Category Archives: Patios and hardscapes
A well-designed and properly constructed patio or hardscape is worth its weight in gold. Building a patio that will hold its shape and structure over time is more difficult than it looks and gives merit to the old saying ” you can’t judge a book by its cover.” The beauty of a finished hardscape can mislead you because at its surface, the patio looks like perfection, but the thought and methodology that lies below is what keeps it looking that way for years to come.
The first step to building a quality hardscape involves having the knowledge and training to proceed with the project. Archadeck of Northern Virginia is certified through the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). Being a certified concrete paver installer means your project will be completed right the first time because ICPI certified installers are industry professionals who recognize industry standards. ICPI certified concrete paver installers also learn all of the many details required for concrete paver installation excellence, including soil classification and compaction, bedding and joint sand selection and installation, proper material and labor estimating plus sound business practices. Knowing that your builder has taken the time to become properly trained and certified speaks volumes about the satisfaction you will get from your patio, from the first day of enjoying your completed project to years down the road.
A quality hardscape project is not as easy as it appears. There are many layers required to a successful patio installation that you don’t see when looking at the finished project. These steps are very important to the longevity of your patio. First, we prepare the ground for the patio. This may include grading and digging footings. Grading is the process of leveling the ground and is crucial to patio design. If the ground isn’t properly graded, it will lead to an uneven outdoor living space that can structurally degrade over time. Grading may include removing or adding more dirt to the space and packing (tamping) it down until it is firm and even.
If your project entails a simple patio, footings may not be required as a preparation. However, if your project will also include an amenity with substantial weight, like an outdoor kitchen or outdoor fireplace, footings will be a necessity. Footings are essentially bases for extra-large structures.
Following proper site preparation of the soil and any footing requirements, the layers begin. The first layer that is placed on the ground is called base stone. Base stone is key to keeping the patio level over time and seasonal changes. Once the stone is laid in place, it is then tamped down. In the same fashion as the dirt below it, the base stone will be packed down to make sure it is level.
After the base stone layer is completed, sand is spread and leveled just as the previous layers. Sand helps keep the pavers in place when placed on top by keeping everything in place before it is secured into place. Once everything is placed it is then time to secure the patio face. Along the sides of the patio, we install an edging materials that digs into the ground. Some projects may even include a border of soldier course or sailor course pavers around the edge to enliven the patio design. Edging material, and bordering the patio, works as a barrier for the pavers. The most common way to lock your paver patio in place is to use polymeric sand. The sand is spread and swept on the surface of the patio, working its way into all the intricacies of the entire space. Then it will be exposed to water. When it gets wet, the sand will harden, similar to concrete.
Building a patio is a layering process, and each step must be completed appropriately and by a trained installer to ensure your outdoor space will stay beautiful, and level for the long run. Over time, improper installation methods can cause pavers to shift and move with the elements. Uneven patios can cause outdoor furnishing to sit unlevel and can be an accident waiting to happen; leading to stubbed toes and even twisted ankles, sprains and other injuries.
Hardscape and patio additions go together beautifully with decks, porches, three and four-season rooms and even sunroom additions. No matter which type of outdoor living space you have in mind, a hardscape will add a layer of function, beauty and style like no other. Contact Archadeck of Northern VA to learn more about quality hardscape patios designs. Call us today for a free quote • (703) 746 – 8169 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patios are highly functional outdoor living structures. Not only are they stunning and add tremendous character to a space, they are also strong and quite easy to maintain. Patios work great as a singular structure, and also easily fit into an outdoor living combination space because of their laid back design and simple lines. Patios are generally built using hardscape materials. This can include man-made (synthetic) stone or pavers, brick pavers, and a host of natural stones that are typically referred to as flagstone. Flagstone is a very general term that denotes any large, flat natural stone that is between one and four inches thick. Stones of this nature are created by splitting or cutting and include sandstone, limestone and slate ( which actually comes from shale.)
Archadeck of Northern VA recently began stage #2 of an outdoor living combination project located in Falls Church, VA which includes a screened porch and deck. The homeowners decided to add a patio because the location they wanted to utilize for outdoor living not only was a challenge to grow grass, it was also an area with a lot of slope making it difficult to gain sure footing or position outdoor furniture for sitting. In looking through various galleries, including Houzz, they found a patio design that they liked and discussed the idea during our design consultation. The idea would transform a once problem spot into a celebrated area perfect for outdoor living — a match made in heaven!
The initial phase marked the completion of the screened porch addition which added a more robust outdoor living space for versatile outdoor living, as we move into phase two, the homeowners decided slate to be the best choice for the patio addition. Slate, like other types of natural stone, are very popular among upscale outdoor living spaces and here is an in-depth look at some of the reasons why…
Slate is a building material which has been used in the construction industry for many years. It’s beautiful and rustic appearance makes it the perfect choice among homeowners who are looking to build a new patio and is often used to build paths, walkways and even front porches. Maintaining slate is quite simple and the material itself can be simple (though labor intensive) to install. However, since it is a naturally occurring stone it can be delicate to work with because of its thinness. If installed properly slate patios will last in excess of 50 years or more and will be resistant to freeze and thaw conditions, hot weather conditions and rainfall – making it one of the most versatile materials for patios available.
