Why Winter Is a Good Time to Think About Pools

The temperatures have been brutal here in New Jersey, with a small storm coming through last week. With this frigid weather encouraging tons of layers and a glass of hot cocoa near the fire, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is getting into a nice, cool New Jersey swimming pool.

Even though swimming pools are far from your mind, now is actually a good time to start thinking about whether you want one built in your backyard. Here’s why:

Better chance of getting built first

If you wait until it gets really hot before you even contact a pool company, you’re likely going to be way down on the waiting list, since everyone else probably had the same idea a few months ago. The old saying “the early bird catches the worm” definitely applies to pools. By planning early, you’ll also be able to think about a variety of pool landscaping ideas that will accentuate your yard.

You’ll be able to pick the best contractor

Nothing is more important than selecting a reliable and competent company to build your pool. Since pool projects can be pricey and extensive, you don’t want to get stuck with a third-rate builder. If you start planning early, you’ll be able to get visit and speak to an array of builders to select the best one. Along the same lines, you’ll also be able to get estimates from each and determine which one is the least expensive.

Enjoy a full season of swimming

One of the most compelling reasons (which you’ll probably hear from your kids) is that you’ll be able to enjoy a full season of swimming if you plan early. That means your pool could be ready long before the end of swimming season. Nothing is more disappointing than building a pool but having to wait until next year to swim in it.

Receive more personal service

When the company is filled with clients and trying to finish up to get to the next job, the experience will be rushed and potentially unsatisfying. When you start contacting a pool company in the off season, they’ll likely be less busy and able to give you better service.

So, even though you’re bundled up in your coat, it shouldn’t prevent you from dreaming about a nice, relaxing day in the pool. If you’d like to get a head start in building your pool for summer, give us a call at 973-601-1114.

Posted: January 20th, 2013 | Permalink

Stumps Remain a Big Problem After Sandy

When Hurricane Sandy came barreling through the Northeast, the damage was immense. Many people are still cleaning up from the catastrophic flooding and wind damage. One of the lasting images of the hurricane is driving around (or trying to) and seeing all the downed trees.

Although most of the biggest fallen trees have been removed from people’s properties, there’s still one issue stumping a lot of people: the stumps.

Stumps left behind by those fallen trees are everywhere. Many companies just remove broken branches and the main portion of the tree, not the stump.

A recent article in the Star-Ledger lays out the problems with stumps and why so many of them remain. Basically, stumps aren’t usually covered by insurance and companies that do tree removal often don’t do stump removal.

Here are some options laid out by the article:

Some homeowners attempt to remove a stump themselves, armed with only hatchets, axes or chain saws. “Three or four days later, the spouse will call us and say, ‘Come before he hurts himself,’” Wighton said.

Grinding is cheaper than having a stump uprooted and removed — but may not be possible in all situations…

Stumps that are located on a steep hillside should be removed by an excavator, as should stumps that are leaning on a building or fence.

As you can see, removing a stump is not a simple task. It’s something you generally can’t do yourself and requires some heavy equipment in some instances. That means you’ll have to hire a stump remover.

Here at Grandview Landscaping, we offer various landscaping services including tree removal. There are a lot of things you need to consider when removing a stump. For example, you’ll need to consider what it will look like afterward since some stump removal companies will leave a large, gaping hole in your yard. A good landscaping company can come in and fix the landscape around your property to make it return to normal.

Posted: January 11th, 2013 | Permalink

Ice Removal Tips For Your Home

We’ve had an unbelievably frigid start to the year with temperatures dipping well below freezing in New Jersey. Aside from the arrival of the sniffles and colds, these bitter temperatures mean ice.

Ice is one of the worst things you can have on your sidewalk or driveway. You could get seriously injured if you slip and fall on the ice as you’re stepping out to get the newspaper. Or an icy driveway could cause you to skid out of control and potentially slide into your house.

To prevent any injuries or unnecessary accidents, we’ve compiled these tips on how to clear ice from your property.

Prevention is key

Ice is not always preventable, but there are a few things you can do after a snow storm to reduce the amount of ice and builds up. Be aware of where you pile your excess snow after shoveling. Piles of snow can melt and leave puddles around it, which can turn into ice overnight.

