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Local Articles in Piedmont

Lakefront landscaping

Landscaping can be a challenge in ordinary circumstances, but lakefront landscaping poses additional challenges from sloping and floodplain issues. What ideas will help you create your perfect lakefront escape?

small outdoor courtyard

Short on space in your yard? One designer explains how to make the most of limited lawn space with creative ways to make the most out of your outdoor area.

Pavers make a beautiful patio, but don’t install them over concrete. (Photo courtesy of Go Pavers)

Installing pavers over concrete defeats some of the main benefits that you get with pavers.

lawn irrigation system outside house (Photo by Photo courtesy of member Emily K. )

Freezing temperatures are a major threat to your irrigation systems. Learn how to avoid costly repairs in the spring.

Try using native plants and creating natural habitats to make your lawn green without needing much water. (Photo courtesy of the National Arboretum)
Landscaping, Greenhouses/Nurseries, Lawn Irrigation

It’s a simple concept: You want a beautiful lawn, but you also want to conserve water.

Angie's Answers

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.


One of the more difficult issues facing you will be making sure you compare apples 'n apples while understanding the differences between apples 'n oranges.

Some things common to all:

How far from your (water) meter pit to the home?

Do you know what sort of water pressure you have?

Those two questions sortta drive the rest.  How many sprinklers you have is a piece of the puzzle but it is lower on the issues list than how much water pressure and gallons per minute of flow (gpm) you have.  Knowing the water pressure and gpm coming to the house is important because it is the info divided by the flow rate of the heads to tell you how many you can run at a time.

 That, plus the number of heads it takes to cover your yard will let them decide on how many zones to cut the yard into (each zone is X number of heads that run at the same time).

Will the different estimates be for systems that are all parts from a single manufaturer or will it be a collection of brands?  Some will tell you that the parts (controller, back-flow, heads and even specific heads) are better from different manufacturers while others will tell you that all from a single manufacturer will give you an optimized system.

And, are the contractors equally certified?  Not only education and experience but certifications from the various manufacturers who's parts they want to use.  And, will their installations be the same?  Will they open trenches all around your yard and be a week getting the stuff layed, connected and back-filled?  Or, will they pull the flexible pipe and be in 'n out in one day with water flowing to cover their intrussion before they leave that day?

Will your system need to be blown out with pressurized air at the end of the season to avoid winter freeze and bursts or will it drain automagically?

I know, I took your simple question and made it hard.

When I bought my system about 9 years ago, I had a variety of estimates and the differences sortta fell into the mess I listed above.  The low estimate was a person who seemed to be from the "get it in the ground and fix it later" school.

The highest estimate was from someone who seemed more concerned about my yard and the final result than I was.  The low person was using parts 'n pieces from a variety of manufacturers.  The high person was certified by the company that made all the parts he was wanting to use and he carried a fairly high rating from them for his past performance..  He would vary for me if I wanted but he had sound reasons from the controller to each of the heads as to why he preferred his "brand".

It doesn't look like you are a member of Angie's List.  Given the size of the investment you are looking at, this might be a great time to join and see how others in your community have rated the contractors you are considering or if there is one you should add to your list. 

My yard is between 12 and 15,000 square feet less the house, deck, two mini-barns and it is interrupted with a number of blocking (blocks the stream of water) evergreens and planting beds.

The low estimate I had was about $2,500 and would take three days to put in from the time they began to trench.  I don't recall how many heads he wanted to put in but if it was off, he'd be able to put another anyplace and tie it to the nearest zone to give me good coverage.  Uh, this was the get it in the ground 'n adjust later person.

The high estimate I had was around $4,500.  This proposal was for seven active zones each having 5 to 7 heads.  There was enough capacity (extra zone controllers and space within the system controller) built in to add drip irrigation at a later date for the planting beds without having to replace anything.  He drew the entire yard and gave me a copy with the heads marked showing the "throw" of each and the overlap he built in to avoid any missed areas.  And, they wanted to arrive in the morning and leave that evening with the system watering to cover their tracks throughout the yard.  One day and they would not leave until it was working as advertised!