One benefit of choosing to build your patio from slate is that this flagstone material used to construct the patio is a stone which is unique in every way. No two pieces are ever the same shape or size and this enables you to create a highly individualized space, like no other. The coloring and veining of the slate is something that is hard to emulate and get an exact match, ensuring your patio is a true original! Whether the size of patio is large or small the stone will complement the entire surround of your yard because of its naturally rustic appearance. Of course, the added benefit of slate patios being very low in maintenance is also a draw. Slate can also be sealed to ensure longevity.
Maintaining a slate or other flagstone patio is very simple and effective. If any harsh debris, leaves or dirt occur on the surface then it should be swept off immediately to ensure it doesn’t stain or mark the surface of the patio. Sweeping regularly will also remove dust and dirt which lies on the surface daily and can penetrate through to the actual flagstone over time. Chemical cleaners should not be used on a regular basis because they will strip the slate of its natural coloring. Sealing is recommended to prolong the life of your patio and protect it from furniture scratches.
Hardscape and patio additions work well in unison with many other outdoor structures including decks, porches, three and four-season rooms and even sunroom additions. No matter which type of outdoor living combination you have in mind, a hardscape will add a layer of function, beauty and style like no other. Contact Archadeck of Northern VA to learn more about our patio designs including flagstone and other hardscape mediums as well as our versatile outdoor living combination designs. Call us today for a free quote • (703) 746 – 8169 • email: email@example.com
You can see more inspiring outdoor living combinations that include hardscapes by visiting our patio and hardscape photo gallery and our outdoor rooms photo gallery located on our website.
Many homeowners have that one certain spot in their landscape that is a constant source of headache. Whether you have a shady spot that stays wet all the time due to lack of sunlight, poor soil conditions and underlying drainage issues or a spot that is too cumbersome to mow and maintain, these obstacles are a cause for concern. Having an area within your landscape that is non-functional does not have to be tolerated. Archadeck of Northern Virginia is the area’s premier outdoor living structure designer and builder. Through our expertise and experience, we have been able to resolve many issues for homeowners here in the NoVa area by transforming their non-functional backyard into an area they can utilize and be proud of.
Archadeck of Northern Virginia can turn the table by transforming your high-maintenance, low aesthetic space into a low-maintenance, high aesthetic space. As an example of this type of transformation, we travel to Oakton, VA where we recently transformed this…
These Oakton, Va., homeowners were faced with a double-dilemma. Not only did a portion of their backyard space remain wet during most of the year, they previously had a landscaper install a natural stack stone wall that was weathering. The combination of mud and grass made the area difficult to mow, an eyesore for the homeowners and a space that lacked function. As with any possible drainage issue present in your landscape, it is extremely important to consult with an expert prior to addressing water issues. In this particular case, Archadeck was able to manage the moisture concerns in this backyard by installing an underground drain, three catch basins and a channel drain along the fence line to resolve the drainage issue. In addition to overcoming the drainage problems, we were also able to transform this once non-functioning space into an area the homeowners now enjoy.
The hardscape addition marks one phase in this total backyard transformation project which included fixing the drainage problem and adding an open porch and deck addition as well. Archadeck of Northern Virginia began the hardscape portion of the project by replacing the existing retaining wall with a curved Belgard hardscape wall. Since the design is curved, and tiered, it follows the same gentle transition as the grade of the property as well as serving as a functional work of art to the backyard. The retaining wall is functional too, in that it adds space for the homeowners to add additional plantings and flowers within the raised portion without having to worry about maintenance. By adding new plants into the wall, there is no worry of edging or having to de-weed these areas in the future. To add to the allure of the wall, we also integrated outdoor lighting into the stone ledges of the wall to enhance function when traveling the hardscape path during the evening.
The second portion of the hardscape project includes the addition of natural river rock and beautiful curved stepping stones down the once problematic path. The curve of the stepping stones compliments the curve of the retaining wall and creates a low-maintenance path way surrounding the new covered porch and deck space. We finished up the project by adding a small Belgard paver patio located off the deck. The homeowners can use the outdoor living space the patio provides for grilling, entertaining and other extended recreational activities.
If you have an area within your landscape that is a constant source of concern and lack-luster in appearance and function, contact Archadeck of Northern Virginia to transform it into an area you will cherish. Our low maintenance outdoor living space designs will give new meaning to the old saying “a thing of beauty is a joy forever!” (703) 746 – 8169
See more backyard transformations by visiting our patio and hardscapes photo gallery located on our website.