Clear ice during the day

A difficult time to clear ice is when it’s really cold in the morning. Wait until the temperatures have risen a little in the day because it makes ice easier to deal with.

Protect yourself when clearing ice

Removing ice from the ground can be physically demanding, which is why you should know your limitations and protect yourself. Wear supportive gear and warm clothing. Ask a doctor whether you’re able to clear snow and ice if you have health problems.

Chop up ice with an ice breaker

For tough ice, get an ice breaker to shatter larger pieces into more manageable bits.

Use a snow melt product

There are many chemicals and products out there that remove ice from sidewalks and driveways. You want to be very careful about what you use and where. Some products damage concrete or stone walkways. Others are extremely bad for the environment.

Spread sand for traction

While there is a wide belief that sand helps melt ice, it actually does not. The reason you would want to use sand is to create traction so passersby and your car don’t slip and slide. You should use sand sparingly and only when ice is prevalent. Sand goes into the drain after the ice melts, which is harmful to the environment in large amounts.

For more information about the snow and ice removal services we offer, contact us today.

Posted: January 3rd, 2013 | Permalink

Best NJ Holiday Light Displays in 2012

There are many things to love about Christmas—the quality family time, warm eggnog, presents, delicious food—but we at Grandivew have to admit one of our favorite things about the holidays is Christmas decorations.

Driving around New Jersey, you can really see the creativity and passion shine through the decorations. With Christmas just a few days away, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best places and houses to see Christmas lights in New Jersey.

Winter Sweet – Atlantic City

It’s no surprise that one of America’s famous “playgrounds” has one of New Jersey’s best light displays. The Winter Sweet light show is a 3D experience illuminated on the outside of the Historic Boardwalk Hall. During the 7-minute show, you can watch magical projections dance to music and truly come to life. This is a must-see for any lover of lights and merriment. Take a look at this video to see the event.

Schaefer Farms Holiday Light Show – Flemington

Every year, the Schaefer family decorates the farm magnificently and allows visitors to drive through their property to marvel at the varied displays. You can also buy trees, visit with Santa and pick out decorations. Although it’s $12 a carload, it’s a fun experience for the family. Here are some images and videos from one of the shows in the past.

Home on Sooy Lane – Absecon

Another show worthy of the list is not affiliated with anything. It’s actually just a regular home, but it definitely has some of the best lights in New Jersey. The lights themselves are beautiful, but they’re also choreographed to music. Take a look for yourself in this video.

Holiday Lights Spectacular at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo – West Orange

Finally, we have the light show at the Turtle Back Zoo in Essex County. The spectacular features 100,000 bulbs and 40 light displays. You can actually get to stroll through the zoo while looking at all the lights and animals after dark. The best part of all is that admission is free for 2012. Don’t miss it!

Posted: December 22nd, 2012 | Permalink

The History of the Outdoor Christmas Lights

It’s something we take for granted. Every year, as we drive down the street, we see houses covered with beautiful decorations and colorful Christmas lights strung up on the roof. Sure, we marvel at the beauty and creativity people express as they decorate their houses, but we forget that not long ago, this is a sight we would never see.

Edison's lab in Menlo Park where the first Christmas lights were hung.

When remembering the history of the Christmas lights, you have to travel back in time about 135 years. However, you don’t have to leave the state of New Jersey because Christmas lights were invented here.

In 1879, Thomas Edison—the father of modern electricity—created the first incandescent lightbulb that could burn longer than a few minutes. His, in fact, burned 13 hours straight. The next iterations of the bulb lasted an amazing 40 hours.

The next year, in 1880, Edison created a string of lights that he hung outside his laboratory in Menlo Park, which people could see as they passed by on the train. For most, it was the first time they’d ever seen artificial light. This was also credited as the first use of outdoor Christmas lights.

To be fair, Christmas decorations were not new. People would often decorate their Christmas trees inside the home, but since they didn’t have lightbulbs, they would use candles. As you can suspect, this resulted in countless fires. Two years after the first Christmas lights, Edison’s friend and partner, Edward Johnson was the first to put electric lights on his Christmas tree.

So the next time you see a decorated house—probably not too far from New Jersey’s Menlo Park—remember the unique history of the Christmas light.

Posted: December 16th, 2012 | Permalink