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Retaining walls stairs, popular outdoor projects

Changing the landscape

May 19, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - In a hilly area like Marquette, stairs are a popular landscaping feature.

According to local landscape contractors, many customers ask for stairs to provide an easy way to traverse the change in elevation in their yard.

"You're always trying to find the shortest way from one point to another. There's always a hill to climb, whether it be for someone who's getting older, or they've got kids or they just want to use the flat space on the bottom," said Brandon Croney of Compound Landscaping in Marquette.

Article Photos

The Compound Landscaping employees Paul Soumi, left, and Dave Silverstein work on the back patio of a landscaping project in the Granite Point subdivision in south Marquette. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)

The company is one of many in the area that can build and design stairs, walkways, patios, retaining walls, flower beds and other features.

Croney said his business focuses on "hardscaping," such as installing pavers, retaining walls and boulders as opposed to lawn care.

"People want to be wowed, people want you to put a design together for them," he said of his business.

Mike Dianich, owner of Victory Garden Landscaping, said the end result of a landscaping project varies with every customer.

"Every garden is different. Some people might just want their lawn seeded or some people just might want a tree planted. Some people might want a perennial garden. It all varies," he said.

He said his company specializes in flagstone work, perennial gardens, seeding and sodding lawns and tree and shrub planting.

For those people who would rather do the work themselves, there are a couple ways to save money.

Missy Bengry, a sales representative for Fraco Inc. said people can come into the store with sketches of what they want and she can figure out what sorts of landscaping material they need to do it themselves. If the customers doesn't want to tackle the project themselves, she said she can recommend a contractor.

She said most small projects, like a small retaining wall or a patio, can be done with a shovel and a compactor.

"We actually have installation manuals on how to put in retaining walls, or paver patios or walkways," she said.

In addition, the store offers concrete products which replicate stone.

"You don't have to actually pay the price of natural stone but you can get the look of real stone with a man-made concrete product," she said.

Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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