Five Tips For Beautiful Holiday Lighting

The holidays are supposed to be a magical time of wonder, delicious food and relaxing time with the family. However, all those loving and tender feelings can go flying out the window at the mere thought of having to hang the holiday lights on the cold, frosty roof of your two story house.

While holiday lighting might seem like a daunting and dangerous task that you never look forward to, here are some helpful tips when decorating your house for the holiday season.

Use quality lights that are highly rated for safety

Every year, tragedy strikes when hundreds of homes catch fire from faulty wiring on holiday lights. You can avoid being another statistic and casting a dark shadow over a special time of the year by using high quality lights that are respected for safety. They may cost more initially, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Wear rubber-soled shoes and use ladders correctly

It may be a trope to have a disgruntled dad fall off the roof or ladder while putting up holiday lighting, but a fall from even a one-story house could be fatal or extremely damaging. To prevent falling, wear shoes with rubber soles to minimize your likelihood of falling. Also, when climbing the ladder, follow the directions. Some ladders recommend not standing on the highest wrung. If you have such a ladder, don’t risk it.

Simple is sometimes better

Even though you might see and want a holiday lighting display that exceeds those that appear in the movies, envisioning and executing a simple design will help keep your house looking presentable and warm. Holiday lighting experts will be able to create complex designs, but if you’re installing the lighting yourself, consider a simple design to accentuate your house. There is a much higher risk of making your house look tacky when trying to be too ambitious, especially if you have a large house.

Make a plan before installing

This seems pretty obvious, but many people do not have a plan of what they want to do before they’re sitting on the roof trying to figure out where to put things. Before starting the process, create a simple design and layout while looking at your home from a distance. If possible, try drawing a rough sketch of your house to figure out what lighting works best. Again, if you use a simpler design, this and the entire process will go much smoother.

Hire a professional

Even though it feels good telling people you just put up the holiday lights, doing it yourself is not always the most pleasant thing. That’s why you should look to hire a professional company to install your holiday lighting. Not only will the designs be more extensive and complex, but you’ll also ensure your house is completely safe and optimized for energy purposes.

If you’re considering hiring a paid holiday lighting service, Grandview Landscape & Masonry is one of the most festive companies in New Jersey. Take a look at our holiday lighting page or contact us today.

Posted: April 1st, 2014 | Permalink

Reasons to Build a Retaining Wall

Whether you’re looking to add extra texture to your yard or need something functional to prevent dirt from crumbling down into your property, retaining walls offer a range of benefits. Here are some things to know when considering a retaining wall for your property.

What is a retaining wall?

In the most simple terms, a retaining wall is a structure typically made out of stone designed to keep soil and rocks in place. There are various types of retaining walls, including gravity walls, anchored walls, cantilever walls and more.

Where retaining walls are necessary

Retaining walls are typically constructed around areas that slope down toward your home. The reason you’d want to build a retaining wall on your property would be to prevent soil and debris from constantly spilling down onto your landscape. This can be especially problematic during rainstorms because the runoff can weaken the soil and cause it to slide down the slope. A retaining wall acts as a buffer.

The beauty of retaining walls

Even though some walls are necessary to retain the soil, there are also instances where retaining walls can add a layer of aesthetics to your property. Retaining walls allow experienced builders to create multiple tiers to add dimension and personality to your yard. In the following picture of one of our projects, you can see that the retaining wall can get rid of deep slopes on your property that would look awkward.

IMG_0449 copyHere’s another example of the style of wall you could get for your property.

Which retaining wall should you get?

The answer to which one you should get depends on your situation. For example, a simple gravity wall that uses the weight of stones or concrete to hold the soil could work in a place that doesn’t have a great amount of force against it. However, if you’re in a tight space and have soft soil, sheet piling may be your best type of retaining wall.

To determine which type of retaining wall would suit your property best, contact us to find out more.


Posted: June 29th, 2013 | Permalink

5 Simple Additions for a Complete Patio

There’s more to a patio than bricks and pavers. A patio can transform your entire backyard from a grassy area for your dog into an inclusive and enjoyable place you won’t want to leave.

If you’re planning on installing a patio , we have some suggestions about how simple additions can add value and personality to your patio.

1. Get some nice furniture


After your patio is built and ready to go, one of the first things you should do to give it some life is get patio furniture. It’s impossible to enjoy a patio without someplace to sit and relax. A nice patio table with a few chairs will give you a place to eat or browse the web.

2. Put up an awning

During the day, a patio’s worst enemy is the sun. Patios aren’t usually defended by any shade or cover, so they can become brutally hot and unpleasant to be on. The simple solution is an awning. There are many types of awnings, including simple umbrellas and retractable awnings. These are the best because you can put it up during the day prevent sunburn and take it down at night to see the stars.

