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Hardscape

Welcome to our Hardscape Page!

Diamond Lawn & Landscapes is a superior hardscape installation company. We have worked on many different hardscape projects from design to build-out. Whether you need a new entrance way to your home, a backyard patio to relax on with family, or a retaining wall to make unusable yard space useable, we’ve got you covered!

We are ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) & NCMA (National Concrete Masonry Association) certified installers. Installing hardscape structures such as paver patios, paver walkways, paver driveways and retaining walls by following the proper steps can significantly increase the life of the structure. Not following the important steps can be cause for imminent failure of the project. This is why it is so important to hire a professional with the required certifications and experience. In addition, contractors must also have the right equipment to perform each step of the job.

Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems

Hardscape made of these are not only more appealing than concrete or asphalt, but more durable. Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems are interlocked individual concrete pieces that can flex, preventing cracking due to expansion and contraction. The interlocking system also gives them the ability to distribute weight across the base, preventing cracking from heavy loads. Due to this, distribution of weight degradation is also minimized. Interlocking concrete pavement systems have high resistance to freeze and thaw cycles, de-icing salts and no damage from petroleum products or indentations from high temperatures. The color of the paver goes through the entire unit and will not discolor from the sun. Permeable pavers are also very eco-friendly by reducing storm water runoff while increasing infiltration rates by returning the water to nature. Permeable pavers could start to revolutionize future building plans in the world where run-off is a major concern. Since the pavers are cured at the manufacturing plant at intense levels there is no waiting time once they are installed. Some of these specifications are based on specific manufacturer’s guidelines so determining where the product comes from is also important.

Foundation Soil

The first step in any type of hardscape project is excavation. Once excavated, we must be able to determine the type of soil we will be building on to know how well it will drain and how well it will compact. In the Lehigh Valley you typically find coarse-grained soils and fine-grained soils. Coarse–grained soils or granular soils are ideal for building a hardscape structure. Coarse-grained soils drain better, are easier to compact and have a higher shear strength than fine-grained soils. When building on fined-grained soils, added measures may be needed to ensure proper compaction and drainage. Achieving maximum compaction is most important in any hardscape base. Without maximum compaction the project could settle, sink, heave or shift. Determination of soil types will determine depth of excavation. General excavation is approximately 12” in depth.

Geotextiles

Geotextile fabric is placed between the foundation soil and your aggregate base material. The fabric helps prevent the foundation soil from being pressed into the base material. This will help prevent future settlement issues. The geotextile fabric will also preserve the load bearing capacity over a longer period of time. Geotextiles are extremely important when building on fine-grained soils.

Aggregate Base

The aggregate base is a stone base installed after the foundation soil is compacted and geotextile fabric has been installed. The aggregate base (Modified stone) is determined by the mixture of properly sized manufactured stones from larger stones to fines. An improper mixture of stone sizes can cause the base to be unsuitable. The aggregate base must reach maximum compaction using proper compacting equipment and the right amount of moisture. Traffic loads, foundation soils, foundation soil drainage, moisture, and climate all play major roles in determining the thickness of the aggregate base, installed with a minimum compacted depth of 4” over well drained soils. Installing the aggregate base properly will determine the life span of the project.

Bedding Sand

Bedding sand is a concrete sand with large enough granules to drain and compact the pavers properly without getting a wavy effect like you would with the use of finer sands. Leveling the sand or screeding it is important in determining how smooth or flat your paver surface will be. If there are dips or pits in the sand they will show in the final product. We screed 1.5” of concrete sand over top of our aggregate base.

Pavers, Brick Edge and Polymeric Sand

Laying pavers in non-compacted sand is a task and when done improperly can result in uneven pavers. Knowing where to begin laying the pavers is important and how to pitch the pavers for water run-off is crucial. Picking out different laying patterns is also important. Once the pavers are laid a brick edging restraint must be installed using large spikes. Once the brick edge is installed, we compact the pavers into the bedding sand. After they are compacted polymeric sand is swept into the joints. The pavers can then be re-compacted to ensure that the polymeric sand works its way into all of the joints. The polymeric sand is then moistened and once dry will harden solidifying the project. Keep in mind that there are many different paver products to choose from to fit the homeowner’s specific wants and needs.

Retaining Walls

There are two types of retaining walls: gravity and reinforced walls. Excavating depth and width for a retaining wall will vary depending on soil types, height of wall, surcharges on the wall, etc.  The width of the trench where the base course of wall is installed should always be 12” wider than the retaining wall block while the depth of the trench will vary, allowing a 6” minimal depth of compacted aggregate base and 6” minimal embedment of retaining wall block.  The wall is then installed on a thin layer of screenings (crushed stone), as opposed to concrete sand, for a level installation. Leveling the first course is very important. Gravity walls use their own weight for retaining and are therefore limited. Behind and at the bottom of the wall we install a perforated pipe, minimum of 4”, to collect and disperse water. The pipe is then covered with a clean stone (no fines in it), a minimum of 12” from back of the wall to the retained soil, preventing hydrostatic pressure among other factors. Cored, or hollowed, wall block must also be filled with clean stone. We then install a low permeable soil cap behind the wall.

Reinforced walls are structurally stronger due to their installation. Some reasons why geosynthetic reinforcement walls are used are; when the maximum height for a gravity wall is exceeded, surcharges on the wall are greater due to slopes, live loads, etc., and poor foundation soils. Excavation behind a geosynthetic reinforced wall is more extensive due to the installation of geogrid reinforcement. Geo-grid reinforcement is a high strength woven fabric connecting the wall units to the reinforced soil which increases the mass of the wall/soil system. The geogrid is placed every couple layers, approximately every 2’, depending on the wall system and the wall is then backfilled with clean stone and adequate compacted soils.

Once a project is complete Diamond Lawn & Landscapes takes pride in a full clean-up of the construction area so your new hardscape project is ready to enjoy!

Hardscape

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