Landscaping Ideas and Tips that will turn your yard into the picture perfect landscape you’ve always wanted. Keep in mind that landscaping does not have to cost a fortune. With a few practical ideas and a healthy dose of creativity it isn’t difficult to breathe life into your landscaping without breaking the piggy bank.
Start with a Plan: This is the most important part of the process. Landscaping on the spur of the moment could translate to the mistake of a lifetime. Make an actual sketch of your landscaping plans in order to identify which materials you will need and by what quantities. Planning ahead minimizes waste and guards against impulse buying. Another way to make sure your landscaping plans proceed with minor financial hitch is to build your project in phases. Breaking up your landscaping plans in stages allows you to allocate your resources wisely, analyze your progress, and make adjustments when necessary before moving on to the next stage.
Consider consulting with a landscape professional: This can prove to be a wise investment in the long run. A landscape professional can make your landscaping plans easy on the bank account by recommending money-saving alternatives and steering you away from costly mistakes.
Brick Paver and Flagstone Walkways and Patios: First ask yourself what is the intended purpose of your walkway: informal or formal? Construct your walkway and patio using the same type of materials so that when you tie all items together they do not look out of place. For low traffic areas, you can create walkways with stepping stones and ground covers. The construction of brick pavers are installed the same way in a walkway as they are in a patio or driveway. The construction of flagstone is installed the same way in walkways and patios.
When planning your walkway or patio, it is important that you don’t forget to include your landscaping lights to illumination at night. There are so many choices today with landscape lights. It’s no longer necessary to run a lot of underground wires. Instead, try some of the new solar lights available. If you’ll be going the traditional route of wired lighting, be sure and pre-wire before you install your walkway. It will be necessary to guide the wires under the ground and often under the walkway. By pre-installing the lighting, you’re able to avoid more work later on.
Brick pavers and flagstone come in various sizes. The dimensions of most brick paves are usually around 4″ x 8″. The first step in construction is determining how many square feet of walkway you’ll need. Generally, walkways should be a minimum of 32″ wide, and may be as wide as 60” to 72”. Patios should be not only wide enough to accommodate a table and some chairs, but also walking space for your guests to move around without having to walk through bed or lawn areas. Generally patios should be at least 12’ wide. To determine the square footage measure your width and length. Multiplying these two numbers together will give you your square footage.
Next, you will need to purchase your materials. To allow for cutting or damaged materials you will need to purchase about 10 percent more than you think you’ll need. This will allow for broken and chipped pavers or flagstone that are mixed in with the flat and for the cutting of those same materials.
Next you need to determine your base. Most walkways and patios are set on a bed of crushed stone and sand. The amount of crushed stone needed will be determined by the amount of traffic. For most walkways and patios, a 4″ depth of crushed stone is sufficient.
Now comes the fun part – the construction phase: You will probably need to remove soil to provide a base for your walkway or patio. Consider the height of the pavers and the depth of the base materials. After the soil has been removed you will need to use a plate tamper to compact the soil into a firm base. This is the most important step. This step insures the bricks will remain in place through the years. For additional insurance you may want to install a fabric barrier helping to prevent silt and fines from migrating from one area to another, thus changing the characteristics of your base thereby increasing possibility that your patio or walk could deform over time. Next, install the crushed stone. Again, use a plate tamper to firmly compact this base material. Now, you can install your border material. The border material is used to insure that the flagstone or pavers remain firmly in place. In this stage do not anchor all of the borders. This will allow for some adjustments if the pavers or flagstone don’t fit perfectly and some adjustments in the border are required. Once the border is installed fill the area with sand one inch thick. Use a fine mist of water over the sand to show any areas that may contain air pockets. Make sure to firmly pack and repair any uneven areas. After completing this step it is time to begin laying the flagstone or brick pavers. Begin in the corner that has the anchored edging. Fit your pavers snugly together with no more than a 1/8″ gap between each paver. You may allow for slightly larger gaps in between flagstone if you desire. Continue to lay the flagstone or brick pavers until all are in place. Once all are installed, you may anchor the other border to the ground. Now, sweep polymeric sand into the gaps to lock the pavers in place. Polymeric sand is used to maintain certain characteristics of the pavers or stone, and hardens making it resistant to water washouts, ants and weeds. If you have installed a brick pavers use the plate tamper to set the brick firmly into place. You would not do this with flagstone. It may be necessary to sweep another layer of sand into the crevices after settling has taken place. Inspect your walkway and patio about once a year to determine if this step is needed.
Don’t forget that the same steps above can be used to build a driveway of brick pavers. In that case however, you will want to use a deeper base of crushed stone so it’s able to handle the heavier traffic.
Natural Stepping Stone Path: When installing a stone pathway you will first want to mark the area you will be using for your walkway marking paint or with string. This type of path does not have to have formal edge. Use gentle curves to guide your path through the points of interest you choose. Once you’ve decided on the design you will need to remove any sod or plantings that are in the path. If desired you may use plastic or metal edging to help prevent grasses from growing into your path area. After your edging it is recommended that fabric be installed to help prevent weeds from growing through your loose material. Now, you can begin strategically placing your stones throughout the path. Be sure not to place them too far apart, or too close together. Your steps should be natural throughout the path. Next, you will want to add base material under each stone to help keep them securely in place. Lastly, you can fill the exposed areas with fine bark mulch. If you desire your pathway be installed in grass then you will not need any edging or fabric. After securing the stones with a base material install soil in the exposed areas and then seed or sod.