Jon Krise's LEADER Construction

Jon Krise's LEADER



Charleroi, Pa. 15022

Steps to ensure you get the

landscape for your needs.

Being an informed consumer when it comes to

your landscape.

Through my education and years of experience I have been focused on becoming a better and more informed designer and contractor. This is all to serve my clients more efficiently. The following are the steps I use when doing a complete landscape renovation. This process works for my clients and me to obtain great outdoor living space and curb appeal which adds value to the clients home.

Having a current copy of your property's survey avoids problems with neighbors and saves time in the later design and then build stages of the landscape process.

Soil testing-Lawn and Landscape

fertilizers and amendments will correct the deficiency.

This step can not be skipped. If the landscaper you are using does not do soil test this should raise a flag.

Without soil test up front it is harder to correct the deficiency when the plant materials are already installed.

If you have your lawn treated by a service and they have not soil tested how do they know what your lawn needs?


This phase of the landscape is the second most important part. It will get you the most desirable landscape for your needs. It will cover your hardscapes, landscape beds, and your lawn area.

Without a design the total outdoor living area may end up below your expectations for function and aesthetics.

A proper design will be SAFE, it will Function, and last it will look good. If it is not safe or does not function then looks don't really matter.

It will lay out the steps to achieve the total master plan of your landscape by your building the areas in the proper order.

Under grounds. Install electric lighting wires and water irrigation before any pavings are installed. These are important down the line.

Hardscapes and paved areas on the design are installed first, then the landscape beds, and finally the lawn areas.

A copy of your property's survey saves time in this phase as the landscape designer won't have to measure your lot, distances of your house's set back from the street, driveway length, distances to adjoining properties, and it usually has any right of ways or easements drawn on it.

Hardscapes and paved areas. Hardscapes usually require heavy equipment to install them, you need them to be able to enter your home, entertain outside, and are less flexible so they should be installed first. These structures usually do not require a permit BUT it is best to check and be sure. Concrete is consider permanent and may require permit and may increase tax footprint.

Retaining walls are the first we will discuss. Choosing the right wall system for your needs.

They should be installed by a qualified contractor per NCMA standards governor SRW systems.

Concrete driveways and sidewalks are second we will discuss. There are many types of finishes to choose from when it comes to concrete (broom, stamped, exposed agg.). If you choose concrete it too needs to be installed per NCMA standards. It can be sealed to avoid getting stains and helps resist surface weathering.

Asphalt driveways follow the same base preparation as concrete but require more maintenance with cleaning and sealing.

Unit pavers are third on our list. I prefer this type of paver for sidewalks, patios, and driveways over concrete and asphalt. They are installed by a qualified contractor per ICPI standards. They are repairable.

They have better wear over concrete.

Decking, fencing, and other outdoor structures. These structures will require building permits.

Decking has many pleasing reason to be selected for your home there are many different types of decking

Vinyl decking product can be pressure washed but may not support a hot tub. Never need paint or stain. Built on treated lumber frame. Higher cost.

Composite decks can support a hot tub but can not be pressure washed. Never need paint or stain. Cleaned with mild soap. Built on treated lumber frame. High cost

Wood decking can be pressure washed and will support a hot tub. They require stain, paint or water sealant every few years.

Rail systems can be wood, composite, aluminum, or vinyl. The costs increase respectively. And, each has a use and reason for selecting over the other.

Lighting and outdoor electric outlets are something that needs considered. As well at this time if you are installing irrigation this is the time to plan on that. Running these lines while doing the base preparation of the hardscapes is a lot easier than running them after the hardscapes are installed. You will be able to get the power and lights where you want them at this stage, and your irrigation heads will be better located.

Low voltage lights in landscapes are nice. I feel they are costly and require special transformers and light bulbs. That being said many landscapers work with them and they add great appeal to the landscape.

I prefer regular line voltage lights. I have two certificates in electrical wiring. I feel there is more selection for fixtures with regular voltages and cost less. With L.E.D. light bulbs, line voltage fixtures use the same or less electric than low voltage systems without the costly transformers. They can be controlled by normal switching, timers, dimmer switches, or photo electrical eyes or any combination of the four.

