Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Installing a Brick Paver Patio (Part3)



You will lay all of your brick and overlay your area by several inches.  After you have layed the entire patio you are ready to mark out for your cuts and cut your bricks.  You can either cut the bricks individually, or you can draw a line and cut your brick with a cut-off saw.  If your line is curvelinear, it will look more professional to make long cuts with the cut-off saw.  This will be extremely dusty, so you will want to blow the dust away so you can see what you are cutting.  You will also want to wear eye and ear protection, as well as a dust mask.
After all of the cuts are made you are ready to install your soldier or sailor course.  After all of the soldier course pieces have been installed, you are ready to install your brick paver edging.  If you are installing around curves, you will want to cut the edging every few inches so that a rigid piece of edging can be allowed to flex with the curve.  You will need to drive 10" long spikes through the edging to secure it in place.  Along the driveway on this patio, we mixed up concrete and troweled it at a 45 degree angle in case the car ran over it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Installing a Brick Paver Patio (Part 2)

The next step in installing your brick paver patio once you have completed compacting the base material is to lay out 1" diameter black plumbing/gas pipe every 5-7' as screed rails.  You will set the height of the screed rails exactly the height of your brick underneath the string lines that you have strung across your patio.  You will first set the ends of the screed rail and then you will lightly pack sand underneath the middle so that the center of the screed rail cannot droop or sink, causing a possible dip in your brick patio.

You will then take and spread sand between the screed rails and then take a board and sreed the sand across the screed rails.  Once you have screeded the sand across the rails, gently and carefully remove the screed rails and set them off to the side. You are ready to start installing your brick.

When you come to where the screed rails were located you will carefully trowel some sand in the hollowed out places where the rails were located and trowel out that sand so that it is smooth.  You may then continue laying you brick.

Installing a Brick Paver Patio

Most Do-It-Yourself Homeowners think that installing a brick paver patio or walkway is easy.  They don't realize the steps that we as professional installers go through to ensure that their patio installation is perfect when it is finished.  In this post, I will explore setting the grade for you brick paver patio and excavating the area for you brick paver patio.

First, we mark out the area with marking paint, adding 1 foot all the way around the outside of the patio.  If the patio is square and measures 10' x 12', your marked out area should be 11' x 13.'  Yes, this will mean you are excavating a lot more soil out of the area and using more base material, but this will help make your brick paver patio more stable around the edge.

When you are excavating your patio, you should be excavating a minimum of 9" deep depending on the height of the brick pavers you have selected.  You should measure down 9" from the finished level of where you want the brick pavers to be.  The reason we excavate to a 9" depth is so that we can install a consistent 6" of base material, as well as a 1" leveling or bedding layer for the brick pavers.  We prefer a 6" depth of Crushed Concrete (equilvalent to 23A) or 23A Crushed Limestone Gravel, depending on what is available in your area.  We are now installing every patio and walkway in our area with the crushed concrete and having excellent results.


Going back to our example patio, we would excavate approximately 3.33 cubic yards of existing soil.  We would compact that area with a vibratory plate compactor (3) times, every time in a different direction.  Next we would lay out a qulaity underlayment material that is manufactured as a woven matrix.  This allows water to drain through, as well as keeps the base material from mixing with the underlying existing soil.  It will also help the patio from sinking if there is a soft spot.  When you are excavating your patio it is also recommended to watch for soft, spongy spots for these can cause your patio to move or sink in those areas.  Because of our clay soil content in Michigan this is a very common thing.  The final success of your patio is all based on the success of how you constructed and installed the base material.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Decorations in the Landscape (Part 2)


Christmas Decorations in the Landscape


It is always exciting to see how people decorate the outside of their homes for the various holidays throughout the year.  This homeowner creates something different every year.  Take a look.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dry Creek Beds



Dry creek beds or dry riverbeds, as they are also known, are used to direct water which flows through a property.  It usually follows the natural path of the water, containing it and preventing erosion at the same time.  Even though it is completely visible, unlike most drainage is installed underground, a dry creek bed or riverbed can be asthetically pleasing as well as a functional addition to your landscape.  A dry creek bed also gives the illusion of water without having to build or maintain a water feature.  A well designed and installed creek bed will look extremely natural.

Different sized stone, from pea stone to create sand bars to large boulders that the dry creek bed meanders around help to create this natural look and feel.  River rock is oftten used on the top to give the dry creek bed a more 'worn and weathered look.'  Other features that help create the look are the use of plants around the dry creek bed.  Additional items that can be included are a decorative bridge, landscape lighting, walkways, etc.

Landscape Labor Solutions skilled landscape laborers deliver fast, efficient solutions to drainage problems for residential and commercial property owners throughout the mid-Michigan area.  Our experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled landscape laborers offer a full list of problem solving skills to assist you with correcting your drainage dilemmas.  We invite you to check out our Drainage & Grading Solutions web page to see pictures of our Landscape Laborers drainage work.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Get the Hamburgers & Hot Dogs Ready!


Winters nip is here, but I need to think about Spring to help get me through this miserable time of year. This is a good time to start thinking about your Outdoor Entertainment Area, what most of us refer to as the patio. Have you ever thought about having an outdoor kitchen? Maybe something custom built around your gas grill? A place where not only can you prepare and cook meals, but family and friends can hang out and be near you while you are preparing the food. The 'Off' season is a good time to start planning your hardscape wants...such as patios, walkways, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, sitting walls, etc.

Welcome to the Landscape Labor Solutions Blog

Welcome to our blog. We started publishing this blog as a way to keep our clients informed about new landscaping products, landscape services (which from this point forward will be referred to as skills), and other news about our business.

What we will publish here:

- Project photos
- Company news
- New landscaping supplies
- New landscaping skills that we offer
- Landscaping tips and advice
- And more

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This blog is an additon to our main website, which provides a lot more information about Landscape Labor Solutions. Also on the main website you will find a variety of before and after pictures of projects we have completed. We also invite you to view our client testimonials.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Enjoying Your Water Features in Winter





December 17, 2009 Posted by Marty Strobel

I thought I would post a few pictures of some water features that are looking amazing with all of the ice. Its pretty cool to think that even though all of the greenery and flowers are gone, the landscape is still ever changing!

Salting Concrete Sidewalks in the Winter.


December 17, 2009 Written by Marty Strobel


When maintaining our sidewalks and steps during the wintertime it is extremely important to be aware of the potential damage we can do to our concrete surfaces. Most homeowners and business owners do not realize the damage that common rock salt does to our concrete surfaces.


When we spread rock salt on a concrete sidewalk, the rock salt melts the ice and snow creating a wet slush which eventually turns to a liquid. This salty liquid seeps down into the porous concrete, eventually refreezing. With the constant freezing and thawing that takes place, this causes the concrete surface to pit and spall.


The best de-icing 'recipe' to use on our concrete surfaces is to look for de-icing products that contain a mixture of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium chloride. This will be a little more gentle on your concrete surfaces. Contact your salt suppliers to see if they have any products that meet these ingredients. Your sidewalk will thank you.


It helps to some degree to seal your concrete surfaces, this will be covered in another blog post.