A Brief History On Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks began as sunbaked clay bricks in ancient societies. The modern concrete block was invented in the mid-1800s and revolutionized building the world over.

Beautiful and masterful examples of masonry can be found in most ancient cultures as well as in the modern world. The Pyramids have lasted millennia, as has the Coliseum in Rome. The Great Wall of China still draws thousands of tourists yearly and can even be seen from space. The evolution of bricks and concrete blocks is the backbone of historical and modern architecture alike. The feats of masonry have survived fires, earthquakes and time and most feature artistic detail even current technologies have trouble mimicking. Despite not having lasers or heavy machinery, ancient masons created complex and durable buildings that influenced architecture for centuries.

The predecessor to the modern concrete block is the sunbaked clay brick, which is coincidentally man’s oldest manufactured product. This old type of brick has been used for 6,000 years. To help maintain the integrity of the rectangular shape, masons added grass or straw to the clay mix. In 4,000 BCE, manufacturers streamed lined the brick’s shape and started firing them in kilns. This vastly improved the durability of the product as is evidenced by the various ruins of ancient civilizations. While concrete has replaced the sunbaked clay, some regions still use the method to build durable low-cost housing.

Concrete as the modern world knows it was first made in wooden frames in the early 1800s. Initially the material was dried and laid like brick with mortar. The first house to be made entirely of concrete blocks was built in New York during 1837. The inventor credited with the modern formula of concrete is an Englishman named Joseph Aspidin. He called it Portland cement after a type of stone native to the Isle of Portland. Joseph Monier invented reinforced concrete, which uses embedded metal, in 1849 and received a patent in 1867. Following these events, concrete began to replace other building materials for personal and commercial properties.

The cost of Portland cement fell as newly invented machines filled factories and shortened the manufacturing process. Builders responded to the pressure of building fire and weatherproof housing for investors and homeowners. Concrete blocks accomplished that goal and became the material of choice for many builders. Concrete structures are still very common especially for commercial and government buildings. These days even cheaper materials like dry wall are used for housing developments, but the foundations are still predominately concrete blocks and brick. Some theorists are now speculating whether the ancient Egyptians invented concrete, but while this is interesting, sufficient evidence has not been produced.

To learn more about concrete blocks in San Jose, please visit this website.


Net Zero Water & Landscape Architecture

I just hosted an event where twenty-five people watched a video of a flushing toilet and gave it a standing ovation. Granted, I live near Hollywood in Los Angeles, but this was not a showing…read more

Three Tips For Choosing The Best Soil For Your Outdoor Plants

When planning an outdoor garden, it is important to find the right soil for your plants. A soil’s moisture retention, nutrient richness, and weight can all determine its suitability for different plants.

Planning out a new garden is an exciting yet daunting prospect, particularly if you are unsure which type of soil you should use for your various plants. Thankfully, there are a few simple considerations that can set you on your way to picking the ideal kind of soil for your plants. Three of the most important considerations when selecting soils are the moisture retention capacity, nutrient richness and weight.

Research the needs of the plants you plan to include in your garden in order to determine the level of moisture retention you will need in your soil. Depending on the composition of the soil, moisture will drain through it at various rates. Some plants, particularly those native to more arid and dry climates, do best in sandy soils, as these drain relatively quickly. On the other hand, some plants require a great deal of water to thrive, and thus will grow better when provided with soil that retains water more effectively.

Secondly, remember the different degrees of nutrient richness available in soils. Because each kind of soil is composed of a different mixture of clay, loam, silt and sand, each will be able to offer different nutrients. Soils that have been supplemented with specific fertilizers can be particularly rich in nutrients, but be sure to check on the needs of your plants. There is such thing as superfluous or even detrimental nutrients, so it is worthwhile to find a soil that will effectively nourish your plants by meeting their particular nutrient needs.

Finally, soil weight is an important indicator of its usefulness for different plants. For example, plants that are placed in heavily shaded areas of the garden often do better with lighter, airy soil than heavier soils. This is largely due to the fact that light soils tend to drain fairly quickly, which is generally better for plants that are not getting dried out by sunlight. Rather than having their roots overly exposed to moisture in soil that is rarely dried by the sun, these plants can get the water they need without being over-watered.

Choosing the ideal soil for the various parts of your plot is an important step towards creating your garden. Be sure to remember the three variable features of soils that can help determine which is right for each plant: moisture retention, nutrient richness and weight. Once you have determined the best soil for your outdoor plants, you can begin planting and enjoying them.

If you are interested in more information about top soil in Morgan Hill, please visit this website.

The Benefits Of Mulching For Growing Vibrant Roses


Producing healthy and vibrant roses requires continuous maintenance, such as watering, pruning and fertilizing. A lot of gardeners, however, assume that the flowers do just fine in their native soil and therefore neglect to provide mulch for the soil. Mulching holds numerous benefits and is an essential element for ensuring that your roses receive the optimum environment for a healthy growth.

Mulching is essential for soil amendment because the soil that you planted your roses in may not be as rich in nutrients as you might think. Soil can become depleted in vital nutrients over time. It can also become too sandy and have difficulty retaining water. Mulch can assist the soil in retaining its rich nutrients and organic matter as well as help it conserve water. Likewise, the mulch can also assist with water drainage if the soil contains too much clay deposits, which can cause it to hold onto too much water.

Mulching is also beneficial as a form of weed control. Unwanted plants or flowers that grow in your rose bed can really hamper the appearance and also absorb vital nutrients that would have otherwise gone to the roses. Also, mulched soil never becomes too firm and compacted, which means that the few weeds that do sprout can easily be plucked by hand.

Seasoned gardeners also use mulch as a natural form of disease and insect control. Mulch can actually offset several fungal diseases by forming a barrier and preventing fungal spores from spreading and making their way onto flower surfaces. In addition, mulching has also been shown to prevent the growth and spreading of harmful nematodes. These are worm-like pests that grow underneath the soil and feed off the roots of plants and flowers.

So what types of mulch is best for roses? Various types of mulch will suffice. Most lawn and garden supply shops sell mulch fortified with nitrogen and other nutrients that are beneficial for the soil. You can also make your own using items you likely already have in your home or yard, such as shredded newspaper, sawdust, grass clippings, chopped leaves, and flattened cardboard. While the recommendations differ, a good general rule to follow is to replace the mulch twice a year, preferably in the spring and summer. Also be sure that every new layer of mulch is at least two inches thick.

Applying mulch entails extra maintenance, though it is well worth the effort if you want to give your roses the best chance for a healthy growth. Please visit this website for additional tips on mulching in San Jose.

Why Choose Pavers Over Tile?

A comparison of tiles and pavers suggests that the latter make a better choice for outdoor settings given their cost, durability, and design versatility.

Hardscaping your yard requires that you consider budget, geographic location, and space while not ignoring taste when deciding on materials. The many factors involved can make this decision difficult. It pays to carefully examine options to ensure that the final product delivers exactly what you want. Continue reading