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Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 30, 2014

Let The Games Begin – How to Build Backyard Sports Courts

We all enjoy spending time in our yards with family and friends especially on beautiful Vermont summer days.  So in preparation for the 4th of July and a long weekend, here are a few tips on building the best backyard sports courts. Have Fun!

Bocce: 

  1. Start by constructing a wooden frame of approximately 10’ x 60’.
  2. Excavate to a depth of 8”.
  3. Line the area with landscape fabric.
  4. 6” of compacted gravel should be used as a base.
  5. 2” of Rock fines should be leveled and used as a finished court surface.

Building Plans For Bocce Courts

Horseshoes:

  1. Start by measuring the area. The pits should be made exactly 40’ apart for regulation length.
  2. The construction of two 36”x 48” wooden boxes should be placed at either end of the area.
  3. The soil within the boxes should be excavated several inches.
  4. Lay landscape fabric in bottom of box.
  5. Drive stake into ground at least 21” from front of the box. Make sure that the stake is sticking up 15” from grade and pitching forward at a slight 3” angle.
  6. Fill box with sand.

Building Plans for Horseshoe Pits

Chess:

  1. Start by measuring out a 16’ x 16’ square.
  2. Next create a grid to create 8 rows across the top and down the side. This will give you 64 2’x2’ squares.
  3. Remove the sod from every other square and lay a 2’x2’ bluestone stepper in it’s place.
  4. Large Chess Pieces can be purchased from many retailers online.

Building Plans for Outdoor Chess Boards

Here are a few other classic courts you might be interested in as well.

June 12, 2014

Peonies!

flowers 005Paeonia, Latin for Garden Peonies are among the most fragrant, beautiful and quintessential Vermont perennials.  They are extremely long lived plants, which will thrive with little maintenance if planted correctly.  They require full sun & well drained soils. Peonies grow best in cooler climates as they will only bloom well after the Winter chill.  When planting potted plants in your garden, be sure to plant them at the same soil level that they were at in the container. Once established they do not like to be transplanted, so be sure to choose wisely when planting them in your garden. At maturity they can be almost 3 feet in diameter!

For some great information on Planting, Caring for or Dividing Peonies check out these articles:

photo 1 (2)Peonies also make great cut flowers. They make the whole house smell wonderful and provide a beautiful centerpiece for any arrangement.  The key to getting the longest blooms inside is to cut the flowers in the morning while they are still in the bud stage. This way they will open in the house and won’t fall apart quite as quickly.  If you have an event coming up or you just want make your cut peonies last longer into the season, try this …

  • Cut the peony bloom while still in bud form
  • Wrap the bloom in a damp paper towel and plastic wrap
  • Put them in the fridge.

They will most likely take a few days to open and the longer you have stored them the shorter their blooms will last. You can apparently preserve peonies for up to 4 weeks! To learn more about this process take a look at these articles: