When is the Right Time to Get a Retaining Wall?

 

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A retaining wall is a common landscaping feature that is used on both residential and commercial properties. These walls may be just a foot or two tall, or they may tower over the heads of most adults. While you may find a single wall that is very tall in height, retaining walls can also be used in a graduated fashion to create a terraced yard. Generally, these walls are used to control the incline of a steeply graded property, and they can improve the safety, beauty and function of the space with great results. You may be wondering if you need to invest in a retaining wall for your property.

What Are Your Property’s Challenges?
Each property will have unique challenges related to the lay of the land. Factors related to existing vegetation, the flow of water during a heavy rainstorm, the position of the building on the property and other factors all must be considered before you determining if a retaining wall is the right solution for your property. A retaining wall may be used to control erosion and to prevent small-scale mudslides during periods of heavy rain. They can also be used to level off a steeply graded property. However, it is important to note that a retaining wall also may create a cliff or ledge on the property. In some cases, safety or guard rails, hedges and stair steps may be added to the property at the same time a retaining wall is installed to promote improved functionality and safety on the property.

Are There Other Options Available?
A retaining wall is typically one of the primary options to consider using to even out a steeply sloping yard, but it is not the only option available. For example, if the property grades downward away from the home, a retaining wall may be used to create a level yard at the home’s level. However, pavers can also be installed to create a cascading series of flower beds at a steeper grade from the home. Then, the actual yard may be at the street level. This is just one of several options that may be available to the home, but the actual options will vary based on the factors in place on your property.

Request a Personal Consultation
If you are thinking about how the installation of a retaining wall may improve the the look of your yard, you can meet with a hardscaping company representative for a personal consultation. The fact is that a retaining wall may improve safety, diminish the impact of erosion on the property, reduce flooding and have other positive results too. With a personal consultation with a hardscaping company representative, you can learn more about whether this is a good option for your space or what alternatives may be available.

There are numerous benefits that you can enjoy through the installation of a retaining wall. There is no better time than right now to begin learning more about these benefits and to start taking advantage of them.

Why Professional Paver Installation is Recommended

 
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Pavers come in many shapes, sizes and colors but are fundamentally individual bricks used to cover an outdoor surface area. Underneath the bricks and bedding layers lies bare earth that shifts and heaves with the seasons. Weeds, rain, freeze and thaw cycles can wreck havoc on pavers not installed according to proven methods for longevity. Here are a few reasons why professional installation of pavers is a good idea.

Paving is Labor Intensive

The ground surface below the pavers requires precision preparation to an exact depth. Various aggregates from gravel to sand need to be placed and compacted to provide a stable surface area with adequate drainage for paver installation. Even for a small patio or short walkway, this requires removal of a large amount of dirt. A driveway of pavers requires removing soil measured in tons. The displaced soil is replaced with gravel and sand. Professionals use powered equipment to prepare the surface evenly. Also, displaced dirt needs to be hauled away.

Calculating Materials

Installation of a small paved area outside of an entrance door may be a weekend project for a do-it-yourself homeowner. However, most paving projects homeowners envision are long sidewalks, garage driveways, pool areas and backyard patios. This requires ordering gravel and sand measured in cubic yards along with ordering an accurate amount of bricks required to complete the job without falling short or having too many left over. An error in calculating material needs will have homeowners running out and having to pay extra delivery fees or having to dispose of a significant amount of leftover aggregate or bricks upon project completion.

Brick Placement

Practice is what makes for precision patterns in masonry work. Do-it-yourself paving jobs require learning as the work progresses. Errors in laying out paving bricks evenly is readily apparent in the finished project. Measurement errors result in the need to cut bricks into smaller pieces. Cut bricks have less ground stability, especially at the edges. Professionals measure to avoid cutting bricks on a project as much as possible.

Grading the Surface

Runoff from rain is a major concern for larger paved areas. A rainstorm will cause hundreds if not thousands of gallons of runoff. All of that water needs to go somewhere. Professionals will grade the surface area to prevent runoff from going toward the structure. Amateur installations can result in wet garages and homes if proper surface grading is not completed. Larger paved areas require installation of drainage systems to carry away runoff.

Longevity of a surface areas where brick pavers are installed requires more thought and preparation going into the layers and systems beneath the actual bricks than to the layout of the bricks themselves. Professionals have the tools and expertise to prepare the surface area where brick pavers are going to be installed. Homeowners in a rush to complete a weekend project may cut corners or miss a crucial step due to lack of training or experience. This results in displacement of bricks that become trip-and-fall safety hazards. For the best brick paving job, hire experienced professionals.

What is Decorative Concrete and Why is it so Popular?


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Decorative concrete is becomig a popular option for use in outdoor areas. Long gone are the days of boring gray pavers. There are now numerous choices in colorful and interesting designs for both home and business landscaping. Here is a bit more about decorative concrete and the reasons why it is so popular.

About Decorative Concrete

Decorative concrete, also known as stamped concrete, is concrete that is fabricated with various patterns, embossing or colors to give an appearance of other natural materials or to add flair to the look of walkways, driveways patios or other outdoor areas, as well as interior flooring. Decorative stone can be made to look like stone, brick, tile, wood and other materials. Base color, accent color and decorative patterns or designs can be added to the concrete to produce the unique look you desire.

Visual Appeal

One of the immediately noticeable benefits of decorative concrete is its beauty and visual appeal. The number of styles and patterns available allows nearly endless possibilities in design choices. You can truly create a look that is all your own and one that complements the style of your home.

