Thinking Outside the Sandbox

Thinking Outside the Sandbox

We can all agree that creating a backyard oasis is tough but well worth it.  One way to transform your yard into a summer haven is by adding an above ground pool. A pool is a perfect way to entertain and to keep cool.  If you prepare beforehand, installing a pool can be done quickly.

How long does it take to install an above ground pool?  Most above ground pools can be installed in one day.  You can also hire a professional installer.  To install a pool you need a level surface that will support the pool shell.  The ground must be covered by sand to protect the liner.  Mason sand should be used for this.  Mason sand is tan, fairly fine textured sand and is also known as play sand.   It does not have any pebbles or stones which means it is ideal for protecting pool liners.

So keep cool and enjoy some fun water activities during these hot summer days!

Mason sand has many uses:
•    Under pool liners
•    In sandboxes or play areas
•    Under paving stones or bricks
•    In mixing concrete or mortar
•    Golf course sand traps

Mulch Fire Safety

Mulch Fire Safety

Summer is here.  The mulch is in, the garden is growing, the flowers are blooming.  Take time and enjoy all the hard work you put into your yard.  But don’t forget to keep things watered.  This includes your mulch.

Most mulch, including those from Three-Z are made from wood or tree bark.  This means they are flammable.  As the weather turns hot and dry, mulch dries out as well.  Small, dry pieces of wood are perfect kindling.  Many fires are started every year because a spark finds its way into dry mulch.  The results can be devastating.  Below are some tips to help prevent mulch fires.

  • Keep mulch away from landscape lights or other electrical fixtures
  • Do not discard cigarettes into mulch beds
  • Keep mulch moist with regular watering
  • Protect mulched areas from sparks from grills and fire pits
  • Do not put citronella candles or torches in or near mulch beds
  • Do not leave outdoor fires unattended
  • Do not put mulch over electrical cords or wires
  • Keep mulch a safe distance from other combustible materials

Support Your Local Farmers Markets

‘Tis the season…local vegetable gardens are bursting with flavor!  While summer is rapidly coming to an end, many of the Farmers Markets in our area are in full swing, offering a variety of fresh, healthy produce.  Three Z encourages you to consider shopping local, for a number of reasons, which we’d like to share.  (Source:

farmersaShopping locally means you will:
•    save gas, which means saving money, and create less pollution in your drive;
•    pollute less, as the food does not need to be transported from a distance;
•    eat fresher food, with higher vitamin levels,  as less time passes from harvesting to purchasing;
•    eat tastier food; again, as less time passes from harvesting to purchasing; and
•    eat healthier food: since it does not need to be shipped, and it will be purchased sooner, less (or no) fungicides are needed.

So hopefully you’re giving thought to supporting a Farmers Market, but you’re not quite sure where to find one near you.  For starters, you can Google “local farmers markets” and you’ll probably come up with a few hits.  Or you can start with  This site offers a comprehensive list of markets in the Northeast Ohio region, along with other fun and exciting things to do with your family.  If there are several within driving distance of your home, consider taking the kids to visit a few on a sunny Saturday morning.

Three Z is your source for delivering the quality materials you need, while providing the service you expect.   Visit our website, to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.

Summer Fixes

hand-stoneaAs the spring rains fell, you may have noticed pot-hole-like mud puddles in your yard.  Then the summer heat dries everything up so those holes may not seem quite as noticeable; unless you’re mowing the lawn!  Now’s the time to repair the low spots.  Contact Three Z to discuss which soil blend option is best suited for your yard.  Adding soil now will establish a new grade and prevent puddles in the future.

If you have a stone driveway, you may also be dealing with potholes there, too.  Potholes need to be repaired when the drive is dry and the surface is solid (and before your tires fall victim to them).  Call our office to discuss the best product for your situation.

Our delivery area covers the Northeast Ohio area.  This includes: Cuyahoga; eastern Lorain; northern Medina and Summit; northwest Portage; northwest Lake; and western Geauga counties. Visit the delivery area page on our website.  If your delivery charge comes up with $0.00, call the office for delivery information: 216-524-4544.

If you have any questions, please call our team of experts at Three Z.  Visit our website, to check out our wide assortment of soils and amendments, mulches, sands, aggregates, limestone, and washed gravels.  We deliver the quality materials you need and provide the service you expect.

End of the Season Sales

Heading back to school is a sign that summer is rapidly coming to an end.  But it’s also a great time to score some deals on all sorts of merchandise.  Make a list of items that you need (or want) for your garden and outdoor living space for next season.  Just about all of the major retailers and locally-owned stores have begun marking down prices.

If you look around, you’ll probably be able to find almost every unaffordable plant that you wanted at the beginning of the summer at a price that will make the risk worth taking.  patio-furnitureaDon’t let scraggly blooms deter you from purchasing.  When it comes to perennials (like lilies, roses, hostas, etc.) the plant needs a strong root base, so don’t be overly concerned if the plant looks to be struggling a bit.  (Retailers typically don’t water as often as they did earlier in the season.) Plant the roots as soon as you get home and give it plenty of water and plant food. It should bounce back beautifully in the spring.  You should definitely avoid purchasing annuals, even if they’re dirt cheap.  (No pun intended.)

Other end of season items you may wish to consider purchasing for the outdoors includes: patio furniture, grills and grilling supplies (charcoal, lighter fluid, etc.), lawn/garden ornaments, pool supplies and toys, grass seed, hedge trimmers, string trimmers, and fertilizers.  As with any bigger purchase, make sure you have a place to store the items during the winter months.

Gardening for the Greater Good

If you’ve ever driven by a nursing home or an assisted living facility in the spring or summer months, you may notice garden-settingaa resident or two sitting outside enjoying the grounds.   According to the University of Minnesota, “Roger Ulrich, a professor and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M University, found that viewing natural scenes or elements fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions, effectively holding attention/interest, and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts.  When viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, test subjects exhibited lower alpha rates which are associated with being wakefully relaxed.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lend a hand in creating those therapeutic environments for our seniors?
Why not call a local nursing home or assisted living facility – perhaps they’re looking for individuals to water, weed, prune, plant and mulch to help maintain their gardens.  Chances are, they’d be willing to work around your schedule if you’re willing to volunteer your time.   Or, if you have a loved one in a facility right now, and they do not have a garden, consider spearheading the effort to create one.  Given the benefits noted above, why not share your gift of gardening with others.

Not sure where to start?  Here’s a helpful link to help you locate a nearby facility —  You may also find some volunteer opportunities on this site —