Recent Posts

Albuquerque Shade Structures

Well it’s spring in Albuquerque and hot summer days are just around the corner. If you’re like me, summer sounds like a welcome change of pace and weather. But it’s also our peak season for building shade structures that provide refuge from Albuquerque’s intense heat. We are ramping up our crews to meet demand as this division is growing. Whether you call these shade structures a pergola, ramada, gazebo, armada or shade cover, we are all in need of the same relief from the relenting sun.

This spring we are offering more wood species selection and design styles. We are adding rough cut Douglas Fir timbers to give more pricing options for our customers that recognize the 86799956 Albuquerque Shade Structuresbenefits of this quality wood. Although premium surfaced Douglas Fir timbers are among the best choice for shade structures in Albuquerque, it has also become quite expensive to obtain. Locally milled Douglas Fir has very similar quality, strength, appearance and fastener holding properties. It is also more cost effective due to the shorter shipping expenses. Since it’s rough cut and shipped right from the mill, the expense of surface planning and partially drying the wood is eliminated. The long trip from the upper Northwest or even Canada is also eliminated from the cost. At less than half the price of surfaced Douglas Fir, rough cut Douglas Fir is a sound choice.

We’re also adding a new line of cost effective shade structures in Albuquerque for the client that prefers a simpler product and design but still retains the quality and function of more expensive designs. This is accomplished by installing fewer timbers, alternate spacing and lighter roof loads. Less weight means smaller timbers are sufficient too, adding to your savings.

86801481 Albuquerque Shade StructuresWe are introducing angled roof members for homes with the proper orientation to the sun. Roof “slats” set on an angle allow low angle winter sunshine through the shade structure to warm you and your home or patio. As the sun rises in the summer to a steeper angle, the angled roof members block out the sun providing you with welcome shade. You get the best of both worlds with this design. The images in this article show angled roof slats. They were taken in the summer and full shade is cast on the patio.

In the winter the patio is in the sun.

If you’re in need of a shady place to entertain and enjoy your time outdoors, give us a call and let our design team build you a special Albuquerque shade structure.

Caring for Your Custom Wood Gate:

Since wood is a porous material it can absorb and release moisture with changing humidity and storms. As wood absorbs this water, it expands as the cells fill with water molecules. Upon release of the water, the cells shrink back to their normal size. This process causes “wood movement” and cannot be completely stopped. It can be slowed so it does not damage the gate. Fast wood movement damages gates. The other element that attacks our gates is direct sunshine. The sun speeds the drying process of a damp gate and it also fades the natural wood color to varying shades of grey/brown. The third nemesis of wood outdoors is fungus/mold/mildew. Since our climate is so dry this is not that big of an issue here. Most sealers today include mildew inhibitors.

100 2291 Caring for Your Custom Wood Gate:Imagine wood pores as a reservoir that can hold a limited volume of liquid. We want to fill these pores with penetrating oil so there is no room left for water moisture to absorb. The reservoir is full of oil instead. Rain and snow bead and fall off. This is the most important protection you can give your Albuquerque custom wood gate. But, this oil slowly evaporates into the atmosphere and will need to be re-applied. The intense sunshine in New Mexico evaporates this oil faster than in a cooler humid climate. We recommend applying penetrating oil once a year to keep your gate looking new. It is easy to apply since it’s a wipe on/wipe off procedure and dirt doesn’t “stick” to it.

To stop the sun from bleaching or greying your Albuquerque solid wood gate you need to apply a penetrating oil that also has a colored stain included. The pigments in the stain reflect the harsh UV rays. The darker the stain color, the longer the UV protection. We do not recommend “clear” or “natural” stain colors as your gate could turn grey with these.

Your gate has already been stained (pigment) and sealed (penetrating oil) with Penofin brand wood sealer. This sealer is comprised of Rosewood penetrating oil with a colored stain included. We recommend you apply the same or similar product annually to keep your gate in perfect condition and prolong the enjoyment of your investment. Annually check the hinges and door handle fasteners and retighten if needed. With a minimum of effort your Albuquerque garden wood gate will last for many years without issue. Enjoy!