Durability

Decorative concrete is incredibly durable. It can withstand various weather conditions better than natural materials. There’s also no need to worry about the color fading in decorative concrete finishes because they are applied in a manner that is resistant to sun damage. In addition, concrete is not as susceptible to mold or other allergens as more porous materials may be, so it is a healthier option.

Low Maintenance

Maintaining your decorative concrete surface is easy. A sealer application will be needed about every four years or so and is based on the weather in your region. Also, cleaning is easy. A simple spray of the hose should do it.

Flexibility

Decorate concrete is such a flexible product for various surfaces. You can install it for use in driveways, patios, walkways or even pool decks, among other uses. It can even be used for indoor floors, countertops and backsplashes.

Affordability

Consumers love decorative concrete also for its affordability. It is far less expensive than the cost of other materials like stone, slate, tile or wood. However, it doesn’t look cheap. You can obtain a beautiful look that is durable and fits within your budget, making decorative concrete an increasingly popular choice for home improvement projects.

These are simply the highlights of what decorative concrete is and why it is so popular these days. You can likely find a number of additional reasons for why this material may work for you and your upcoming home improvement endeavor.

What Are the Best Ways to Clean and Maintain Decorative Concrete?


033_Molde Abanico (www.concretesystem.com.pe)

Caring for Decorative Concrete

Decorative concrete adds visual interest and stunning appeal in a variety of ways. Interior uses include durable flooring and counter tops. Drive ways, patios, and landscape design are a few of the exterior possibilities. With an array of options, such as color and design, it is becoming a popular addition to many homes and businesses.

Decorative concrete is also easy to clean and maintain. It requires minimal upkeep which fits well with the busy lives that most of us have today. Unlike carpet, which stains easily, concrete stands up to spills and is effortlessly wiped clean. With little care, your surface can be enjoyed for decades to come. Follow these steps to keep it looking beautiful.

Exterior Surfaces

1. Outdoor surfaces should be swept regularly to remove dirt build-up. A mild detergent may be used to scrub more stubborn areas or where spills of food and drink have occurred. Rinse the concrete clean to remove any soap residue.

2. Avoid using deicing salts. These salts are harsh on any surface and may break down the seal on the concrete.

3. If your surface begins to lose its shine over time, contact your concrete specialist for options to restore its luster. It may need to be sealed every three to five years or more often for heavily used areas.

Interior Surfaces

1. Interior surfaces need to bedust mopped regularly. Microfiber cleaning pads work extremely well. They seem to attract dust and small particles like a magnet.

2. Wet mop as needed to clean up spills and light scuffs. Mild cleaners may also be used. Neutral cleaners are better for your floor and often require no rinsing. Contact your concrete specialist if you have questions regarding the best cleaners to use on your specific surface.

3. Like most flooring, heavy foot traffic can cause noticeable wear. Some floor waxes and polishes can provide an extra layer of protection over theconcrete sealer and help prevent scuff marks and scratches.

4. Avoid dragging anything, especially furniture or appliances, across the floor. Depending on what type of finish is on your concrete, dragging could cause unwanted scratches.

No surface is completely damage proof. Unexpected things happen. In the case of natural disasters or major accidents, or if you notice damage of any kind, contact a professional before attempting to make repairs on your own.

5 Things You’re Doing Wrong to Your Patio

Working so many hours and spending so much time out of the home for sports, meetings and other activities, many families find themselves underutilizing their backyard. Do your own experiment. Pull back the curtains, open the blinds and take a look at what’s outside. You may find that underneath the piled up furniture and kids’ toys, there’s a vibrant patio just waiting to be used.

Here are five common things that you’re doing wrong with your patio, and why the kids think the yard is ‘boring.’ Don’t worry – it’s not too late to transform your space and make it functional once again!

1. You’ve let it become a storage space.

The patio unfortunately becomes a hub for dumping things: lawn furniture, outdoor toys, decorations, pet cages and so forth. You may have found that over the years, it’s easier to throw things on the back patio, shut the windows and carry on. But, you should treat your patio with the same respect as any other room in the home. It’s time to declutter and see what’s really underneath there.

2. You don’t follow a paver maintenance plan – or even know what one is.

If you’ve let things pile up on the patio, then you probably don’t follow any type of maintenance plan. Patio pavers are durable and long-lasting, but they do require some care. A good maintenance plan includes cleaning, sealing and weed control. These steps need to be taken periodically to prevent stains, weed growth, mold problems and structural problems. By following this plan, you can enjoy a prettier patio, and you won’t have to replace the pavers down the road.

3. It has more colors than the color wheel.

Stains are common on patios, and yours may be sporting shades of black and green from mold and weed growth, as well as other stains from grease, rust and leftover Popsicles. Most stains can be removed with a mild detergent and a wire brush. A good power washing will also do the trick and restore the natural color of the pavers. Just be sure that you don’t spray directly into the joints because it could disrupt the sand.

4. It gets left off the list come spring cleaning time.

Patios need regular cleaning. Each spring, make it a priority to remove all the furniture from the patio and give the surface a good sweeping and washing. Wash chair cushions, and clean off tabletops and chair frames. Remove old soil from planters, plant fresh ones and dump out standing water. Just a bit of attention goes a long way in making your patio fun for the whole family!

5. It goes underutilized and underappreciated.

Remember, your patio is an extension of your home. By cleaning off patio furniture, setting out the umbrella and opening the grill, you’re giving yourself many reasons to be in your backyard. Think about some of your other hobbies, too. Perhaps a new grill purchase, a stone firepit or a pergola will make the space more enjoyable and practical for your household.