Hardscaping Pavers and Walls

Hardscaping is the foundation of landscaping.

BelgardMegaArbelOutdoorFireplace

Hardscaping can make or break your outdoor living space.  High quality installations can increase the enjoyment of your home and will increase your home’s value.  Poor quality installations can detract from the beauty of the surroundings and can be a liability.

While we are an authorized dealer for both Belgard Hardscape Products and Techo-Bloc pavers and walls, realize that these products are the icing on your cake.  Without properly addressing water and installing a high quality base, your project will twist, turn or fall over.

Hardscaping elements can include walls, fireplaces and wood boxes, fire pits, waterfalls, and complete custom kitchens. Ceramic outdoor tiles are the latest and greatest thing but can create some installation challenges. We have all the contacts and information you will need to make your outdoor living dream become a reality.

Types of Pavers

Classic, Legacy or First Generation pavers

The original paver was pressed concrete with a pattern on the surface. Some manufacturers use a “face mix” on the top 1/4” of the paver to achieve a dense color. Some will not. Both types weather and will eventually show aggregate.

Examples include,

  • Anchor CobbleNFD2008HollandWeston0011
  • Classico
  • Holland Stone
  • London Cobble Pavers

Tumbled, Antiqued or Second Generation pavers

As manufacturers got savvier, they determined that by tumbling the paver in a large barrel, you could get a weathered look on a paver that was quite attractive. This added to the texture of the paver, but was very labor intensive. The latest technology allows this to be done while the pavers are on the manufacturing line. This in-line processing decreases labor and damage costs.

Examples include,

  • Country Manor paversTumbled Pavers
  • Dublin Cobble

Natural Look or Third Generation pavers

The most modern techniques of paver manufacturing include using adaptable mold faces which give natural depressions and rilles on the surface of the pave stone. These pavers are usually not tumbled as second generation pavers were because the extra distressing distracts from the natural texture of the surface.

Examples include

  • Mega Arbel Patio StoneNatural style pavers
  • Laffit Paving Stones (60mm)
  • Mega Laffit
  • Old World
  • Portage Stone

Eco Friendly  or Permeable Pavement systems

More than just a paver, this is a system. Installation of permeable pavement systems can allow you to cover more ground without the negative impacts of water runoff. The installation process differs from regular paver installation because water must always be allowed to run through the pavers and base where it is returned to the aquifer.

Examples include:

  • Aqua-RocEco Friendly pavers
  • Eco-Dublin
  • Subterra Stone

Paving and Flowerbed Edging

The right edging can help resist mulch runoff in downpours, restrain stone or pavers and give you a classy look. The downside? A tall edge can be an obstacle for snow plows and can create more lawn trimming if your mower cannot go over it.

Examples include:

  • Anglia EdgerCounty Manor Edging
  • Country Manor Curbstones
  • Flagstone wall blocks
  • Belgium Blocks

 

 Do it yourself or hire a professional?

Paver and wall installation in hardscaping requires extensive earth preparation.  About 2/3 of your project cost is site preparation and underground materials, so adding up the costs of the pavers or wall blocks alone will surly mislead you. This under-ground investment is absolutely essential to a long-lasting project.

If you are not comfortable getting dirty, this is probably not a project for you. We encourage everyone to talk to at least two contractors if you are considering hiring a professional. Belgard and Techo-Bloc both have listings of Authorized contractors. Talking to one of these professionals should give you an idea of how much is involved with doing the project right. Don’t be fooled by a cheap price, the quality of the job will almost always reflect in the price.

If you are excited about getting dirty, don’t mind lifting and are comfortable handling some heavy equipment, lets proceed with some installation guidelines.

The basics of paver installation

These projects are not out of the realm for a “do-it-yourself”-er or a weekend warrior if you follow some best practices.

  1. Excavate or plan on building up 8 to 10 inches for foot traffic, more for auto traffic. This means you need to check your grades (Use a transit or level).
  2. Compact the dirt. Yes, the dirt. This is best accomplished with a rammer or jumping jack for poor quality soils.
  3. Place a paving or stabilization fabric. This is NOT weed blocking fabric.
  4. Add modified base material. Also known as QP, 2A or just modified. Depth is determined by your soils, excavation depth and final grade point.
  5. Compact base material. This is best accomplished with a vibratory plate compactor and damp material.
  6. Add bedding sand 1” deep. Use the cheap concrete sand, not bar sand or mason sand. Do not compact.
  7. Lay your pavers.
  8. Restrain your pavers and bedding sand using an edging product, curb or building
  9. Place polymeric sand between the joints paying close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The basics of segmental retaining wall installation.

Retaining walls and freestanding walls can get a bit tricky. These structures have been known to fall over if they are not constructed correctly.  If you have never done it before, we STRONGLY suggest you get guidance on your project by someone who has been ICPI  or NCMA certified. We have people on staff with this training to help you out.

  1. Excavate enough material to have at least ½ of your first block buried in the ground, plus 6 to 12 inches of stone, depending upon soils.
  2. Compact the dirt. Yes, the dirt. This is best accomplished with a rammer or jumping jack for poor quality soils.
  3. Add modified base material. Also known as QP, 2A or just modified. Depth is determined by your soils, excavation depth and final grade point.
  4. Compact base material. This is best accomplished with a vibratory plate compactor and damp material.
  5. Place your first course of block, making sure it is level.
  6. If this is a retaining wall, place drainage pipe behind wall and backfill with clean stone.
  7. Add geo-grid as needed for strength as predetermined by height of wall and retaining characteristics.
  8. Continue adding layers of block, backfilling with clean stone and placing grid as you ascend.
  9. Cap wall.