Twin Pines Family of Companies Blog

Twin Pines is a a quality, customer-service oriented home improvement contractor in the MetroWest Massachusetts area.


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15 Fabulous Fire Pits For Your Yard This Spring

Adding a hardscape feature in your yard can go a long way! So, this season, why not try one that’s both fun and functional? Fire Pits offer the perfect blend of style and practicality, and make for a great outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy! Browse through these 15 Fabulous Fire Pits below and find the perfect one for your home this spring!

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1. This copper fire pit that’s basically a Moscow Mule glass for your yard.

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The “Red Ember Eden Copper Wood Burning Fire Pit” comes with the bowl and stand, a spark screen, a grate, and a poker! Get it from Hayneedle for $279.98.

2. A multi-angled, stand alone fire pit with its very own smoke stack.

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The “Cavo Custom Octo-Pit” is created to resemble an Archimedean Solid, and the attached smoke stack allows smoke to filter up and out of the way instead of back at you! Get it from Woodland Direct for $741.00.

3. This stylish square pit perfect for any sized patio. 

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The “Trent Steel Fire Pit” includes a slate ledge around the bowl for a buffer from the fire, and a pyramid-shaped guard to prevent sparks from flying! Get it from Wayfair for $378.99.

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Protecting Your Home From The Cold – Plumbing & Chimney Edition

We at Twin Pines know that proper preparation is the best way to prevent damage, especially when it comes to snow and low temperatures. Our guide to Protecting Your Landscape from Snow provides tips for preventing damage to the area outside of your home from the landscaping experts at Twin Pines. This edition of the Protection Plan for your Home, will feature advice from our Plumbing and Chimney experts, and will highlight how to keep these vital aspects of your home safe in the cold.

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Bursting pipes and damaged plumbing systems are always a hazard in the extreme cold. One of the most sufficient ways to prevent this damage is with proper insulation. In areas that are most vulnerable to temperatures, including attics, crawl spaces, and walls on the outside of the home, wall insulation should surround pipes to help keep them warm and safe.

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Twitter Poll-Snow Storm Edition

At the end of last week, the Snow Removal Specialists at Twin Pines posed a question for our followers on Twitter, asking which of a handful of items would be most beneficial in protecting your home during snow . After the poll was cast out and our followers had time to choose which option they thought was right, these were the results:

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The majority of our voters chose “Hairdryer” as the ideal household item for dealing with snow. Unfortunately, this is not the correct answer; there are a lot of dangerous downsides to this option. Most importantly, you should not use a hairdryer to melt snow because it has the potential to electrocute you.  This is a caution that comes whenever electric machines mix with water-based substances, but there are also many other complications to keep in mind. Melting snow into water this quickly on metal, like cars, can cause rust. It can also allow snow to melt too quickly in one specific area, causing breakage and the falling of large chunks of ice or snow, especially if used on a high surface like the top of a car or a roof. This can be very dangerous!

Instead, the best household item for snow removal was actually answer D: “Tights/Pantyhose.” This is a trick that all great Snow Removal Experts stand by, and is especially useful for preventing ice dams on roofs!

What To Do:

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Photo Credit: champaignrose.com

  1. Take an old pair of pantyhose or tights and cut the legs off
  2. Fill the inside with Calcium Chloride
  3. Tie off the open end
  4. Place the pantyhose on your roof so they are perpendicular to your gutter (Note: The end of the pantyhose should extend over the side of the gutter)
  5. Shift pantyhose into place with a long stick or broom handle
  6. Continue to monitor/check

How It Works: Basically, Calcium Chloride is a snow melting chemical, which, if you place it directly onto your roof, can cause corrosion. Instead, having a controlled barrier made up of pantyhose materials, allows the chemical to seep through and do its job of breaking down the ice/melt on top of your roof without causing any lasting damage.

Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for chunks of melted snow falling off of your roof due to ice dam removal tactics; Never stand directly beneath the ice dam and keep all cars/outside items away from beneath this area, as well. Dealing with snow removal can be dangerous, and we recommend taking all the appropriate cautions before moving forward.