Albuquerque Curved Wood Handrails

Around here we like the look and feel of rustic outdoor building products like big timbers, cedar decking, log handrails, vigas and carvings, well, you get the idea.100 2984 Albuquerque Curved Wood Handrails

To add an extra flair to this style we also build unique steam bent wood handrails out of either square stock or 3” round rails. Curved deck handrails in Albuquerque is one of our fun but challenging projects. Imagine a curved deck that also has a matching curved wood handrail to complement it.

There’s some tricks to accomplish this, but once you get wood hot enough, it starts to bend when high pressure is applied. Special jigs are used as forms to bend the hot handrail which has been steamed for hours. Upon cooling, they will hold this curved shape permanently. If you have a deck that has curved boarders in Albuquerque, curved deck handrails would really set your deck apart. 100 2989 Albuquerque Curved Wood HandrailsThis type of handrail flows nicely, provides a more custom look and are a conversation piece. They will certainly add to the rustic charm we gravitate towards. Sweeping deck steps curving as they rise, a curved “bump out” on an other wise straight deck or a round hot tub enclosure. Curving handrail sections between deck posts adds depth and interest too.

If you’d like to learn more about Albuquerque curved wood handrails then give us a shout and we’ll take a look at your project.

How We Build Gates: Part 2

The tops of our custom wood gates in Albuquerque can have flat tops or profiles such as an arch. There are several variations on this design as well as the radius of the arch. We build them to fit your opening and existing archway. The design possibilities are endless and we work with you to build your vision and style. High quality gates come with gate jambs and “stops” for optimum installation and to prevent over rotation of the gate hinges. This is an important feature. The backs of the jambs can also have a radius cut to fit on round pillars to ensure a solid installation.

We specialize in rustic wooden gates in the Albuquerque area and the hardware is a big part of that charm. The hardware possibilities have many options. We recommend strap hinges 100 2233 How We Build Gates: Part 2instead of butt hinges since strap hinges are long enough to reach past the stile and screw to the rail as well. This significantly reduces the stresses on the joint making the gates last longer. Narrow Leaf Inc, repairs older damaged gates that others have built. Almost all these gates in need of repair were hung with butt hinges screwed into the edges of the gate. Strap hinges secure to the face of the gate thus minimizing the joint stresses. Handles and latches are varied and are discussed on site to suite your needs. We have access to almost any gate hardware you may desire or need.

Each of our solid wood gates in Albuquerque are indeed custom built and fitted for your application. We do not pre build gates and then cut them down to size to fit your opening like many do. Your gate will be made to fit your opening only and will fit exactly. We’d love to consult with you about your new gate needs and build you a masterpiece that you’ll be proud of. We can build what you can imagine. Providing us a picture of what you’d like is a head start with the design process and we can adjust things from there. Give us a call today!

How We Build Gates: Part 1

Narrow Leaf Inc, builds Albuquerque custom wood gates with the finest materials and accurate, proper fitting joints. Though there are several different types of wood gate construction methods, the best include the all important joinery. We use joinery on all our gates, even our 100 2942a How We Build Gates: Part 1mid level priced gates so they last. Sadly, many pedestrian and garden gates are constructed with a frame and then have panels attached to the frame. This method is used because it is more affordable and most handy men and homeowners have the tools and skill set to produce them. They have no joinery, so each piece is “attached” to the other with fasteners. The success of this gate design holding up over time is dependent upon the fasteners used, usually nails, screws, or lag bolts. Invariably, they fail over time as gravity pulls at the fasteners and surrounding wood, loosening them. As a result, the gate drops on the side opposite the hinges and drags on the ground. These gates become what we all call, “rickety”. We always build Albuquerque custom wood gates with joinery of some type. On our mid quality level gates the frames have half lap joints, use water proof glue and have hidden fasteners. This “glued frame” construction will outlast a similar gate that is missing the joint and glue. Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits of a BBQ island

