Ponds in Winter

http://cepontzsons.com/ponds-winter/

This is the time of year when you need to make a decision about your water feature. Should you shut your pond down or leave your pond running through the winter?
 

Ponds in Winter

Option #1: Keep Your Pond Running

A pond can be a beautiful addition to your winter landscape. The waterfalls create beautiful ice sculptures, as well as create a natural water hole for wildlife. If you choose to keep your pond running, please keep these factors in mind:

* You must stay aware of your pond, although the weather may not be very inviting.
* Do not keep the pond running if you out of town for long periods of time.
* You may need to add water periodically since water is lost during ice formation.
* Due to power outages, if a pump is off for a significant period of time during freezing temperatures, it will not be able to start and will need to be unplugged and disconnected if possible.
* Once the lines are frozen, you can’t turn your pond back on until it thaws, which is usually in spring.
* If you have a large pond, you may still require a small pump or heater near the skimmer opening.

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Winter Pond Lancaster, PA

Option #2: Shut Your Pond Down

Most people prefer to stay warm, giving up their waterfall until the spring thaw. If you choose to shut your pond down, just follow these simple steps.

* Most pond owners shut their ponds down in the middle to end of November after most of the leaves have fallen.
* Remove as much debris as you can from the pond.
* Cut back the lilies and any marginal plants.
* Store the pump in a bucket of water inside. You can clean out the biological filter and filter media if you choose. (You can wait for spring to do this also.)
* If you have fish, install an air bubbler or water pump (Aquascape’s AquaForce 1000 is suggested). You can use a bubbler alone or in conjunction with a floating heater. Place the bubbler on a shelf just above the deepest area. The discharge pipe (don’t put on a fountain head) should be submerged just under the water’s surface.
* If you choose to use a heater, place far enough away from the bubbler that it is not getting hit by water.
* Be sure the skimmer and biological filter are cleaned out before turning them on again in the spring.

Read More: http://www.aquascapeinc.com/blogs/water-gardening/Shut-Down-the-Pond

 

Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces

http://cepontzsons.com/outdoor-fire-pits-fire-places-lancaster-pa/

Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces create a stunning focal point while adding year round enjoyment to your outdoor living space. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the warmth and mesmerizing glow that outdoor fire features can provide. The perfect gathering spot for all your outdoor entertaining. Below are some examples of Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces installed in Lancaster, York, and Central Pennsylvania.

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Fire Pit and Hot tub Installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Fireplace installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Fire Pit installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Fireplace installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Fireplace installed I Morgantown, PA

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Paver Patio & Fire pit installed in Mount Joy, PA

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Paver Patio & fire Pit Installed in Lancaster, PA

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Pergola & Outdoor Kitchen with Fire Place installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Living & Water Feature installed in York, PA

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Fire Pit and Outdoor Kitchen installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Fire Pit installed in Lancaster, PA

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Paver Patio & Fire Pit installed in Mount Joy, PA

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Pavilion and Outdoor Living Space installed in Lancaster, PA

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Paver Patio & Fire pit installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Living & Water Feature installed in York, PA

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Pergola & Outdoor Living area with Fire Pit installed Ephrata, PA

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Outdoor Fireplace installed I Morgantown, PA

 

Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces

Patio Extension Lancaster, PA

http://cepontzsons.com/patio-extension-lancaster-pa/

This Hardscape Project in Lancaster, PA included a Natural Flagstone Patio extension off of an existing Brick paver patio. We inlayed a few pieces of Natural Flagstone into the existing brick patio as well,to tie the two patios together. Along the steps to the porch we installed a cast concrete sitting wall, with Belgium block edging to boarder the river gravel stone mulch.

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Natural Flagstone Patio with Seating wall installed in Lancaster, PA

 

 

 

 

How to Extend Your Patio Season

http://cepontzsons.com/extend-patio-season/

by Unilock

Unfortunately the warm days of summer have come to an end. Most of us have probably put our pools to rest for another year and started spending more time indoors. However, with just a few tips you can extend your patio season and create the perfect outdoor entertainment space to connect with friends and family!

Consider adding a fire pit…not only does a fire pit create a gathering space it also adds heat and lighting making those cool fall evenings comfortable and enjoyable.

If not a fire pit, include a fireplace, it is another outdoor feature that makes entertaining outside during the cooler months possible.

By adding some paver lights, it will make your patio more accessible now that the days are getting shorter.

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you can’t do your cooking outdoors with a BBQ grill island.

 

Read more: http://unilock.com/blog/how-to-extend-your-patio-season

 

 

 

Aquascape Project Showcase – McCannon Farm Pond

http://cepontzsons.com/aquascape-project-showcase-mccannon-farm-pond/

C.E. Pontz Sons was thrilled to be apart of this AMAZING water feature build!!! Check out the video below to see this awesome project!!!!!

