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Father & Son Team Uses Interlocking Pavers as Their Canvas

By Bruce H. Soileau, Consultant to Pavestone Company

Riverstone Blend were selected for the main patio area, while Holland Stone pavers in pewter, red and sandstone were chosen for the floral design of flowing vines and flowers as well as the soldier course. Once the vines were drawn correctly, they cut the pavers down to six inches in length and worked with them until they appeared correctly. To keep the leaves uniform, the contractors made templates and placed them along the vines to give it a realistic appearance. Then, petals were hand-drawn for each flower. Jim and Justin cut pavers for 10 days. The chamfers were cut off the pavers to make it appear as one paver. An error in calculating the time needed for cutting out intricate designs can make or break a paver contractor. This step has taken the Hampton team some time to perfect, but now this type of project is their specialty.

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Creating unique and elaborate paver designs and hardscapes takes someone with an active imagination and the skills of a master craftsman. Multiply that by two, and you have the nationally recognized father and son team of Jim and Justin Hampton, owners of Paver Designs LLC in Omaha, Nebraska.

This team tackles landscape projects many contractors avoid, and does it without any other employees. They prefer to work each job together so they can concentrate on crafting the best hardscapes possible. Their goal is to provide clients with an aesthetically pleasing project that is structurally sound, safe and functional.

Jim Hampton carefully hand draws the flower design, while Justin Hampton uses a flexible edge restraint to get the curves just right.

One such project is a residence located near Bellevue, Nebraska. The project began when the homeowners contacted Paver Designs to work on a steep hillside. The project quickly blossomed into one with a 3-tiered wall on the hillside, as well as the creation of an outdoor living space.

The owners gave the contractor a general idea of what they were looking for and practically free rein to come up with a design for the outdoor living space. The primary restriction was that they maintain a low-profile view, allowing the family to observe the deer, turkeys, woodchucks and other wildlife from the home. Safety for children and adults was carefully designed into the patio to guarantee smooth transitions from each area, ensuring there were no tripping hazards such as steps and ledges.

One of the team climbs up onto the roof to see if the drawing was proportional. If something did not look right, they would wash the chalk off and redraw until it looked correct. There were many trips up and down the ladder onto the roof during this project.

The Patio

Jim and Justin Hampton began by laying out the patio's shape. The contractors installed a base consisting of 162 tons of crushed, recycled concrete. This was done to raise the patio approximately three feet on one end where the yard sloped steeply.

(After) The 3-tiered retaining walls built into the steep hillside were constructed of a 3- and 6-inch limestone colored Anchor Highland Stone Free-Standing Wall System. Flat river stones were cut in half and glued into 1-inch deep pockets chiseled from random blocks.

(Before) The steep hillside that the homeowner no longer desired to mow was the main reason for beginning this project.

The Retaining Walls

The 3-tiered retaining walls built into the steep hillside were constructed of a 3- and 6-inch limestone-colored Anchor Highland Stone Free-Standing Wall System. Flat river stones were cut in half and glued into 1-inch deep pockets chiseled from random blocks.

This paver project by the Hamilton team included a fiery design of red flames surrounding a fire pit on a spacious patio surrounded by flower-top light poles.

The Extra Accents

They built drainage outlets into the wall to assist runoff from the yard, and camouflaged the drains with mulch, river pebbles and large granite boulders throughout the area around the patio. Natural stone was incorporated wherever possible to give a more natural look. Columns around the patio and on the hillside retaining wall were topped with spheres manufactured and painted by the homeowner's lawn-ornament shop. The spheres are solid and heavy, so the contractors welded vertical posts in each column as support.

The contractors used Techniseal polymeric sand to stabilize paver joints, while paver enhancer was used on the flowers, vines and leaves for added surface protection. 12-inch galvanized spikes were installed as the border restraint. A pond was built with three waterfalls, complete with boulders in front and multi-colored LED lights on a color wheel beneath the falls. ''It's a pretty cool place at night with the lights in the falls and the colors reflecting off of the spheres. Wild turkey and deer wander out onto the patio in the evenings,'' declared Justin Hampton.

The floral design was drawn freehand with colored chalk onto the pavers. The paver design duo stands back to view the elegant drawing in chalk before the laborious cutting begins.

Hardscape Design Ideas

When asked how he and his dad generate ideas for designs, Justin Hampton explained, ''We've come up with ideas from many places, something as simple as seeing a design on a Kleenex box, or sometimes we sketch out the shape of a patio or driveway that we're going to do, make a bunch of copies, then start hand drawing ideas until we get something that looks good. Sometimes the homeowners have ideas, but usually they let us come up with the designs.'' Justin continued, ''We give the homeowners printed design options with pricing, and let them choose what they like best and what fits their budget.''

Jim and Justin recently purchased an overhead projector to project any company logo or image on to plywood or paper. From there they blow it up to the desired size, hand trace it, and then cut it out, making a perfect replica of the design needed. ''It's like making a giant stencil, which makes our job a little easier,'' explained Justin.

The entire 2,100 square foot project took the 2-man team approximately six weeks to complete.

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June 18, 2019, 7:00 am PDT

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