I took the high estimate.  I have a neighbor who bought from the other folks.  Both of us are happy.  He is really happy because each time he calls his company for adjustments or corrections (yep, they got it in the ground and are still putzing with it) they are out within the week, they are really easy to do business with and their service calls' costs haven't gone up a whole bunch.

Sorry, you can't look at the price and divide by X number of heads and have a fair comparison.


1) IF you are talking the root crown - the portion where it is not one solid truck or "bole", but still a solid or near-solid mass of roots coming off the base of the trunk, then that has to come out on way or another. Typically, once you get beyond about a 3 foot circle then you are in the radial portion of the roots where they spread out laterally, and are a foot or more apart, and new roots can grow in that area fro the new tree OK. Of course, be prepared to have to trim some volunteers so the old tree can't come back, and be sure to fertilize the new tree per recommendations because the old roots will still be trying to extract water and food from the soil to support the tree that they do not yet realize is gone. Do NOT put stump killer or poison in the old tree - will kill new one too.

2) The proper commercial way to do this is to have the entire root crown and larger roots removed with a stump grinder - looks like this -


You need a tree service that can grind down at least two feet below ground level and remove the root crown and larger root segments. If you hve large roots running laterally quite a ways, he can grind them up too - ditto to "trippers" sticking up above ground. Just be sure to have it clear (spray painted) upfront how far he is going for what he quoted - typically about $150 for tree up to 1-2 feet in diameter, up to $500 for a massive sycamore or walnut or cottonwood or redwood with 6 foot diameter crown. While you can rent stump grinders at tooll rental places, I REALLY do not recommend it - the rental ones you can afford to rent for one use are pretty light duty, and they can chew a person up in no time flat if you lose control when it snags in the wood or hits a rock.

3) Another way is to go out to where the massive roots taper off to something you can reasonable cut - say 4-6 inches in diameter, and cut them all in a circle around the stump, then with a come-along or CAREFULLY (not more than a few hundred pounds) with a vehicle with a trailer hitch, put a steady pull on a good rope or strap or chain in a shallow notch cut around the top of the stump (so it does not pop off easy), then while it is being rotated up out of the ground walk around and cut any root you see still attached or trying to lift out of the ground. This works much better if the stump is left about 4-6 feet high so you get some real leverage on it with the pull, but if already cut down short run chain or strap over the top of it and around a large root on the far side of the stump. I use a Sawzall with foot long coarse tooth wood cutting blade for this - goes through roots really fast, and blade is only $1 or so apiece so ruining one or two hitting rocks is no big thing, and also reaches in under the stump better and safer than an axe. I helped a neighbor take out a back yard full of birches this way - took us about half a day to remove about 15 trees with about 6 foot diameter circle of crown and roots, leaving holes about 1-2 feet deep where each tree was. Remember this - whichever way you use to take it out, you will need maybe 1-5 wheelbarrow loads of good growth medium to replace the divot. 

4) Cheaper route - cut off flush with ground level (or leave some stickup as a planter or stool or feeder base or whatever), and plant new tree at least 4 feet away from old crown, in a spot between the old roots.

'Reasonable' is one of those words that means wildly divergent things to different people.  Check with your local high school to see if they have  any sort of agricultural program.  If yes, perhaps someone in that program could help you.  Being a landscaper myself, I must say it sounds like you want something that is - first and foremost - cheap.   This is NOT the best way to look for any service.  You would be better served looking for 'competant' than with 'cheap'.  The nicer you want your flowerbed to look, the more important it is to find someone who REALLY knows what they are doing.

Natural stones will have some degree of variance given the lack of pre-made consistency.


1/2" is too much from stone to stone and should be able to be fixed with additional leveling sand. 




Lakefront Landscapers in Piedmont, CA

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

Accelerated Building Contractors

P.O. Box 15453
San Luis Obispo




San Francisco

Babylon Gardens Landscaping

140 McHenry Ave

Bay Area Drainage Inc

86 Buckingham Dr

BB&B Builders Inc.

