After three or four years, your once beautiful landscape project will inevitably turn into an eyesore and a liability. There’s no escaping this problem. Perhaps the pavers on the walkway become uneven or the gaps between the pavers grow wider and unsightly. Worse, your entire patio may now be leaning towards your home causing rainwater to slowly erode its foundation.
This happens to every home with a landscape attraction out front even if the landscape work was done by a good contractor. Blame it on the elements and the wear and tear brought by time as a matter of course. So it behooves upon the homeowner to look for landscaping repair and restoration. In case the landscape contractors you originally got made a shoddy job, the imperative is for you to find a team that can repair the mistakes done on your yard.
The team you need is one that can move in quickly to properly level pavers, support retaining walls, rebuild features, and everything else to make a landscape look good again. Such landscape repair and restoration undertaking must include proper base preparation and compaction, the adding of edge restraints, joint sanding and many other services that may be needed to make your landscape or hardscape stand up to the test of time. See that the landscape repair team is very passionate about the quality of service it offers to homeowners and it shows in their workmanship.
A landscape repair and restoration effort has to cover the paver patio, walkway, driveway and any outdoor living space that had gone seedy with time. The landscape contractor needs to make the pavers or walls level and closed the gaps in the pavers where unwanted weeds have begun to grow. Most of all, the contractor will replace the patio, walkway or driveway that is now sloping back towards your house, forcing water to your walls and foundation. In re-leveling your pavers or walls, see that the contractor makes sure that everything is up to industry standards as set by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute for pavers and National Concrete Masonry Association for your walls and steps. This includes proper base preparation and compaction, to edge restraints, joint sands, and more. There are possible bonuses such giving clients a long-lasting, maintenance-free paver patio, walkway, or driveway that they can enjoy and be proud of.
When the landscaping repair and restoration job is done, the common procedure is for the contractor to give you a warranty on their workmanship for at least three years. That’s for your assurance that the contractor did not pull a fast one on you, which sometimes happens in this business. The best contractor is one that offers paver cleaning and sealing for those hardscapes in need. Typical applications for this service are areas where there are grills, and driveways where grease and oils are dropping on the pavers.
Some people really enjoy the look of pavers when they are wet. Some contractors also provide such extra as cleaning and sealing your pavers with a wet look application that does just that.
In terms of design and care of water gardens, grading and drainage are key considerations. You just can’t install a water garden in your landscaped yard without a proper grading and drainage system. This is because inefficient or inadequate draining can result in all kinds of hazards that can cost you in the long run. If outdoor spaces are not designed with drainage in mind, un-drained water can cause a variety of problems in your yard.
For example, standing water can compromise the structural integrity of the foundation of your home and any other outdoor structures. It can also jeopardize the health of your plants if their roots become water-logged. This is a particular concern for water-sensitive plants. Poor drainage management can potentially cause other serious dangers such as mosquito infestation and inconveniences such as soggy lawns and unsightly, muddy swamps.
It is therefore important that you take these potential challenges seriously. A good idea is to contract an expert in landscape design that is usually armed with a variety of tools to expertly implement water drainage solutions into your landscape. Rather than viewing these potential threats as limitations, look at water drainage considerations as an opportunity to plan your property in a way that is both exciting and efficient.
With efficient grading and drainage, your water garden is prepared to take sudden and large volumes of water in a way that doesn’t diminish, but rather enhances the overall look of your landscape. The most straightforward way to achieve good drainage is to carefully grade the terrain of your yard, creating artificial pitch throughout the terrain to ensure that gravity keeps water flowing away in all sections of your property. Swales, which are artificial troughs, are another tool employed in this effort. They are effective, and look totally natural if designed correctly. Swales can also add an interesting and fun character to a flat yard with limited natural contour.
If this method is not particularly practical for your property, another option is to tastefully integrate catch basins and drain tiles that effectively manage water without detracting from the aesthetic quality of your outdoor space. Drain tiles are particularly effective in low corners prone to quick flooding.
There is a variety of product styles that can provide the drainage support your property needs in a way that blends into the natural look of your yard. For example, an artfully concealed downspout drain tiles may be used. This helps provide effective water management in a way that avoids the use of unseemly pipes. The grading and drainage experts may also recommend French drains, which are subterranean pipes that collect water and direct it to a runoff depository. This is a very high-end way to implement drainage infrastructure. One popular option available with French drains is the construction of a swale disguised as a rocky river bed. Using high quality boulders with varied color, these charming structures can meander through your landscape, creating a rugged and bold appearance.
The options, as you can see, are nearly endless. Be sure though that the landscape experts that you come to are used to dealing with a variety of drainage issues; so that they drain your garden water instead of your wallet.
Winter can be rough on your homes, especially your hardscape which is perpetually exposed to the elements. When the last signs of cold weather melt away, you can find yourself heading into spring with pitted driveways, cracked asphalt and crumbling landscaping. So it’s important to make repairs before summer heats up and puts further stress on these important areas. Doing your own hardscape repairs isn’t difficult. You’ll save money, and doing it yourself gives you the opportunity to get some outdoor exercise this spring.