Yes, you can transform an unsightly earthen-bottom farm pond into a beautiful, healthy ecosystem water feature! A gorgeous new waterfall provides beneficial aeration and circulation to a mucky, stagnant pond, while a constructed wetland provides much-needed natural filtration. Additional pump jets aid circulation while an intake bay skims the pond’s surface helping to keep it clean. You won’t believe the results! Special thanks to our Certified Aquascape Contractors who donated their time and energy to transform the expansive pond at Farm Friends, a non-profit organization that works with special needs adults.

 

Aquascape Project Showcase – McCannon Farm Pond

Aquascape Project Showcase – McCannon Farm Pond

 

How to Improve Our Altered Environment

http://cepontzsons.com/improve-altered-environment/

By Ed Beaulieu

 

Without fertile soils, clean drinking water, healthy forests, and a stable climate, the world’s economy would face disaster. By imperiling our environment, we imperil the economy.

Drought is on a lot of people’s minds these days, Californians in particular. However, drought is a threat beyond California that needs to be addressed for more than just its occurrence in a specific locale. This is a simple yet very complex issue since water is the compound that differentiates our planet from the rest. The true solution to battling drought is to raise awareness about water in our daily lives, and then create long-term solutions that alleviate the stresses of future water challenges and our altered environment.

Droughts are a normal occurrence in the Southwestern United States, and knowing that it can happen in any given year is important. The key is to educate others about the water cycle and how it impacts us all. In order to lessen the effects of drought, but more importantly future droughts, we need to start today! Water as we all know is critical for our survival, along with the countless other organisms that call California (or any other place) home. Let’s begin with a little background information on the water cycle.

 

Altered-Environment

 

We have the luxury of being able to turn on our faucets to get a drink; wildlife does not. Unfortunately for them, we have destroyed large tracts of land and in turn, all of the native ponds, streams and other freshwater wetlands when we construct homes, roads and farms to sustain our lives. This is all done at the expense of natural areas.

During this construction process we’ve not just eliminated natural spaces, but we’ve also changed the hydrology of the area. In other words, we’ve created an impervious cap that does not allow rainwater to soak into the subsoil as it has done throughout history. The problem we are seeing nationwide, and even worldwide, is that homes, roads, parking lots, roofs etc., are designed to not allow water to soak into them. Instead, the rainwater runs directly off into sewer systems that take the water to the coast or other area for disposal.

There are many problems associated with storm water runoff, which varies according to the geographic area and intensity of the rainfall. Every day we pump huge volumes of groundwater from our aquifers to provide drinking water and irrigation. But due to the vast amounts of impervious surfaces, rainwater is not able to soak back into the ground and we are left watching our groundwater reserves getting lower and lower. Unfortunately, they are not replenished because we’ve changed the hydrology/watershed.

As we pump water from deeper layers of the earth, the cost of pumping the water gets higher and higher since water is very heavy. I’ve actually read articles about farmers in California’s Central Valley where the cost of electricity to run the pumps is greater than their profits for the vegetables! As the groundwater becomes depleted, it leaves void spaces in the soil, which over time slowly compresses through a process known as subsidence. The ground actually sinks, causing problems for any structures, roadways, underground pipes, etc. As the ground compresses, it eliminates the void spaces so even when it does rain, the water-holding voids are gone and the aquifer is changed forever.

Deep groundwater can also be contaminated with dissolved minerals, making it unfit for consumption. And in coastal areas we see saltwater intrusion. Saltwater intrusion occurs when the pressure gradient changes underground. In a normal, healthy situation, freshwater is pushing itself towards the ocean because the adjacent coastal plains are at a higher elevation than the ocean. This constant push of water keeps saltwater out, and when coastal wells are depleted the pressure switches and saltwater creeps inland. If it mixes with the well, it’s ruined as we cannot drink saltwater without an expensive desalination system. This is a huge problem on the east coast, but happens in California too.

Another problem that occurs when we change the hydrology or watershed with impervious surfaces is pollution, especially after long periods without rain. Our daily activities produce contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, hydrocarbons, you name it! Hundreds if not thousands of compounds are deposited on our terrestrial surfaces and when it rains, all of this stuff is washed into our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans wreaking havoc, to say it nicely. The number one cause of coastal pollution is from rainwater runoff!

Water is known as the universal solvent. More compounds dissolve in water than any other compound which is good for us earth dwellers, because when it rains it literally cleanses the earth. But it’s bad for aquatic systems because all of this stuff gets dissolved in the water. Aquatic systems are traditionally very stable, but when they’re inundated with pollutants, it kills the ecosystem. Sadly, aquatic species are being eliminated at a rate 5 times faster than terrestrial species because of these problems.