We all enjoy a nice BBQ meal with friends and family on a restful summer day. The grill being used, the counter space and storage all add to the ambiance of the experience. Music and electricity close by truly make it an entertaining experience with friends and family. A BBQ grill from a home store can do the job but a full outdoor kitchen will provide a whole new level of enjoyment and atmosphere. A BBQ island is an outdoor counter and shelves incorporating a very nice stainless steel grill that is fueled with propane or natural gas. The BBQ island is integrated into the landscape and home making it a part of the home, an extension of the kitchen outdoors.

A fully equipped island may have water and a sink, a mini fridge, freezer, pizza oven, rotisserie, electricity or speakers for music. Storage inside the island is Read the rest of this entry »

Shade structure construction

Albuquerque shade structures are called by many different names including Pergola, Ramada, Arbor, Porch, Patio cover, Atrium, Portale and Aluminum shade structure. Regardless of what we call them they all serve the same function but are constructed very differently. There are two distinct categories to describe shade structures in Albuquerque. The first is “free standing”. This is a shade structure totally supported by it own posts set in concrete for lateral strength. This is built some distance from the house as building codes require it to be at least 10 feet away from the house. It is not possible to erect a project like this on top of a concrete slab as there is no practical way to anchor it to the slab and retain enough lateral support. This type of shade structure will sway and move easily without serious braces on the post/roof connection. The most common installation is to bury the posts 30″ or more in the ground and then Read the rest of this entry »

How do borers affect trees?

100 3113 How do borers affect trees?The subject of insect infestation on trees is enormous and cannot be adequately covered in a few paragraphs.

It is my intent to highlight the main points and suggest ways to minimize their damage. Bores are the larvae life stage of either beetles or moths. The parent insect lays eggs on the host tree where they hatch and bore into the tree and live just under the bark. The tree acts as food and housing for the newly developing larvae. Almost all the life in a tree is just under the bark in the cambium layer. This is where the new growth takes place and where the tree adds growth in diameter. All the flow of water, nutrients and photo synthesis happens in the cambium as the roots and leaves exchange water and energy. As they eat this “cambium,” they disrupt the flow of nutrients and photo synthesis thus starving the tree. Some larvae like to travel up and down as they feed on the tree and only sever part of the flow of energy of their host. This tree is sickly and tries to recover. The most damaging bore larvae travel the circumference of the tree completely severing any flow up or down, thus Read the rest of this entry »

Landscape Maintenance

During the past twenty three years, NARROW LEAF, Inc. has specialized in commercial landscape maintenance. We have professionally maintained apartment complexes, commercial offices, retail outlets, homeowners’ associations as well as large and small residential properties. We use the most modern equipment available, provide current landscape practices and employ a qualified and competent staff.

Our services are numerous and include:

  • Mow and trim all turf areas
  • Prune shrubs and trees
  • Irrigation inspection and repair by a qualified irrigation technician
  • Fertilize turf, shrubs and trees
  • Diagnose and treat fungus/disease concerns
  • Diagnose and control insect Read the rest of this entry »

Designing your landscape, Albuquerque New Mexico

A residential landscape installation requires careful planning, an accurately designed irrigation system and a well-placed hardscape (retainer walls, patio, walkways, boulders, water feature, landscape lights, etc.). Due to the wide selection of plants and building materials, almost any idea or theme can be designed and incorporated into your landscape. You can invest a great deal of energy to design a plan that reflects your needs and creative ability. After the initial design work, review your plans yet again and change any details to best suit your wishes.

You should incorporate some of the following landscape features into your landscape:

  • Water feature
  • Waterfall/pond
  • Flagstone work — walkways and patios
  • Retainer walls – constructed of railroad ties, mortared Read the rest of this entry »