You may need professionals to pour new asphalt but repairing existing asphalt in your hardscape can be done by yourself. For pothole repairs, start by sweeping and removing any loose materials from the area needing repair. Next, pour ready-mix asphalt in the trouble spot and spread evenly to a depth of no more than 2 inches at a time. Use the back side of a shovel to compact the material. And since there is no oily tracking with this material, just drive over it a few times with your vehicle. The compaction causes the product to cure into an effective patch. For deeper potholes, keep repeating in 2 inch amounts until completely filled.
Patio pavers and bricks can shift, sink or raise, and even crack during a tough winter. If your hardscape has a sand underlay, fixing problems is relatively easy. For broken or cracked pavers, simply remove the damaged pieces, check that the sand is level, and fill the gap with a new paver or brick. If your patio has become uneven over time, you’ll need to lift all the uneven pavers, level the sand beneath – you may have to add sand – and then put the pavers back atop the now-level sand.
Concrete is a common hardscape material around homes across the country. Concrete driveways, walkways and steps can all succumb to cracking, crumbling, chipping and spalling after a harsh winter. Fortunately, concrete is an easy material to fix, and patching a problem while it’s small may help prevent a much costlier repair or even replacement down the road. To repair cracks of virtually any size, simply apply an easy-to-use product. Power wash cracks to remove debris. For larger fissures, it may be necessary to use a hammer and chisel to remove crumbling concrete and produce a clean, clearly delineated repair site.
For resurfacing old, damaged or spalled concrete, Flo-Coat resurfacing material by Sakrete provides an easy alternative to costly replacement. Simply remove loose materials from the surface, mix the material, dampen the concrete surface with water and pour the resurfacing material onto the concrete slab. Use a long-handled squeegee to spread the mixture evenly. Be sure to protect expansion and control joints with tape to prevent filling.
Whether your brick, stone or cinderblock retaining wall is acting as a retaining wall or simply a decorative one, moisture is not its friend. If your region has had a lot of snow this past winter, check your landscaping walls for damage such as cracks in mortar, shifted stones or crumbling bricks. Repairing cracked mortar is easy as long as the bricks or stones it secures remain in good position.
A few simple repairs will help ensure your home’s hardscape is in good shape, and ready for whatever summer weather brings.
Is your walk patio or outdoor living spaces are in need of repair or maintenance and you’re stumped about what to do? Relax, it can be relatively easy. Those with experience in walk patio repair will tell you all you need is to start with an old fashion inspection of the problem. It could be a sunken patio base or a chipped piece of concrete or deteriorating mortar. Whatever the case, repairs will come easy once you look closely into the problem. The reason is that assessing the basic issues leads to solutions. Here are five ways that can be easily worked with walk patio repairs.
The first thing you need to do is look very closely at your existing mortar joints. Look at the color of the sand. Believe it or not, not all sand looks the same. Sand is simply a collection of very small rock particles, and the color of individual sand particles can be vastly different if the particles come from a variety of black, red, white and gray rocks. Visit different building supply businesses and/or sand and gravel pits, and try to find sand that matches both in color and particle size.
The second thing is to make a very rich mixture that will be exceedingly strong. Once you have the correct sand, mix it one part of it to one part of pure Portland cement. You need this strength, even though you do not get too many extremely cold days. The extra cement also helps make the mortar flow easily from the tip of the special grout bag you will use to fill the defective mortar joints. Mortar grout bags are just like icing bags used by professional cake decorators. They are larger than an icing bag, and have a metal cone tip that has a one-half-inch hole at the end.
The third thing is do not work on a hot, sunny windy day. Experts recommend working on cloudy days. The mortar will dry too rapidly, especially where you are filling slight depressions in the existing mortar joints. Once you have the mortar mixed, lightly spritz the mortar joints you are going to fill. Do not get them too wet, just slightly damp. Fill the grout bag half way with the mortar mix, and apply slight pressure to make the mortar mix flow just as toothpaste oozes from its tube. If you can’t get the mortar to flow, you need to add more cement and/or slightly more water. The mortar mix needs to be fairly wet so that it doesn’t clog the grout bag tip.
Fourth thing is to check out the different colored pieces of sand. Each grain is a small piece of solid rock. The sand for the repair job should match the existing sand as close as possible in grain size, shape and color. Carefully guide the grout bag tip so that you apply new mortar only to the joint. Move the bag along and make sure you apply mortar so it rises above the level of the brick by about one-quarter inch.
Fifth and the most important thing is to take the proper steps to ensure the sealing process is done correctly otherwise the seal will not be as strong and will eventually fail. In terms of keeping your patio durable and long lasting, sealing is best. Before patio sealing can begin the first step is to clean the patio surface of all dirt and debris as well as any other stains or paints. Using a power washer is generally the best way to do much of the removal work however the surface must be completely dry before the patio sealing can begin. Once the initial sealing has begun, the best conditions are during mild temperatures where no rain is expected.
Ross, the President of Garden Square Landscaping, Inc., has enjoyed the design and build aspects of a landscape construction company here in Southern Chester County for 20 years. A member of the Kennett Square Lions Club, Ross gives back to the community. Ross attended the University of Delaware and is a member and certified installer of ICPI and NCMA. In addition to this as a certified instructor for both organizations he has the opportunity to instruct contractors, manufacturers, and distributors across the United States. Ross lives and works in Kennett Square with his wife and 2 children.