place. Gravel is also easy to care for, simply requiring raking to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Another option in place of a large, grassy yard is installing a deck. A deck can spread out over much of a yard, if the house has the space, eliminating the need to care for a large portion of the lawn. Decks are great for entertaining friends and family, and can be customized to fit almost any need or interest. A deck can contain a grill, fire pit, hot tub or any number of accessories, limited only by the imagination and budget of the homeowner.

“It really comes down to personal preference,” said Mark Smerczynski, production manager for J&P Dirt Worx, a landscaping company in St. Clairsville. Smerczynski said that while many people in the area still prefer their traditional lawns, others are starting to incorporate other elements into their landscaping, including natural stone. Aside from the aesthetics of the material, Smerczynski said one of the advantages of stone is the permanence of the material, cutting down on time and money for upkeep.

“What I’ve been seeing more and more of is people wanting to create outdoor living space for entertaining or just a place to relax after a long day. Stone work such as sitting walls and patios, concrete work, paver patios and walkways and concrete retaining wall block are all excellent choices because they are so long lasting and blend in with the natural surroundings, “ Smerczynski said.

J&P Dirt Worx is smaller company, but Smerczynski said that isn’t a bad thing, as the smaller size and lower overhead allows the business to keep prices competitive. Although it may be smaller in size, Smerczynski said it has the skills, tools and experience of a larger company, allowing it to take on a variety of projects.

“With this area, in particular with the hills and elevation change, retaining walls are a pretty good chunk of our business,” Smerczynski said, adding that while natural stone is a good decorative material, concrete is the medium of choice for retaining walls due to the strength of the material.

In the Wheeling area, residents don’t have to look further than Top Notch Landscaping and Supply, owned by Chris Duplaga in Woodsdale. Opened in 1992, Top Notch has slowly grown throughout the years, expanding its landscaping services to commercial companies as well as private homes. According to its website, Top Notch is “a landscaping service company that generates ideas, implements design and maintains the output for commercial areas and for your home.” The company offers a variety of services, including consultation and installation, as well as a diverse spread of materials and equipment for any project a customer might wish to undertake.

For more information on Top Notch Landscaping and Supply, call 304-233-0332 or email at office@topnotch landsc ape.com. To contact J&P Dirt Worx, call 740-359-0162.

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