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A Family Affair




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The Pratt Guys, Jacksonville, Fla., built this entire backyard hardscape project at a home in St. Augustine, Fla. The backyard of the home faces a part of the golf course of the St. John's Golf and Country Club. The job required 1,130 square feet of pavers, and 13 pallets of blocks. The Pratts used Keystone Retaining Wall Systems' Stonegate Country Manor blocks for the retaining wall, seating wall and kitchen. Munich Wall blocks were used for the fire pit. Tremron manufactured all of the hardscape products. Three brothers own and manage the business: Jason, 34; Derek, 32; and Adam, 25. The Pratt brothers have been designing and building hardscapes since 2004, and business has been so successful they have expanded with two showrooms.


The Pratt brothers are avid outdoorsmen, so it seems only natural that their livelihoods revolve around building amenities for people who love to be outside.

Pergolas are their specialty, but the Pratts also design and build patios, driveways, retaining walls, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens. Their company prides itself on making everything to their customers' wants, needs and specifications.

The brothers, as co-owner Jason Pratt said, live by a simple motto: "Enjoy the earth from the backyard." And they seem to have done pretty well with their family-owned business -- The Pratt Guys. Here is an indication of just how much their enterprise has grown. Since they opened in 2004, brothers Jason, 34, Derek, 32, and Adam, 25, have expanded by adding two showrooms, one outdoors and the other indoors. Each is 2,000 square feet in size.

Construction of the showrooms began in 2013 and was finished in 2015. Total cost of these projects was $350,000. The Pratt Guys, based in Jacksonville, Fla., display mainly custom pergolas, outdoor kitchens and concrete countertops in these spaces, along with some paver products.

At the same time, Jason Pratt said his family comes from a typical middle class setting and was careful when it came to financing the showroom expansion.

"We've been extremely picky about not asking banks for money," he added. "We didn't think we would need the showrooms."

But as it turned out, business has taken off since the Pratts added them.

Jason runs the operations side of the enterprise -- he is called the "Authority" of the business -- and also handles community relations and community outreach. He has a background in communications and journalism, and he also does much of The Pratt Guys' marketing and promotions through social media.


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The Pratt brothers began the renovation by locating underground utilities. Then came the excavation process, as they dug a continuous 12" x 12" trench around the perimeter. The trench was compacted and then crushed concrete was installed. "This material compacts extremely hard to form a sufficient base to properly support the retaining wall," Adam Pratt said. The Pratts used blocks in a color called sierra for the wall. Commercial filter cloth was then installed behind the wall to prevent erosion from backfill seeping through the crevices of the wall.


His brothers design and build most or all of the projects. They are both talented, creative and imaginative, especially Adam Pratt, who was just 13 years old and still in high school when The Pratt Guys opened their business.

Jason Pratt said this youngest brother took wood shop in high school very seriously, and not only did he excel in the class, Adam built some "truly amazing things." The teacher never expected such fine workmanship from any of his students, according to Jason.

"At 13, he had done things 20-year-olds couldn't do," Jason Pratt said.

The Pratt Guys invest a lot of time and money into home improvement shows, but it's always well worth the effort. One show they attend regularly is the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show. Jason Pratt said his company typically comes away from this event with anywhere from 50-70 client leads, enough business to carry the Pratt Guys through an entire year.

A good example of the extraordinary craftsmanship the Pratt brothers are noted for can be seen at a backyard renovation project at a home in St. Augustine, Fla. The backyard of this particular residence faces a part of the golf course at St. John's Golf and Country Club.

The job required 1,130 square feet of pavers, and 13 pallets of blocks for the retaining wall, seating wall, kitchen and fire pit. The majority of the project was built using Keystone Retaining Wall Systems' Stonegate Country Manor blocks. All of the hardscape products were made by Tremron.

Adam Pratt explained how this project was completed from start to finish. The Pratt Guys met with their client in 2014 and that is when the Pratt Guys embarked on the project.


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8" x 8" posts for the pergola were installed in the ground, and the rest of the patio was backfilled with paver fines. The Pratt Guys graded and compacted the patio with a 1-inch slope per 10 feet for good drainage. Prior to the graded paver fines, an electrical contractor installed the underground conduit. After the ground was graded, the Pratts created the outdoor kitchen, also with sierra colored blocks. The pergola is 17' x 17' with a span of 12' x 12'. The pergola structure is comprised of 8" x 8", 2" x 12", 2" x 10", and 2" x 2" timbers that are perpendicular to one another and interlock for greater strength and stability. All the wood is pressure-treated pine.


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After the kitchen was completed, the pavers were installed for the patio area. The Pratt Guys used a paver called Mega Olde Towne, also in the sierra color, and then built the seating wall. The rest of the pergola and the low voltage lighting fixtures from VOLT Landscape Lighting were installed about this time as well. The 30-inch fire pit, in a color called oak run, and the kitchen appliances were then installed.


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To put the finishing touches on this project, the patio was pressure-washed, and a sealant was applied to enhance the pavers. The Pratt Brothers re-sodded unpaved areas around the patio, and installed greenery in some planters.


The first part of the process involved locating any underground utilities. Once this was completed, they began the excavation process and dug a continuous 12" by 12" trench around the perimeter.

Once the trench was dug and compacted, the Pratt brothers installed crushed concrete. "This material compacts extremely hard to form a sufficient base to properly support the retaining wall," Adam Pratt said.

For the retaining wall, the Pratts used hardscape blocks in a color called sierra. Commercial filter cloth was then installed behind the wall to prevent erosion from backfill seeping through the crevices of the wall.

Then 8" by 8" posts for the pergola were installed in the ground, and the rest of the patio was backfilled with paver fines. The Pratt Guys properly graded and compacted it with a 1-inch slope per 10 feet for good drainage. Prior to the graded paver fines, their electrical contractor pre-ran the underground conduit.

After all the ground was graded to perfection, the Pratt Guys then created the outdoor kitchen, also with sierra colored blocks.

"All of our kitchens are only built out of the best products," Adam Pratt said, "all concrete construction, to provide clients with an outdoor kitchen with many years of outdoor entertainment."

Once the kitchen was completed, the pavers were installed for the entire patio area. The Pratt Guys used a paver called Mega Olde Towne, also in a sierra color. The seating wall was built, and Munich blocks, in a color called oak run, were used for the 30-inch fire pit. The rest of the pergola and the low voltage lighting fixtures from VOLT Landscape Lighting were installed about this time as well.

The pergola is 17' by 17' with a span of 12' by 12'. The pergola structure is comprised of 8" by 8", 2" by 12", 2" by 10", and 2" by 2" timbers that are perpendicular to one another and interlock for greater strength and stability.

"All the wood is pressure-treated pine. However, cypress and cedar make for a great pergola as well," Adam Pratt said.

Finally, the patio was pressure-washed, and a sealant was applied to enhance the pavers. The Pratt brothers re-sodded unpaved, open areas around the patio, and even installed greenery in a planter to cap the project.

"When we think about creating the ideal backyard oasis, no hardscape product does it better than Stonegate Country Manor," Jason Pratt said. "This innovative system transforms a backyard into the ultimate space for entertaining and relaxing."






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