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Practical pathway practices


Published: 06/20/2012


When planning to build agarden path, consider such elements as texture, colour and durability of the materials. The materials you select should match the fasade and style of your home.

You should also consider the general "look and feel" of your garden -- a formal setting will generally require different materials than an informal design. You also need to consider drainage and grading in the design.

Interlocking concrete pavements are typically constructed on a compacted soil sub-grade and compacted aggregate base. (When building walkways with interlocking concrete pavers, proper compaction and installation of the sub-base materials is essential. Proper compaction eliminates settling.) Hand-sized concrete pavers are then placed on a thin layer of bedding sand placed on top of the base.

Next, the pavers are compacted, sand is swept into the joints, and the units are compacted again. When compacted, the pavers interlock, and create a flexible "forgiving" pavement. The sand in the joints enables loads to be spread over a wide area, reducing the stress on the base and subgrade.

Pavers create an elegant, beautiful and durable surface, which will last a minimum of 30 years when installed correctly. The textured surface provides safe traction for pedestrians, wheelchairs and vehicular traffic, even when wet. The various shapes, textures and colours allow homeowners to co-ordinate and customize the appearance of their landscaping and home.

Some of the newer products on the market are "tumbled" paving units which co-ordinate nicely with many garden designs.

In recent years there has been growing recognition of the significant impact of landscaping on property values. A 1997 study determined that the actual selling price of homes with "superior" landscaping was approximately seven per cent higher than homes with "average" landscaping.

Tips for planning automated irrigation systems

More and more homeowners are investigating the use of automated lawn and garden irrigation systems. These innovative systems save both time and water. Whether you are starting a new landscape project or doing modifications to an existing site, a few things should be considered if an irrigation system is in your plans.
* The water source: It is important to have access to a sufficient size water source, usually 1/2- in., but preferably 3/4-in. supply pipe, or larger. The source needs to be linked to anywhere the sprinkler needs to water. 
* Location for a timer: The timer is usually located in the basement or garage. A small wire needs to be connected from the timer to different areas of the lawn and garden.
The Landscape design: It is helpful to have a good understanding of what type of landscape you would like to have. That doesn't mean that you have to know exactly what you want in advance, but you should plan the general shapes and locations of gardens, patios, decks, fences or walkways to allow you to have the ability to adapt your sprinkler system.
Conduit and sleeving: Once you have the landscape plan figured out, you can determine where conduits or sleeves need to be installed before the hardscapes are completed.  Sprinkler lines can then be inserted through the conduits for easy installation and servicing or can be installed directly under smaller things like walkways or garden retaining walls.
Time frame: As with other seasonal businesses, irrigation companies become extremely busy during the summer months and lead times can be many weeks or even months long. Talk to irrigation professionals early and have them co-ordinate things like conduits, sleeving, planting and garden bed installation into your landscape project.


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