A big thank you to everyone who voted as part of our first “Twin Pines Poll!” Please check back with us for more fun & interactive posts on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and here on our blog! Still looking for plowing, shoveling, salting, and more for this winter? Give us a call at (508) 358-4231 to find out if you are in our service area, then book a free, no obligation estimate with Twin Pines!


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Being Great

Blog Post Contributed by Andy Hopkins, Co-Owner of Twin Pines Family of Companies

On a very rainy Friday Boston night, I went to Fenway for the final home stand of the year against Toronto.

The Red Sox have already clinched the playoffs, but the mood was different than the relaxed night that usually accompanies that position.

It was the first night of a tribute weekend to David Ortiz – famous # 34 – who for years has been part of the success of the Red Sox.

On this night, he did what he has done so many times; he was great, hitting the winning 2 run home run, a line drive shot to right field. This was his 38th of the season.

When most players are battling with injuries and the decline of statistics as the body tells them their career is ending, David defies logic and is having another fantastic season.

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David Ortiz; Photo Credit: Andy Hopkins

Why?  Because of his love for the game and his dedication to being great every day. Watching his warm up before hitting, you could see there was an intensity like it was his first opportunity to impress us.

I have always felt that to be great at something you need to love it – 100% completely. David shows us that if you have this love, you can continue to be great against all odds.

I still remember game 4 of one memorable series, sitting in right field and hearing that no team had ever come back from 3 games down. No one told David Ortiz. He helped carry the Red Sox to a win and one of the greatest turnarounds in Major League playoffs.

That night, everyone in Boston saw his love of the game and of the team. It continued for over a decade.

So everyone here at Twin Pines would like to send out a salute to one of Boston’s greatest baseball players. We can only hope to be as passionate and great at what we do as David has been for the Red Sox. We wish David and his family the best after baseball.  Thank you for all the great memories!


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Creative Flower Displays For Fall

Whether we want to admit it yet or not, fall is on its way; The air is getting crisper, the leaves are starting to turn, and the sky is getting dark at 7:00pm. While that might mean saying goodbye to full days spent in your yard enjoying the outdoors, it doesn’t mean you should stop finding new ways to make your landscape unique.

Last year, we shared our expert guide to Fall Flowers (Part I. and Part II.), which outlined some of the most vibrant and season-appropriate flowers to feature in autumn. This year, we want to show you some exciting and innovative ways to arrange and display them outside your home!Petunia Flowers

One of the funnest ways we’ve come across of displaying fall flowers, is actually within the hollowed out trunks of old trees. The easiest way to create this unique arrangement is to locate a broken tree with a very thick trunk that is already living in your yard and prep it for the flowers. Hire a qualified tree specialist (like those at Twin Pines) to remove any excess branches or pieces of the tree that crowd the broken trunk and level out the surface. The specialist should also carve out the hole in the center of the trunk which the flowers will grow in.

Next, simply use the hole in the trunk as a flower pot! Spread nutrient-rich soil within it, plant the flowers, and watch them grow in this natural display!

climbing-hydrandra-creative-solution-to-hide-old-lamp-post-urell-1Another great way to highlight the fall florals in your yard is around a lamp post. The expert Landscape Design team at Twin Pines has years of experience with shrubs like these, which can grow upwards and out when cared for correctly. This tip is ideal if you happen to have outdated or mismatching posts; instead of investing in a full light post remodel, use pretty plants to spice up the look!

Lamp posts and tree trunks aren’t the only items in your yard that can act as a useful base for flower displays. Old wheelbarrows make great containers for featuring plants and Simply Swissflowers. While some feel that the more vintage the wheelbarrow the better, we’ve found that its all based in style. Wooden carts like the one featured in the photo here make for a more rustic look, where a more contemporary, painted one could give a modern-feel. Either way, this simple and pretty display choice can act as a great focal point for your landscape!

Another common household item often utilized in flower displays is a ladder. Trends lately have shown wooden ladders being used more as shelves than actual steps in homes across the country. Used as both an indoor or outdoor display case, each rung of the later can be transformed Harvest timeinto a multi-level shelving unit, maximizing display opportunities! What’s more, because ladders comes in a variety of colors and finishes, the ladder can be customized to compliment the look of your unique home!

