Properties Magazine March 2017 : Page 66

Landscapes + Hardscapes Strong Selection Which material is right for your hardscaping project? Provided by the National Association of Landscape Professionals f you’ve decided to make the investment in a new outdoor living space, you naturally want to make certain that you choose the right materials. You want something that looks great and something that will stand the test of time. For some property owners, using materials that will enhance their property’s resale value is also an important consideration. While still others seek low maintenance materials as they want to do little more than create a relaxing outdoor oasis. I There are four primary materials used in most hardscaping projects. Here’s an overview to help you understand each and the options they present. Concrete Concrete is typically the most afford-able choice for hardscaping projects. A natural color, broom-finished concrete slab is the most basic and least costly of all concrete options. A simple concrete slab can be colored, either by a dry or liquid pigment or by staining a finished slab. A more labor-intensive process is used to create exposed aggregate concrete. With this finish, the installer presses a layer of small aggregate (stones) into the top of the pour, and then washes the con-crete away from the stones in the top layer, leaving a unique, textured finish. The most expensive type of concrete for hardscapes is stamped concrete. With this finish, pigments are dusted artfully over the concrete after the slab is poured. Stamps are then used to create impres-sions that can look like brick, stone or even wood planks. Concrete’s lower cost is certainly a virtue. One concern some building owners have with concrete is that cracks and chips are hard to repair, and a damaged surface may expose a com-pletely different color beneath. slabs and even irregular flagstone pieces. Many manufacturers also offer permeable pavers, which allow rainfall to perco-late back into the groundwater, removing pollution and impurities in the process. Concrete pavers are simple to maintain, and repair is easy as well. If an individual paver is damaged, you simply remove that one paver and replace it with a new one. Twenty years ago pavers may have presented some maintenance issues as the sand in the joints needed replaced, but that’s no longer a concern as polymeric sand is used in paver joints, creating a flexible joint that won’t wash out. gone global, you can even find more unusual colors on flagstone imported from Asia and South America. Quality flagstone of an appropriate thickness for the given application results in a durable, beautiful product. Thicker pieces may be “dry laid,” meaning that they are set on a bed of sand or stone dust and not mortared into place. Flagstone can also be wet laid, mean-ing it’s bonded to a concrete slab with mortar and the joints are grouted. Which to choose depends on budget, aesthetics and site conditions. Travertine pavers If you love the look of marble indoors, it may surprise you to learn that you can bring that look outside as well. Travertine pavers are rectangular pieces of marble typically cut to a one inch thickness. Believe it or not, travertine has enough compressive strength that it has been used for driveways. Colors generally range from white and cream to golds, silvers and even yellow-orange. Travertine pavers can be dry laid or wet laid, much like flagstone. Which material is right for your hard-scaping project? You’ll need to consider your budget, the look you’re after, and what’s suited to your individual property. Your landscape professional can walk you through the options and help you make the decision that’s right for you. P The National Association of Landscape Professionals, Inc. (NALP) is an organization built by the collaboration of landscape and lawn care professionals from across the U.S. For more information, visit www.loveyourlandscape.org. Properties | March 2017 Flagstone Flagstone is what many people think of when they consider a stone patio. The type of stone can vary depend-ing on where you are in the country, creating a true sense of place. In the Southwest you may see buffs, tans and even reds in regionally quarried stone. In the Midwest, you’ll see tans, browns and grays. On the East Coast, the colors of Pennsylvania flagstone – grays tinged with blues, greens and rust – dominate. As hardscaping has Concrete pavers Concrete pavers have become a popu-lar choice for several reasons. First, they offer a wide array of price points. Next, many pavers are durable enough as to be rated for use on driveways and even roads; and finally, there are numerous design options. Concrete pavers may be shaped like traditional bricks, cobblestones, large 66

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