Archadeck of Northern VA discusses why a hardscape gets the best supporting role nomination in your outdoor living combination space
We often talk about the benefits of adding an outdoor living combination to your backyard. Take a look into the pages of any upscale home and garden magazine and you will see that combining two, or in some cases even three outdoor living structures is high on the top of many homeowners’ backyard wish list. Choosing a combination outdoor living space rather than a singular outdoor structure can provide more aesthetics and versatility to the equation and allow you to use your backyard like a vignette of outdoor rooms. Among the most popular structure used in combination with decks, porches and even 3 and 4 season rooms is the hardscape patio.
The term hardscape refers to any solid material used in outdoor pavements or landscaping. These can include concrete, which can be stained or stamped to gain a more decorative effect, pavers, brick, synthetic stone and natural stone. Hardscape patio spaces continue to increase in popularity because they add value and durability to your outdoor space and are low-maintenance. Adding a hardscape will enhance your outdoor living space and will pay for itself in the long run. By adding a hardscape space such as a patio to your outdoor living area you can add depth, texture and rustic appeal. This is accomplished by mingling the natural elements hardscapes provide which create a tactile feature that you can see and feel. Take a look at just a few of the patio and outdoor living space combinations possible in this video created by Archadeck of Northern VA…
Combining structures that work in unison will give you the freedom to designate a separate function for each space. A hardscape patio is considered part of your landscape whereas decks and porches are generally connected in some way to your existing home, this feature also makes the patio the perfect structure to descend into from a deck, porch or 3-season room and add additional functional outdoor living space. Patios are also considered low-maintenance which is often an overlooked benefit of owning a hardscape. Patios are easy to maintain and only require a quick sweep of leaves or debris to clean. If something happens to one paver, it can be removed and replaced without disrupting the structure around it.
Many patios are set at grade level and have no step down to the yard. This concept opens up a plethora of options for many backyards that otherwise could not facilitate the addition of a deck or porch. A quality hardscape outdoor space can enable homeowners to open the back door and enter directly into their outdoor space with little or no transition. Patios additions are a wonderful way to take advantage of outdoor living when other structures aren’t applicable and will also add versatility as part of an outdoor living combination structure where homeowners can get the best of both worlds.
Hardscape and patio additions go together beautifully with decks, porches, three and four-season rooms and even sunroom additions. No matter which type of outdoor living combination you have in mind, a hardscape will add a layer of function, beauty and style like no other. Contact Archadeck of Northern VA to learn more about hardscape patios and our versatile outdoor living combination designs. Call us today for a free quote • (703) 746 – 8169 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Springfield, VA paver patio is part of an outdoor living combination that provides the best of both worlds
This stunning paver patio in Springfield, VA is part of an outdoor living combination that includes a versatile four season room. The two spaces combined provide ample room for outdoor and indoor function and tons of aesthetic appeal. Since the homeowners have such a beautifully wooded backyard, they are now able to enjoy their backyard from both angles. The patio provides a space to entertain, dine and grill and be at one with Mother Nature. The 4-season room also provides an indoor space at their disposal when they want protection from the elements and insects but still allows them take advantage of the great view. The combination truly gives them the best of both worlds.
Since theses Springfield, VA homeowners loved the outdoors but hated the upkeep of lawns and landscaping the decision to add a paver patio to their outdoor space made sense. Not only does the patio require very little maintenance it also adds valuable outdoor living space to the backyard. In this particular scenario adding the patio alleviated a drainage problem within the yard as well. We were able to grade it in preparation for the patio construction to get rid of any standing water issues within the backyard.
The customer’s decision to move forward on the paver project (at the same time as building the four season room) was due to the efficiencies involved with grading the backyard, pouring the new basement stairs at the same time as excavating and pouring the foundation for the 4 season room.
We used Belgard Dublin Cobble pavers for the graduated paver patio design. The pavers were installed using polymeric sand which delivers a durable interlock of the pavers. Using polymeric sand also prevents washouts, inhibits weed growth and ant infestations which are common when using regular sand. These pavers offer a vintage, tumbled look that works great with the homes ranch-style architecture. By choosing a gray hue the homeowners were able to blend the gray bricks used in their masonry with the patio. The design also includes a Belgard Celtik wall with a flat top and beveled edge making it perfect for a seating wall. This seating wall adds even more function and aesthetics to the project. Along with the patio we also built a paver walkway that leads around to the driveway from the rear of the home, and we added pavers to the concrete steps which we repoured. As part of adding to the cohesive beauty of the project we also applied stucco to one wall facing inward towards the patio. The homeowners are ecstatic with the new space and all the diversity it adds to their lifestyle.
Archadeck of Northern Virginia can provide the same outdoor living dream come true for your backyard. Whether you are ready to refurbish an existing deck or take on an outdoor structure combination such as this,Our design process can involve staged building, which is completed in phases to accommodate your lifestyle and budget.Whatever you imagine your outdoor space to become; we can make it a reality. Contact us today for a free consultation (703) 746 – 8169 email@example.com