44 Indian Rock ct.
San Anselmo


220 Mar Vista


1160 Brickyard Cove Rd. Suite 200

Bountiful Botanicals, Inc.

433 37th St

Brickhouse Construction, Inc.

2964 Hillsdale Dr.
Pleasant Hill

Bright Eagles Construction

10381 Singleton Rd
San Jose

Buhler Construction Company

3614 16th St. #1
San Francisco

Caffrey Landscapes

108 Belle Ave
San Rafael

Castillo Concrete Co

PO Box 1714
Suisun City

Christopher Carlson Construction

730 w verano ave

CK Water Systems & Landscape Development

356 Spruce St
San Francisco


PO BOX 1394


PO BOX 62061

DBP Construction

1493 Highland Blvd

DeBernardi development, Inc

5776 Sonoma Dr. suite D

DO Concrete


Duvall Family Landscape

2943 Edison Drive
San Jose




San Francisco

Elemental Landscape and Design

2837 Gazelle Dr

Exterior Images-Landscape Architect

72877 Dinah Shore Drive Suite 103191
Rancho Mirage

Gazal Landscaping

903 E El Camino Real Ste#6-200
Mountain View

Genesis Stoneworks

43128 Christy St

GLI Norcal Landscape Construction

125 Rich Street

Gold Standard Concrete

1271 Washington Ave
San Leandro

Guideline Builders

333 Hegenberger Road #315

Hallmark Fine Gardens

968 Brewster Ave
Redwood City


Castro Valley

Home Healing Renovations Inc

702 Harrison St

iBuild Construction

2765 Hunter st.
Palo Alto


293 Bernal Rd
San Jose


793 Broadway

Jake's Tree & Landscape Services

1107 2nd. Ave.
Redwood City

Juan's Landscape

1890 Mayette Ave

Kerri Landscape Services

1826 Buena Vista Ave

KRB Construction

707 Continental Circle





Le's Landscaping Services

PO Box 3776
San Rafael


8494 Lone Tree Way



M&M Construction & Home Design

1647 Willow Pass Rd

maintainance services

1271 eucalyptus drive

Makoni Construction

PlO. Box 2445
Menlo Park

Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care

1937 Delaware St.

MB Landscaping

1177 Branham Ln. #409
San Jose

Mediterrasian Landscapes

827 Joost Ave
San Francisco

Mike Davis Landscape Services

305 Vineyard town Ctr #362
Morgan Hill

Mr Green Turf.

1598 malesta rd


633 Coventry Rd


15015 Los Gatos Blvd
Los Gatos

No Nonsense Horticultural Svcs/NNHS Enterprises

2491 San Ramon Vly Blvd #1
San Ramon

One Stop Plastering Inc.

309 Paloma
San Rafael

One Way Landscape

1424 Sierra Road

Pacific Contracting

5430 Colusa Avenue

Planted Earth Design Build Co.

747 The Alameda

Professional Landscaping

3209 Mustang Circle

Redwood City Gardening

169 Duane St.
Redwood City


PO Box 505




San Jose


349 POPLAR AVE. #5
Redwood City


PO BOX 182

Smart Remodeling & Design

1501 19th Ave
San Francisco

Smart Remodeling and Design Inc

1501 19th Ave
San Francisco


PO BOX 2674
El Cerrito

T Enterprises

620 Johnson St

Tadeos Landscaping

526 Maple St
Redwood City

Top Design Inc

16134 Hart St
Van Nuys

Treeium, Inc

5352 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
Valley Village

Triple R Gardening Maintenance

PO Box 53
New Almaden



Urizar Landscaping

all bay area locations
San Jose

V&H Landscaping

55 Pacifica Ave #148
Bay Point

Vee Horticulture

1563 Solano Ave

Walnut Creek Landscaping

3607 Village Rd


San Jose

YourTurf, Inc.

31103 Rancho Viejo Rd
San Juan Capistrano

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