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Hardscape FAQs and Maintenance

The first question I get when finishing a paver patio or other hardscape project almost always refers to maintenance procedures. After all, these projects are investments and they have to be protected accordingly. Click HERE to get information on paver maintenance and ways to protect your patio from weathering and fading.

Absolutely! Segmental pavers are used in municipal applications very frequently where heavy plows will be clearing the snow. They will function no different at your home. In fact, because pavers are generally darker in color than standard concrete, they will melt your snow a bit faster as well. If you are worried about shoveling, ask about installing radiant heat under your paved surface and never lift a shovel again!

Hardscaping has become a massive industry for 3 simple reasons. The first reason is the return on investment. A properly designed and installed project will pay dividends and add significant value to your home. The second is the beauty and curb appeal created by hardscape features. A home with professionally installed hardscape features will stand out as a home with distinction and class. The last reason is that hardscapes inspire creativity in outdoor living. The patios, kitchens and living spaces we design for our customers help create family memories that last a lifetime.

Pavers can get a bad rap when installers cut corners. Compaction and base are the most important factors when installing pavers and if done properly, pavers outlast concrete. HERE is a great resource sheet to compare advantages of concrete/pavers/ashpault.

Most contractors wont do this, but my pricing model is simple. Most paver projects are going to be between $12 and $18 per square foot installed. This includes all materials and labor to install the patio. The variance accounts for the style and expense of the paver chosen and the techniques applied in its intallation like fabrication and engineering. Concrete is around $10-$18 per square foot depending on the style of concrete.

Paver surfaces have been in use since ancient times and many of those paver projects are still in use today. The beauty and versatility of pavers is a big reason, but here in Minnesota, pavers offer an additional advantage. The freeze/thaw cycles that we experience here allow for two kinds of concrete in Minnesota: The kind that has cracked and the kind that WILL crack. Pavers already have the cracks built in. They flex with the cycles to form a paving surface that allows for some movement. Concrete is rigid and allows for no movement, instead of bending, concrete breaks. If pavers do ever heave/dip they can be easily re-laid where concrete must be destroyed, hauled away and re-poured at great expense.

Most municipalities require an open fire pit to be 25′ from a flammable structure/structure attached to your home which can include decks, sheds, garages and porches. With that said, in most applications, we are not only builiding a raised stone enclosure for the fire, we are also surrounding it with brick pavers which provides some added protection. In most cases, the code does not apply to fireplaces. It is wise to check with your local fire department for more information.

Short answer: It depends. Vehicular applications with a standard paver installation can be 12+ inches thick compacted in 3-4″ lifts. Permeable paver applications can be much deeper depending on the volume of water anticipated to pass through the system. A pedestrian walkway or patio is typically 4-6″ thick. If there is a high clay content or drainage issues, we may employ underlayment fabric and /or thicken the gravel base considerably. We use the ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute) installation process. For more information on the ICPI Click HERE

Most municipalities require any retaining wall over 4′ tall exposed height to be permitted as it is considered to be a load bearing wall. The permitting process requires a geo-tech engineer to stamp the plan for the retaining wall before the permit can be issued. Devine Design employs Pre-engineering software so the engineering process is simplified saving the client money and making the process more streamlined.