-EAB IS HERE (saving your ash tree)

FACT… 20-30% of the trees in the midwest region are common ash (fraxinus americana).  There are studies now that say the threat of new insects (like EAB) will cause more change to the ecosystem than global climate change of temperature.  Just imagine…  on the low end if we lost 10% of our forest trees over the next 5 years what will happen.

Emerald Ash Borer has arrived in Bloomington!  If you have Ash trees and want to save them give us a call. We use the Arbor Jet Viper system with Tree Age insecticide as it has proven to be very effective against this destructive pest.

Here’s a great link from the Purdue Extension for more information or you can email Joe (DHS Arborist) directly at



-Bob’s Blog: Go NATIVE; don’t lose out! (drought-tolerant perennials)

Gardens that look good in fall work well all year long, gardeners in-the-know often say.

Many native plants tend to be deep-rooted, strutting their stuff, their blooms, in late summer and fall. These include asters, coneflowers, sunflowers, sneezeweed, bergamot, milkweeds, blazing stars, goldenrods, culver’s root, turtleheads, Joe Pye weed, cup plant, compass plant, wild senna and grasses such as big and little bluestem.

Other deep-rooted perennials offering earlycolor and interest include false indigo, sweet flags, irises, penstemons, celandine poppies and meadowsweet.

Using native plants in rain gardens, bioswales, prairie and wildflower gardens maximizes sustainability because they are tough, hardy and reliable. The gardener using native plants lowers the risk of losing plant stock during drought. Because many of these plants are so adaptable, they often weather rainy springs and winters common in our part of the country.

Other drought-tolerant plants include dry denizens such as Russian sage and other sages, lamb’s ears, sedum, hens-and-chicks, daylilies, and the long line of clumping, spreading plants that work well in herb gardens: lavender, rosemary, yarrow, artemesia, hyssop, oregano, thyme, catmint and calamint. Fragrant plants also have an advantage; they’re not popular with deer, which can’t stand their smelly aroma.

Gardening doesn’t have to mean buying expensive, high-maintenance, exotic plants that last only aseason or two. Don’t lose out; choose proven, adaptable performers that spread and stand up to adverse conditions.

-In The Spirit of Stone: Natural Stone Steps

We are fortunate for the exposure to nature surrounding our region.  Brown County State Park, Yellowwood State Forest, Hoosier National Forest… (and more) provide an abundance of land to traverse over a diverse topography.  Gathering these elements in a landscape requires a familiarity that best comes from the exposure.  A love for the area, and nature in general, is the most common thread between DHS team members and that provides our clients the integration from nature woven into the residence.

We specialize in all things quality and have artisans that can surpass expectations no matter what preference (formal or naturalistic).  This is the first insert in the “In the Spirit of Stone” series that specifically profiles a natural element in the landscape.

Natural Stone Steps help homeowners with various “slopes” traverse the topography of their residence safely without interrupting the landscape.  Coming in all shapes and sizes stonework is like working on a puzzle without a finished picture and the true talent of a stoneworker/mason involves a trained eye to see “what could be”.  This combined with the experience and knowledge of proper installation techniques are what separates the boys from the men.  A finished product should last a lifetime… If you can dream it DHS can design and build it. History tells the tale in the PORTFOLIO page.  Or check more photos and make your own ideabook in HOUZZ.

-Landscape Installation: Bloomington, Indiana (Hyde Park)

Beautiful landscape that is constantly growing.  A forest retreat in the backyard of residential neighborhood.


-GET OUT! Outdoor Rooms

Swiss Family RobinsonWe all wish this was us… Living out our own real-life version of Swiss Family Robinson. Our “work-first” programming as a responsible adult tells us our inherent desire to live outdoors is childish.  Childish [adj.}=Suitable for a child.  This definition however gives no restrictions or state that it can not also be “Suitable for an ADULT”.  Creating living spaces outside or outdoor living rooms (HOUZZ LINK) are a growing trend. “Staycations” are great for families and growing in popularity across the world.  Building outdoor living rooms can include a variety of elements and be as simple or complex as you like but once you get much further past a grill and lawn chairs consulting a professional will reward your efforts.  Even for DIYers a design and construction details can help sustain your investment.  Remember the greatest efforts are in the preparation…  Walking surfaces require proper base to provide pleasing aesthetics and safety for all walks of life (infant-elder).  Any natural elements such as firepits or water features need to be installed properly with grading and drainage in mind.  Remember you don’t want exploding stone in your firepit or water from your bubbling rock running into your basement or crawlspace.

Take the time to do it right the first time. Whether you’re “Father”, Elizabeth, or Franz we all have dreams to be The Swiss Family (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE).

-Installing Sandstone Steps

The right equipment and meticulous base preparation make this job not only aestically pleasing but sustainable.  Lesson 1 on hardscaping… NEVER CUT CORNERS IN YOUR BASE PREP! This gallery give descriptions of the installation and shows a start to finish installation of Shoals Co. Sandstone Steps.