Monthly Archives: December 2021

Concrete Retaining Wall Benefits

Concrete retaining wall benefits include aesthetics, affordability, durability, erosion control, and add functionality to your landscape design. Additionally retaining walls expand usable space in the landscape, form boundaries, direct traffic, and reduce maintenance.

-Aesthetics: You can’t put a price on the joy you get from a pleasant experience with friends and family on and around your well designed safe and durable seating wall or along a raised flower bed built with concrete wall block as focal points in your outdoor living space.

-Affordability: Concrete retaining wall blocks have a big impact in landscape designs at competitive prices to retaining walls constructed of other materials including wood, rock, and metal. Factors effecting cost of concrete retaining wall block projects include the design complexity, block style, overall footprint, elevation, grade, whether its stepped, the choice of base material to be used and accommodations for drainage and stability. Every project is unique and Earth Works landscape designers consult with clients onsite before collaborating with our design team and implementing the client approved design.

-Durability: Concrete wall blocks are cast concrete, gravel, sand, and cement. Studies demonstrate that hollow concrete block masonry are stronger than solid brick walls. Concrete block walls are stronger than walls made of low-density cinder block that aren’t recommended for high-load-bearing projects and prohibited by some building codes. Besides a gravel base additional retaining wall block structural supports are typically required with slopes and projects exceeding certain heights and footprints. A preferred method for additional structural support are use of alternating layers of compacted, and backfilled, soil reinforced with geogrid, a geosynthetic material sandwiched between courses and embedded in the substrate.

-Erosion control: Retaining walls by definition retain soil and prevent erosion. Earth Works provides a variety of retention wall drainage systems that could involve perforated pipe, filter fabric, and drainage stone in proximity to the project. The best drainage solutions for retaining walls also take into consideration an assessment of drainage of the entire property that can involve channel drains, French drains, and connecting downspouts.

-Functionality: Concrete retaining walls provide a variety of functional benefits to your landscape including fixing grades that can be too steep or sloping. Your concrete retaining wall as part of your walkways, pathways, raised beds, patios, and seating walls expands your usable outdoor living space. Our landscape designers look forward to sharing with you the retaining wall benefits for your project and creating a project that meets your aesthetic and functional requirements.

Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. Contact us with your questions and to book design consultations.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

Earth Works Employee of Month: The 2021 A-List

Congratulations to our 2021 employee of month award winners recognized at our monthly meetings scheduled on the first Thursday of each month.

January 2021 Employee of Month Patti Sanders joined the Earth Works design team this past summer and jumped right in with a great attitude and a smile. She had gone to school for landscape design but ended up in management and sales for a few major companies. She moved to Jacksonville 2 years ago and was a manager for Lowes Garden Center in Mandarin. She realized how much she missed her passion for design and sought out Earth Works. After learning the Earth Works Way, she is off to a great design future with the Earth Works team. Thanks, Patti, for doing a great job for our clients!

February 2021 Employee of Month, Matt Friend, is the Jaguar Trevor Lawrence’s new biggest fan! He also is one of our all-time most enjoyable employees to work with all day. Even on tough days, Matt ALWAYS has a smile. Every day, he shows up extra early ready for any challenge with his “can do” attitude. Since joining our team three and a half years ago, he has brought us many years of FUN with his witty commentary and excellent dancing and singing skills. Thank you, Matt, for brightening up our long days!!

March 2021 Employee of Month Jarred Taylor joined the Earth Works team 2 years ago when he did his summer internship. He was well-liked by everyone and immediately accepted by all. It didn’t take long to see that Jarred’s computer and design skills, as well as a great work ethic, would be a great asset to our team. We said at that time, “Wouldn’t it be great if Jarred came to work with us after school?”. Our wish came true and we are honored to have Jarred as our lead designer. In the few months he has been back, his organizational skills and ability to work closely with the design team has been a tremendous help to us.

April 2021 Employee of Month Christina Lowe (nickname Dee) has been easy to work with from day one. Dee started in the Garden Center and quickly picked up on everything she was asked to help out on. She learned about plants, helped cover the register and front desk, and worked with customer service helping shoppers pick out plants for their landscapes. Her flexibility and positive attitude came into play when the Landscape division needed help over at our “bluff” location as the Bluff Grounds Supervisor. Dee increased her value to the company by learning new skills, loading material for jobs, and helping keep the bluff organized. Recently, she has come back to the Garden Center in time of need and has quickly transitioned to helping us route incoming plants, cover the front desk when needed, and helping customers. She exemplifies teamwork, systems, and commitment with everyone in any department. We are grateful to have her on our team for over 3 years. Thank you Christina!

May 2021 Employee of Month Larry Yancey came to us a year ago as a lawn maintenance foreman with a great and flexible attitude. From the start, his dependability was noteworthy. You can set your clock for his timely arrival to gather his crew and be the first truck out for the day’s adventure. He is very methodical in his work and his customers love him. This past winter, Larry single-handedly ran all the maintenance customer’s extra job requests that were outside the weekly, routine dispatch schedule. His hustling work ethic helped the maintenance department achieve its’ best month ever! Thanks, Larry, for being a dedicated, skillful teammate!