3. Install a firepit


On cool autumn nights, don’t let the chill in the air drive you indoors. Your patio will get much more use if you install a firepit. It will not only keep you warm and out on your patio but it could also serve as a place for visitors to gather around and talk. You have several options with firepits. You can actually buy a simple one to put on your patio or you could go the bigger route and get one installed.

4. Set up outdoor lighting

When you’re having nice parties on your patio, they don’t have to end when the sun goes down. Strategically placed outdoor lighting around your patio can give it a lot of life, even when the moon is in the sky. Certain outdoor lighting can create a quiet, low-key ambiance or provide enough illumination to keep a party going.

5. Get a barbecue


So you have furniture, lighting, an awning and a firepit. There’s still one major thing missing: food. Putting a barbecue, or better yet an outdoor kitchen, next to your patio will instantly turn it into the life of your home. Not only can you make delicious meals for your guests but it also gives you another cooking space to experiment with new foods for yourself.

Posted: June 23rd, 2013 | Permalink

Summer Landscaping Tips

Summer is only a few days away. School is nearly out for everyone, the pools are getting more traffic and the Shore is on everyone’s mind. While it’s the beginning of fun times for everyone, summer can be a harsh time of year for your lawn and landscape.

Spring is the time when your lawn starts to really thrive, but the summer heat takes a toll on your lawn if you don’t take care of it properly. So in preparation for the impending summer season, we’ve compiled a list of helpful landscaping tips to get you through the New Jersey summer.

Water your lawn

When the sun is beating down on your lawn all day, it will become dry and brown. That’s why it’s important to keep your lawn hydrated with consistent watering. This doesn’t mean you should go out and water your lawn for several hours three times a day, though. You need to water wisely.

The first thing to know is that you should water your lawn in the morning. The reason for this, as we explained in a previous post, is to allow the water to seep into the roots of the grass instead evaporating in the afternoon. Next, it’s key to keep the roots hydrated, but you don’t want to overwater and flood the grass, so it’s a very delicate balance.

Mow the lawn

raised-patio-with-natural-stone-south-orangeKeeping the lawn mowed will help it stay healthy, but you have to be really careful when mowing the lawn. Although it may be tempting to mow the lawn as short as you can so you don’t have to mow it frequently, that can be really damaging, especially in the summer.

The taller blades of grass offer protection from the harsh sun and keep the roots from being exposed. Mowing too close to the ground also makes your lawn susceptible to disease.

Beware of weeds

Summer is prime weed season and the presence of weeds can take valuable nutrients away from your grass or plants. Whenever you water your landscape, always make sure to take a general census of your yard to see whether any unwanted weeds are growing. If they are, remove them promptly.


Finally, since your landscape takes quite a beating during summer from foot traffic, the heat and more, it’s important to fertilize your lawn. This provides your grass and plants with much-needed nutrients during a time when the elements are harshest. This will also ensure your grass stays healthy and green.

Posted: June 15th, 2013 | Permalink

Swimming Pool Energy-Saving Tips

The trend toward being green is a good one. Not only does it have positive benefits for the environment, but it can also save you money on electricity and gas. However, being green doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the joys of life like having your own swimming pool.

While swimming pools can take a lot of energy to run and maintain, a few simple energy-saving tips can reduce your environmental imprint.

Put on a pool cover

If you have a pool sitting in the hot summer sun all day, you’ll undoubtedly notice the water level steadily decreasing. That’s because evaporation is taking its toll on the pool water. The solution to this is a pool cover. By covering the pool, you can prevent yourself from having to constantly fill up the pool to appropriate levels. It also has the added benefit of reducing the amount of chemicals you need to put in the pool and lessens the growth of algae. It can also withhold heat better, so you don’t have to put the pool heater on.

Adjust the pump as needed

Most people run their pool pumps constantly, but it’s not necessary. How often you need to run your pump depends on the weather conditions of the day and the frequency of algae growth. You can do experiments to determine when and for how long the pool pump should run.

Install energy-efficient lighting

Fewer things are more relaxing and comforting than swimming in the evening. But it takes lighting to be able to swim without being submersed in the dark. Replacing light bulbs and installing energy-efficient lighting in the pool or along the outside will reduce your electricity bill when having those evening parties.

Lower pool water

Even though you must keep the water level at least an inch above the bottom of the tile, maintaining a low water level prevents pool water from coming out during use. You can also reduce water coming out by discouraging your pool guests from splashing too much.

Keep your pool filters clean

Making sure your pool filters are always clean will reduce the amount of backwashing you must do. The average backwash can use up to 1,000 gallons of water, so you should only backwash when absolutely necessary.

If you want some more information on how much it costs to maintain a pool and whether you can afford your own inground pool, give us a call or email us.

Posted: June 4th, 2013 | Permalink