Overall, the best advice the experts at Twin Pines can give for making your flower displays stand out this fall, is to add a little creativity into the mix! Combine types of flowers, mix and match colors, and find a fun and innovative way to arrange them! These simple steps will take your designs to the next level.

Keep mind, you don’t have to stick to these few ideas either; there are a plethora of options out there for you to play with. Switch out a flower pot for an old painted watering can or use an old barrel or basket to grow your plants in; try something new and innovative to help your landscape stand out!

Whatever display option you chose, make sure you have some fun with it! Your landscape is a great way to show off your personality, and adding statement pieces like these are a simple and fun way to do that! And if you need a little help along the way, feel free to reach out to our experts at Twin Pines! We would be happy to provide you with a consultation on your landscape this fall, and help make sure it reaches all of its potential. Give us a call today at (508) 358-4231, or email us at sales@twinpines.biz!


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Twin Pines’ Customer Satisfaction Goals

Twin Pines has always been dedicated to providing our customers with a positive experience. We find that feedback of any kind, whether it is positive or negative, can help influence changes and improvements within the company.

For that reason, Twin Pines has created a simple survey that we send to our customers after we finish working on their property. The survey, while short, raises the most important question for our customers to answer: How Likely Are You To Recommend Twin Pines?  This one question provides us with the kind of feedback we need to reflect on where we are with our customers, and in turn, learn more about how we can do better.

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The Dangers of Tree Removal: Why It’s Important To Leave It To Professionals

All the unpredictable weather of the last few weeks has left many homeowners with some cleanup to do around their properties. One of the most significant aspects of this cleanup has been tree removal. Violent winds, heavy snow, and pounding rain are all known to cause trees to snap, branches to break off, and to leave, in short, less than safe conditions for people to live or work in. Tree Removal1

Yet, as tempting as it may be for homeowners to handle tree work themselves, it’s important that Tree Removal Professionals are called in to handle this type of cleanup.

Between the vital knowledge of tree physics and biology, experience with dangerous tools, and the understanding of advanced cutting techniques, these Tree Removal Professionals are the only people equipped to properly handle this difficult and potentially life-threatening work.

One of the most dangerous aspects of tree removal, is the power tools needed to remove the trees themselves. Chainsaws, wood chippers, and other power or hand tools are all incredibly dangerous to use, especially for those who are untrained. Tree Removal Experts have extensive training and experience with these tools, which makes them much more qualified to utilize them in a high-stakes situation like this.

The location of the trees in question also makes removal a dangerous task. If the tree were to be located near power lines, for example, workers would need to take extra precautions. Even Tree Removal Experts must act as if all power lines are live when working near or around them, as any accidental touch by a tool, tree, or person has the potential to result in electrocution.

Another dangerous aspect of tree removal is the fact that gravity is completely unpredictable. If a homeowner were take the necessary precautions and attempt to remove the tree themselves, there is no way of guaranteeing that the tree will fall where they want it to. Tree Work_2When an unqualified person attempts to handle the removal of trees without the help of an expert, it can result in damage to homes, vehicles, other trees and, most significantly, the people themselves. There are 200 tree-related fatal injuries on average per year in America, according to the US
Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is not worth being one of them.

Professional Tree Removers have not only extensive training in the physics of tree removal (which works to prevent such injuries or damages), but also in the proper safety equipment necessary to complete this kind of work. Professionals are required by law to be covered from head to toe in protective gear prior to handling any kind of tree removal work. The OSHA standards require Tree Removal Professionals to wear helmets/face shields, gloves, chainsaw-protective clothing, goggles or safety glasses, earmuffs or plugs, and proper work shoes when completing this work.

If you are looking to have trees removed from your property, please take the necessary precautions. Hire a Tree Removal Expert to handle the work for you, and avoid the life-threatening risks of attempting to do a job you may not be prepared to do.

Twin Pines Landscaping offers Tree Removal Services from a team of highly qualified and licensed specialists. You can also contract these specialists for a tree consultation, in which they can come out to your property and evaluate your trees for any potential dangers or specific cutting instructions. For more information on these services from Twin Pines, you can reach out to our office at (508) 358-4231. Other Tree Removal Specialists can be found by a simple Google Search for the type of work and your town or district. However you choose to contract this work, remember that when it comes to trees, safety should be the number one concern.