June 2021 Employee of Month Erik Kalwicki came to Earth Works almost one year ago and has been very flexible and helpful in multiple departments. With his great laid back attitude, he is very patient and understanding. Erik is very consistent with his methodical and meticulous work habits. He has made improvements to the Bluff and its functional flow and keeps tabs on inventory. He helps keep the plants looking good for our installs. He also helps the maintenance department run smoothly with sharpening blades, checking oil, and cleaning air filters. He enjoys music, gardening, and long road trips but most of all he loves jelly donuts! Thank you, Erik, for being a great team player and always getting the job done!

July 2021 Employee of Month Sean Friedman has been with us for 3 years in our lawn maintenance division doing a wonderful job while never receiving nor offering complaints. His customers regularly give him raving reviews. Sean’s communication between our clients and our team is excellent. He lives our points of culture (integrity, excellence, teamwork, and fun) every day with his positive can-do attitude. While he may be a true plant nerd, he also truly cares about being a star employee, wonderful father, and husband. Thanks, Sean for being a great employee!

August 2021 Employee of Month Sean O’Toole joined us this past spring to help with our outside team but a broken foot injury just days later allowed our customers to experience his extremely warm, detail-focused customer service skills at the front desk. Rarely do customers leave the garden center without Sean knowing their names. He follows up with them to ensure our team and customer expectations are met. His connections with customers and numerous Google reviews have made Sean a valuable addition to our nursery team. He is honing his outside skills as he heals, wrangling any palms and product out back that he has not sold yet. With his fun & can-do attitude, he looks forward to assisting us with our drop-off deliveries in the next couple of weeks. This will offer our customers even more opportunities to experience Sean’s outstanding customer service. Congratulations, Sean!

September 2021 Employee of Month Tim Greer has worn many hats since arriving 3 years ago. He is a vital link between our customers and foremen. Customers love him for his exceptional customer service. The foremen know they can reach out to him for a fast response on their field issues. Most recently, he has stepped into and excelled in his role as the Bluff Manager taking on any task that needs to get done; including welding trailer parts! He lives our points of culture (teamwork, integrity, excellence, and fun 24/7 always looking out for our best interests. Thank you, Timbo, for your part in leading our landscape team to success!

October 2021 Employee of Month Jackson Harris came to the landscape department 3 years ago as an excellent team player with a great work ethic from the beginning. He will always happily do what is asked of him. He spent a few weeks covering the Bluff plant router position. Though he can be a smart aleck, he also can be very humble expressing gratitude for his Earth Works job. On work sites, he exemplifies professionalism and has become a strong member of the landscape and pond crews. He asks great questions and is always curious to learn more. Recently, Jackson has transitioned into a Landscape Foreman position. On Saturdays, you are likely to see him wandering the nursery and supporting the business. Thank you for being a steady and strong teammate, Jackson!

November 2021 Employee of Month Doug Fisher exhibits all of our points of culture arriving one and a half years ago. He was promoted to a foreman position last summer and has exceeded all expectations. We constantly get calls from his very happy customers. He does awesome work and has great attention to detail. He brings a good attitude and never complains, even when he would be right to do so. Thank you, Doug, for being a great team player always ready to help out anytime or anywhere!

December 2021 Employee of Month Adam Cooprider arrived 2-1/2 years ago as a crewman with little to no landscaping experience. Every day since he has consistently worked to improve. He shows up to work on time bringing a great attitude to every job. Recently, he has stepped up and filled in for foremen to keep jobs running for us and our customers. He is eager to take on more responsibility to help us grow. As a great team player, Adam does whatever is asked of him at any time. Thanks for all your hard work, Adam!

Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center in Jacksonville/Plant Nursery and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

Common Paver Problems and Solutions

Paver patios, walkways, and driveways add to your property value, but be aware of common paver problems and solutions associated with poor craftsmanship.

SINKING PAVERS AND LEVELING ISSUES are common paver problems associated with poor site grading and an insufficient amount or type of aggregate base material installed to provide a stable foundation for the pavers. Popular aggregate base materials include recycled concrete (crushcrete), gravel, and geotextile materials. Choosing the correct aggregate is essential for the stability of pavers. Northeast Florida construction sites are commonly built on sand that holds water due to our being at or near sea level.
Soil composite considerations are standard for reputable hardscaping professionals. The amount of base material required to avoid sinking pavers and leveling issues can vary based on soil composition and what is found during excavation. For instance, concrete driveways are poured on top of old cracked ones. We’ve experienced circumstances wherein additional excavation was required, and the use of extra base was needed. Strong concrete edging helps maintain the integrity of paver stability.
Tree roots can also lift pavers. However, unlike concrete driveways and pathways cracked by tree roots, the equivalent paver driveways, patios, and walkways can be easily reset without a jackhammer and pouring additional concrete.

PLANTS AND DEBRIS BETWEEN UNSEALED PAVERS are common paver problems. Polymeric sand fills in-between the cracks and prevents anything from washing between or washing out and causing your pavers to become unlevel, said Earth Works Foreman David Arthur. The polymeric sand binds the pavers keeping out weeds and debris. Sealing pavers further protects them from damage and enhances their color.

DRAINAGE issues contribute to a variety of common paver problems, including sinking and leveling issues mentioned above, plus pooling of water resulting in mold and mildew buildup and associated slip and fall hazards. Proper drainage is essential for the longevity and safety of paver projects, so drainage considerations are an integral component of Earth Works design consultations. While drainage isn’t sexy, it’s essential for client satisfaction with their outdoor living space.

Contact us to book your hardscaping design consultation to avoid these common paver problems. We are a member of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and refer to them for additional information.

Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

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