California is well known for its coastline and beaches, in fact it’s one of the main economic drivers for the state. Billions of dollars are directly contributed to the local economies through tourism as people flock to the coast, but we’re slowly killing it with excessive runoff. Beach closures after rain events are becoming a more common occurrence throughout the world and we know where to point the finger. But it’s a large problem to fix unless we think differently about how we manage our water resources. Beach closures in California hurt tourism and the local economies that rely on healthy aquatic resources.

If we were to capture rainwater in underground RainXchange systems, ponds, streams or rain gardens, we would slow down the water and cause less runoff. In turn, we would filter the water using biological filtration and aquatic plants, thereby removing pollutants from the water and lessening their effects.

If we combine a small infiltration system in conjunction with this strategy, we provide a way for excess runoff to get back into the ground to replenish our groundwater reserves. Once the water is captured with a RainXchange system, it becomes a home for countless species of animals; from microscopic zooplankton, insects, birds, small mammals and beyond, as everything requires water. Biodiversity is an indicator of a healthy environment, but we should not confuse this with just numbers of animals and plants. Biodiversity is the presence of a variety of plants and animals, which creates stability.

There’s currently a hot topic of discussion by ecologists worldwide as they try to assign dollar amounts to biodiversity and services that are provided to us by nature for free. For example, plants, trees and algae produce oxygen for our planet which we rely on at no cost. Bees and other pollinators are responsible for agricultural pollination and are estimated to be worth around $216 billion annually on a global scale. This doesn’t even include pollination for crops consumed by livestock, biofuels, ornamental flowers, or the massive importance of wild plant pollination. According to research published in Science magazine, the global worth of total ecosystem services could run between $40-60 trillion a year. Without fertile soils, clean drinking water, healthy forests, and a stable climate, the world’s economy would face disaster. By imperiling our environment, we imperil the economy.

Water is at the heart of all this. Bees and other pollinating insects require a fresh source of water and unfortunately we eliminated the natural sources with our cities. During periods of drought the remaining sources disappear quickly, causing stress on animals throughout the area by reducing their abilities to naturally pollinate plants. California is currently bringing in millions of bees from neighboring states by the truckload! There are simply not enough native bees to pollinate the vast amounts of fruit and nut trees in California because the ecosystem is out of balance. On the flip side of this ecosystem balance we see pests increasing!

As native species are eliminated, we open the door for non-native pests to creep in. We then spend billions of dollars every year to control a wide variety of these pests that damage food crops, our ornamental landscapes, and even our homes. Certain pest species will thrive because there are not enough natural predators to control them, like frogs, dragonflies, bats, and more, which require healthy aquatic ecosystems throughout their life cycle for survival. These animals alone are responsible for controlling a wide variety of harmful pest species.
 
So how can we help?
Small decorative water features, ecosystem ponds, and RainXchange rainwater harvesting systems store valuable, life-giving water for local wildlife and provide a fresh source of water during droughts and periods of no natural precipitation. In untouched natural areas with healthy ecosystems, this is not necessary because the system is in balance and the plant and animal communities have adapted to the areas over many years.

We’re seeing problems today because we’ve altered the environment and we consume local resources at a faster than normal rate; this is at the crux of the problem. We can reverse the effects if we so choose, but it needs to be done properly. Water is at the center of this design as it will quickly become the most important component in a wildlife survival plan.

By providing a clean source of fresh water in conjunction with the appropriate aquatic vegetation and substrates, a wide variety of animals will be able to survive. When this occurs we preserve the biodiversity of the area, which in turn protects and serves our local economies.
 

We can all win if we choose to.

 

read more: http://www.aquascapeinc.com/blogs/contractor-articles/improve-altered-environment
 

Bubbling Urn Fountain with Rainwater Harvesting System

http://cepontzsons.com/bubbling-urn-fountain-rainwater-harvesting-system/

Check out this awesome Stacked Slate Bubbling Urn Fountain we installed in Lancaster, PA. This Fountain water feature also incorporates a “RainXchange” rainwater harvesting system.
 

Fountains are great to incorporate the sight and sound of water to your garden. Light weight and durable. Can be used indoors or outdoors. Never fades or chips. Natural rock veneer. Ages like real stone.

Aquascape’s Stacked Slate Urn creates the soothing sound of trickling water making it the focal point of any setting. Aquascape’s Stacked Slate Urn has all the natural beauty of real rock with the added durability and light weight of fiberglass. Create a natural paradise in your back yard with Aquascape’s Stacked Slate Urn.

The Aquascape RainXchange™ Harvesting Systems are a revolutionary design that combines a recirculating decorative water feature with a sub-surface rainwater harvesting collection system.

Clean, Filtered Water Collection & Storage – While you enjoy the benefits of a decorative water feature, the RainXchange™ Rainwater Harvesting System filters the stored water to prevent stagnation and growth of unhealthy bacteria.
The RainXchange™ Rainwater Harvesting System reveals only a beautiful water feature that integrates easily into existing landscape.
Collecting and storing the water underground maintains the integrity and beauty of your home and landscape.

