Testimonials, Awards & Essays
TVHS salutes 2008 honorees
Dr. Edward Antos, Steve Antos and Fred Bryant
The Three Village Historical Society held its annual Awards Dinner on Monday, March 17 at the Old Field club.
Dr. Edward and Steve Santos received an award for plantings at the Hillside Professional Center in Setauket.
“Steve Antos is a very talented gentleman and a good neighbor....on 25A he has greatly improved the beauty and safety of the surrounding area.”
Setauket United Methodist Church
“Dear Mr. Antos: On behalf the park Trustees, thank you for all your assistance in helping to make our park more beautiful. We consider you a Friend of the Park and hope you will visit often.”
Frank Melville Memorial Foundation
“ Dear Mr. Antos: Thank you for donating your landscaping services and giving a tidy appearance to the Bruce House... and your interest in preserving the quality of the Three Village community.”
Three Village Community Trust
“Thank you for your recent contributions to our community."
Steve Englebright, Member of Assembly
“ We write to compliment you on the very attractive landscaping and improvements that you have now put in place...including the street trees added along Rt. 25A.”
Civic Association of the Setaukets, Inc.
“A special thanks to Steve Antos of Setauket Landscape (who) spent several days last month sprucing up the grounds...at the Stony Brook Rail Road.
The Greening of 25A
THE IMPORTANCE OF GRADING, AND HOW BEAUTIFUL STONE WALLS CAN HELP ACHIEVE A PROPER GRADE ...AND POSSIBLY SAVE THE WORLD.
Grading, and particularly, the correct grading of the land in relation to your house, is crucial before any other landscaping is attempted. Plantings, hardscapes, driveways, etc. no matter how well installed; if they are set at an incorrect grade, will surely need to be redone.
The first priority of setting and establishing a grade is drainage. The land should never slope/pitch toward the building, there should be a pitch leading away from the building ,and ideally at least six inches of the structure's foundation should be exposed above the soil surface. This is to ensure that the rainfall flows away from the building and it's framing and woodwork is high and dry and away from being subjected to mold, termites, critters, debris and rot.
The second objective of grading is aesthetics. Although this is a more subjective goal, drainage again plays a fundamental role. Personally, I find that a house always looks more prominent and permanent when the land is graded properly away from the structures and the garden displays a natural flow from all aspects. Furthermore, I usually aspire to create levelled areas or terraces in a garden and address elevation/grade changes with shorter, steeper slopes or vertical retaining walls.
Terracing maximizes the usability of the land, and creates separate, interesting levels of the garden. Terracing slows the rainwater runoff of a property so that more rainwater percolates through the earth becoming clean groundwater, rather than a flooded basement or a pollution laden street runoff flowing into our watersheds and estuaries. Terracing also invites me to introduce my most beloved elemental feature of landscape design: the drystacked stone wall...And maybe even a stone stairway as well.
The stone wall is as integral to a landscape as the wheel is to automotive design - it has just got to be there. Aside from their universal beauty, charm and appeal, stone walls allow us to control slopes that present drainage, erosion and land usability issues on a plot of land. Stone walls can turn these liabilities into assets. For example: a hill sloping towards a home can be carved out in an arc shape in a way that water will flow around the home and the soil will pitch away from the foundation. The resulting stone retaining wall will be a dramatic highlight of the garden [ see photo 1] . Raised beds, sunken patios, garden walls, stairways and terraces all capitalize on the slope of a plot of land to create dimension and areas of interest, while solving the drainage and grading difficulties of a sloped garden.
Thanks to the most recent glacier which plowed the earth from the north and left a mound we now know as the North Shore of Long Island, most people here have a slope on their land with which to be creative. For these reasons, we have many stone walls throughout the hills of our North Shore.
However, this being said, the flat plains of the South Shore also can also have difficult grading and drainage issues that stone walls can turn into assets of the gardens. Many properties there have only a foot or so of soil before you hit the water table, and the placement of the home's septic system there creates unpleasant troubles that can make a family very unhappy.
These domestic woes can be rectified by setting the cesspools above the grade, adding soil and encapsulating the area with a stone wall. This can result in an attractive, interesting and very fertile raised garden bed. [see photo 2.] Such raised beds add dimension to a flat plot of land, bringing the plantings closer to eye level and within easy reach so that less bending is required for tending the beds.
Another application of a stone wall to add interest and usability to a flat plot of land is the free standing wall. This type of stone wall has two faces, one on either side. They are usually built with mortar and finished with a flagstone cap. [see photos 3+4.] Free standing stone walls can be used for privacy, decoration, seating or as foundations for planters, structures, columns and lamp posts. They are formal solid arrangements that define spaces and entryways. Free standing stonewalls can be: minor accents a few inches tall, a comfortable eighteen inch high bench, a four foot privacy screen to make a cozy patio area or a twenty five foot tall fortification stretching thousands of miles long protecting civilizations from invasion.
So, in summary, proper grading and particularly stone walls: help save our backs, fertilize our plants, protect our homes from rotting, give us privacy, make our family lives happy, turn our liabilities into assets, clean our drinking water, protect our estuaries from pollution, preserve marine life, the food chain and civilization.
Steve Antos, Owner.
Setauket Landcape Design & Construction.
Tel:- (631) 689 6082.