Think of paving as the floor for your New Orleans outdoor kitchen and hallways. The term paving describes any surface that is not planted and is suitable for walking or driving. Driveways, parking areas, walkways, sport courts, and patios are just a few examples of hardscape paving. Paving materials vary greatly and can be broadly categorized as impermeable and permeable. Impermeable surface asphalt, concrete and brick or stone mortared to concrete slabs are firm enough to shed storm water. These surfaces lend an air of permanence and formality. Carefully plan and design the areas that will paved with impermeable surfaces since this materials are usually used in permanent hardscapes. You’ll be looking at these areas for a long time, so have a solid plan in place that will provide you with many years of use and satisfaction.
You will usually need to hire a contracting to pave areas with impermeable materials, since the subsurface requires preparation to prevent cracking. First of all the area need to be carefully graded to prevent water from pooling in areas especially near the foundation of the house. Poured in place concrete also requires forms to hold it in place until it had cured and a contractor can set and remove the forms properly. Precast concrete pieces such as stepping stones are already hardened and ready for placement, but the area still needs to be graded correctly to keep the material from shifting permeable surface provide firmer surface than the ground alone but still allow water to penetrate. They give your landscape a more informal tone than an impermeable surface. Gravel and mulch are common example of permeable materials. If you’re looking for a way to create a different look to this hardscapes the size and color or gravel stone can make the difference. Larger stones are less formal while the smaller the stone the dressier the appearance. Dark stones tend to make the prettiest pathways but a light color is a nice contrast to the surroundings.
If you are interested in a “middle ground” consider stone, brick or pavers set in a sand of gravel course.they have a stronger presence than gravel or mulch alone. Sand set bricks tend to shift over the years, making a surface uneven so they may be reset over time. Moss and plants may grow in pocket that occur between the stones, creating a whole different look to the hardscape as the time passes.
Impermeable paving materials in sand or gravel beds need to be contained with steel,stone,brick or wood edging the to keep the materials out of plantings and create a definitive border to the hardscape. Paving is a great way to transition from one space to another. Example irregularly shaped stones set in a loose gravel path my lead to a patio made of the same stone mortared to a slab. A rectangular inset of cut stones centered in the patio act acts much like and exterior area rug, lending subtle identity and a touch of formality to a sitting area. Different shapes of interlocking cement blocks, cut stone or patterns made with bricks can create different effects that will highlight the hardscape. Examine you plan for areas that will be paved and consider different materials to achieve the look you want. Its important to know what you can do yourself and when it’s time to call a contractor. A brick on sand patio project or a gravel path lined with brick or stone is within the skill of many home owners. Its best to hire a contractor for larger jobs such as paved driveways or patios to be sure the job is done right. If you’re going to do it your self, projects with straight line are easier than those with curves, Also project with dimensions that are divide into an even number of bricks or blocks are easier than those that require anything to be cut to fit. Always work out the pattern on paper before you begin to be sure you’ve got the right amount of materials and can handle the job yourself.
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