Wildlife Habitat – Because the water stored in the RainXchange™ System is constantly moving and being aerated, it becomes a sanctuary for wildlife.

Water Feature Lifestyle – Enhanced landscaping improves property value and water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world.

Environmental Conservation – Capturing rainwater to operate the water feature creates true self-sustainability, drastically reducing the need for chemically-treated traditional water sources.

Read more on rainwater harvesting: http://www.rainxchange.com/

 

Pergolas, Pavilions, and Gazebos

http://cepontzsons.com/pergolas-pavilions-gazebos/

Pergolas, Pavilions, and Gazebos can provide added privacy as well as shelter from the elements in your families own backyard retreat. Whether used for an outdoor living room enclosure or to create a private dining space without obstructing your view, pergolas and pavilions can be customized to your families specific needs. Electricty can be added to your pergola or pavilion to add elements such as outdoor televisions, sound systems, ceiling fans and lighting, making it the new popular gathering spot at your home. We have installed many Pergolas, Pavilions, and Gazebos throughout Lancaster, York, and Central Pennsylvania. Scroll through the pictures below to see examples of some of our more recent projects.

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Outdoor Living Room with Pergola installed in Lancaster, PA

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Pergola, Pond, and Outdoor Living area installed in Lititz, PA

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Pergola installed in York, PA

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Pergola & Outdoor Kitchen installed in Lancaster, PA

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Pergola, Patio, and Retaining Wall installed in Lancaster, PA

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Pergola, Pond, and outdoor Living Area installed Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Living Area with Pergola installed in Ephrata, PA

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Landscaping with Pergola and Stone Steps installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Living & Water Feature with Pergola installed in York, PA

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Pergola, Pond, and outdoor Living Area installed Ephrata, PA

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Pavilion and Outdoor Living Space installed in Lancaster, PA

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Pergola & Water Feature installed in York, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola Installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola Installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Living Area with Fire Pit & Custom Hammock Swing installed in Lititz, PA

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Amazing Pond Built with Pergola installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola and Pavilion installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola and Pavilion installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola installed in Morgantown, PA

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Pondless Waterfall with Pergola built in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Living Room with Pavilion installed in Lancaster, PA

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Outdoor Kitchen & Two Tier Paver Patio with Pergola installed in Morgantown, PA

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Outdoor Living Area with Kitchen, Fire Place and Pergola installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor living Area with Pergola & Fireplace installed in Lititz, PA

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Outdoor living Area with Pergola & Fireplace installed in Lititz, PA

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Pergola, Pond, and Outdoor Living area installed in Lititz, PA

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Pergola and Outdoor Kitchen installed in Morgantown, PA

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Pergola & Outdoor Living area installed Ephrata, PA

Patio Pond Fountain Feature

http://cepontzsons.com/patio-pond-fountain-feature/
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Patio Pond Pondless Waterfall installed in Lancaster, PA

Check out this Aquascape Patio Pond turned into a Pondless Waterfall feature. We cut an opening in the front of a Patio Pond and set it atop a pondless basin to create this awesome feature!

Patio ponds incorporate the sight and sound of water to your garden, deck, patio or balcony. Light weight and durable. Can be used indoors or outdoors. Never fades or chips. Natural rock veneer. Ages like real stone. Integrated plant shelves.

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Patio Pond Pondless Waterfall installed in Lancaster, PA

Aquascape’s Aquatic Patio Planter makes it simple to have a complete water garden in almost any setting. If you have ever tried to make a traditional ceramic or stone bowl into a container water garden, you know how difficult or costly it can be to add plants without shelves. Aquascape’s Aquatic Patio Planter has integrated plant shelves making it simple. Creating a beautifully planted water bowl or container water garden has never been easier. Aquascape’s Patio Planter has all the natural beauty of real rock with the added durability and light weight of fiberglass. Create a natural paradise in your back yard with Aquascape’s Aquatic Patio Planter.

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Patio Pond Pondless Waterfall installed in Lancaster, PA

Landscape Buffer Planting

http://cepontzsons.com/landscape-buffer-planting/
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Landscape Buffer Planting installed in Lancaster, PA

This Landscape Planting Project in Lancaster, PA included installation of a Landscape Buffer Zone along the back of the property to provide beauty and privacy for the homeowners. Plant selections included Aucuba, Cherry Laurel, Euonymus, Holly, Rhododendron, and Magnolia. The Planting bed was finished off with a crisp edge and covered in brown mulch.

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Landscape Buffer Planting installed in Lancaster, PA

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Landscape Buffer Planting installed in Lancaster, PA

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Landscape Buffer Planting installed in Lancaster, PA