Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

AUG 2017

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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To the HEARTH of the MATTER To the HEARTH of the MATTER by Andrew Soto, LC/DBM Top Todd Kroger of Design Resource Group, a Portland, Ore., based landscape contracting firm, oversaw the design and construction of an outdoor fireplace in Oregon. "Here in the Northwest we are faced with many challenges, the biggest be- ing weather," said Kroger. "For the clients to feel comfortable moving forward with this large investment, we needed to find a design that would accommodate all four seasons." Above Natural Surroundings, a landscape contracting firm out of Mayer, Minn., built a fireplace and rear patio for a residence near the Twin Cites. As other landscape contrac- tors have recommended in this article, the builder excavated below the frost line to prepare the foundation for the footing. Repeated freezing and thawing will cause structures not de- signed for cold weather to crack, lean and eventually fall over. W When it comes to outdoor living, fireplaces deliver a one-two punch; easily knocking out the need for heat while creating a welcoming outdoor living environment. After speaking with some landscape contractors who build these amenities, we learned there are a few things to look out for. Blame It On The Rain Todd Kroger of Design Resource Group (DRG), a Portland, Ore., landscape contracting firm, oversaw the design and installation of a custom outdoor fireplace for a home in the rain prone climate of the Pacific Northwest. Kroger stressed the differences between indoor and outdoor fireplaces lay in their composition. Outdoor fireplaces have to contend with weather all year long and need to be built using stronger materials. "An outdoor fireplace is going to be exposed to things like rain full time so you have to be careful what product you chose," said Kroger. "You have to seal it up to keep the weather from putting your fire out and water from leaking in." Over time, the weather can have costly effects on structures. If drainage for an outdoor fireplace is not planned, damage to the installation is likely to occur. Nathan Boliek, of Maryland-based TDH Landscaping, managed the installation of a precast wood-burning fireplace. The topogra - phy of the build site necessitated the implementation of drainage through the front of the seat wall. "When you have the terrain leaning up against a structure, water will build up," said Boliek. "If you don't drain it away, the hydro - static pressure will damage your work." 28 LC DBM Builders Discuss Outdoor Fireplaces

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