Having electric outlets through out the landscape really make life easier for outdoor maintenance, when entertaining, or just need power outside. Water features being an additional electric need.

Water features

If you desire a water feature they can be installed anytime after the hardscapes are completed.

Installed over old carpet or pond padding under the liner to prevent holes in the liner.

Ponds need to be minimum of 24 inches in our zone if you have fish. This depth should keep the fish alive through winter.

If you have fish the math is one fish for every 5 square feet of pond surface. Also the pond surface needs to be 70 percent covered with plant material if you have fish in the pond. This adds natural food and aeration to the pond for the fish.

Having the proper balance of plants and fish in your water feature will keep your pond cleaner than any fancy filter or pump system.

Filters offer UV lights that kill bacteria when being circulated through them. This reduces chemicals needed in ponds with fish.

Having the correct pump for pond size will get you the best circulation and water filtration. Over sized pumps will yield a great waterfall but can be harmful by over filtering the water for the plants and fish. I suggest a second pump for the moving water feature and the first pump is for only circulating the water through the filter.

Pond cleaning can be difficult. I like to put large flat but round rocks on the pond bottom of a pond so if needed maintenance can be preformed from inside the pond. Netting over the pond before leaves drop helps keep it clean.

Landscape beds. These are next in the order I follow when doing the build.

Plant selection from trees to ground covers, perennials and shrubs are all plants that will be in your landscape.

These plants should fit the space they are in and require minimal amounts of trimming.

The shape of the beds along with the plant selection set the mood for the area where they are located. A well groomed and maintained front entry for example would tell visitors that they are entering a home/business that is well cared for and a offers comfortable environment.

They can designate areas from formal entertaining and to children play areas. An outdoor kitchen with bar area quickly becomes a great adult area for social gatherings. I found that a fresh herb garden in a raised container next to the grill area is great for cooking. This is an example of ideal plant selection and location. We are busy people and love fresh herbs for cooking. This simple solution makes us more inclined to use them, they are right there.

Scented ground covers near a garden path are another great example of plant selection and location. Some give off a more strong scent when brushed against. Being next to a path would amplify their aroma with foot traffic.

Shade trees change the entire area. Having a design drawn to scale with trees drawn at maturity can shows this at the beginning of the landscape and aids in shrub and perennial selection. Fast growing trees offer shade but are weaker and are prone to winter ice and snow weight damage. Deciduous trees with branching that is less than 45 degrees from main trunk and trees with branches that tend to cross each other are also weaker. Slow growing trees are stronger but take a while to mature. Evergreen trees that grow fast also might winter damage. Having the right tree gives the landscape summer shade, fall color, winter branching that can be interesting, and spring buds.

Shrubs and perennials give year round appeal to the landscape. Full year interest is important to a landscape. Evergreens and certain other deciduous shrubs have winter appeal. The red twig dogwood stems turn a blood red color when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Perennials offer great color and interesting blooms. Knock out roses have minimized the care to roses and bloom from mid summer through frost.

Plants are purchased when they are young and small. They will grow. Knowing the mature size will save costly plant removal expenses later from an over planted area.

I prefer ground covers over mulch or stone chips. I use mulch in my annual planting areas. Stone chip make a great pathway. Ground cover plants add beauty and value to a landscape without the re-occurring cost of mulching.

Watering and its importance. Learn about your plants and how to care for them.! Watering and maintenance in the first two seasons is extremely important. Fresh soil amendments added into soils that have been aerated is also a great growing medium for weeds . No landscape is maintenance free. I was in down town new york city in front of the Empire State Building and there were weeds in the crack of the sidewalk. Weeds grow and they grow fast. Landscapes are an investment. Protecting that investment is water, maintenance, and fertilizers. Annual trimming and fertilizers (again with soil testing) are also part of landscape maintenance.

Jonathan E. Krise

NCMA Certified Wall Installer CTC Electrical Certified Residential Industrial/Commercial

Ashworth College Landscape Design Degree CD Ashworth College Construction Management AAS

Ashworth College General Studies/ Business Management BA

All work was completed by Jon Krise's Leader Construction.

Design by Jon Krise

Authored by Jon Krise 2015