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Pave that Drive
Pavers Make Striking First Impressions

A permeable paver project in Gilford, N.H., included a 2,400-square-foot driveway that Natures Elite Landscaping installed using mostly Belgard Subterra permeable pavers. The base is 16" of compacted 2" gravel and 6" of compacted 3/4" gravel. The final bedding course is 2" of 3/8" chip stone that was screeded with 2" pipe laid out eight to ten at a time to space the pavers that were then leveled with a 10-ton hydrostatic drive-on roller.

This 10,000-square-foot driveway in Ladue, Mo., was constructed with County Materials' Serenity-colored Tranquility pavers, edged with a sailor course of Grand Milestone Timeless. Landesign of Moscow Mills, Mo., chose the colors and patterns of the concrete pavers to coordinate with the existing brick and block of the house.

An old asphalt driveway was first demolished. Landesign decided to follow the existing grade contours from the street so that there was minimum impact on the lawn areas. This resulted in a minimum pitch of two degrees and a maximum pitch of five degrees. The new base was constructed with 8" of compacted limestone followed by 1" of a sand-leveling course. The landscape company chose concrete pavers to reduce the need for maintenance and to hold up to recreational use. After compacting the pavers into the sand, the joints were filled with polymeric sand.

The hardscape projects featured in these pages are more often than not in the backyard of a residence. But a property's hardscape usually starts out front - as a driveway, which is the first impression a homeowner can make on guests and passersby.

Driveways come in many forms: from the economical yet functional types such as gravel, stone, macadam (also known as tar and chip), and asphalt, to the common and durable concrete drives, to the truly eye-catching ones made of stamped concrete, bricks, pavers or the somewhat rare and expensive cobblestone.

Paver driveways with their multiple colors and patterns are time-consuming endeavors - having to fit each stone by hand, and often having to cut-to-fit before setting them - but the results are almost always striking as the following projects demonstrate.

A Blended Expanse
In LaDue, Mo., a busy family with teens wanted to renovate all their hardscape to maximize their enjoyment and minimize maintenance. They contracted with Earth Works of nearby Perryville to pave their parking areas, and to build an outdoor entertainment area with a kitchen, covered patio, and an elegant and solidly constructed outdoor fireplace made from concrete masonry units with the look of natural stone.

The desire for an easy flow between the parking area/basketball court and the patio presented a design challenge, as did the limited patio placement options due to the need to tie in to the existing roofline. Placing the grill area on the driveway side of the patio, with an additional buffer of plantings, helped achieve a smooth, user-friendly transition.

The homeowners were so impressed with the results that they decided to expand it to include the entire 10,000-square-foot circular drive as well. Earth Works chose Tranquility pavers in Serenity tone from County Materials for the job. The pavers' colors, and the patterns that the masons created, mirror the house's bricks and blocks. Grand Milestone Timeless pavers were used to edge the drive.

Now the homeowners have a very handsome hardscape that is extremely low-maintenance. And the large span of pavers in the driveway is the most striking feature of the installation.

The 30-year-old concrete driveway and apron had settled at this home in River Falls, Wis., causing drainage issues that needed to be addressed. To do so, Jon Schroetke installed the new driveway with a 12" base of of class five installed in 4'' lifts, which were compacted each time. The interlocking concrete pavers have a stone-textured surface that resembles hand-cut flagstones. Tranquility pavers in the blended Timeless color are bordered with a double sailor course of Elements paving stones in Reflection and Vision color.

Beautiful, Permeable
A residence set back only 90 feet from Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin had to comply with Department of Natural Resources' regulations requiring permeable surfaces on paved areas of waterfront properties. So when the homeowners needed to replace their driveway, they looked for a contractor with experience installing permeable pavers.

The one that made the cut, Stumpf Creative Landscaping, and the homeowners together chose H2O Pro Pavers in Oasis and Vision colors by County Materials for the job. These are a higher depth, durable concrete permeable paver often used in parking lot applications, so will hold up well under driveway traffic. All three available sizes were used for the main part of the driveway in a 75/25 percent mix of blended buff-colored pavers with solid cream. Combining the two different tones on site required careful consideration of placement to create a harmonious, uniform effect.

The same paver style in the four-inch by eight-inch size was used to create an appealing double border consisting of a two-layer dark brown sailor course on the inside, edged with a soldier course of the same cream color used in the drive. The paver colors blend with the home's siding, brick and trim.

A matching walkway curves from the drive to the front door, ending in a decorative partial circle to define the entryway. The border's brown sailor course was reduced to one layer, so as not to overwhelm the smaller area. The job took the two-man crew a day's worth of cutting, out of the week spent installing the project. Landscaping beds were also added as part of the project. Limestone boulders provide a decorative accent that helps transition the hardscape to the surrounding areas.

The project's storm water filtering capacity and proper drainage were primary concerns. The crew had to excavate a deeper base to create a clear stone reservoir to filter stormwater. The base layers included 12 inches of two- to three-inch clear stone on the bottom, topped with 12" of 3/4" clear stone, and a final additional inch of smaller clear stone gravel on top. No fines were included in order to facilitate drainage. The crew also installed a drain tile system. During rain or snowmelt, the water will disperse slowly down through the paver system to the lake through the tile system. In the process, it removes impurities and sediments that could compromise lake water quality.

Stumpf Creative Landscaping built a residential 1,150-square-foot driveway and walkway located in Menasha, Wis., with County Materials' H2O Pro Pavers in Oasis and Vision colors in a mix of 75 percent of the buff color with 25 percent of the cream color. The same paver style in the 4"x8" size was used to create a double border consisting of a 2-layer dark brown sailor course on the inside, edged with a soldier course of the cream color. To address stormwater filtering capacity and proper drainage concerns, a deeper base was excavated to create a clear stone reservoir. The base layers included 12" of 2" to 3" clear stone on the bottom, followed by 12" of 3/4" clear stone, and 1" of smaller gravel on top with no fines.

Also installed at this residence was a matching walkway that curves from the drive to the front door. The border's brown sailor course was reduced to one layer, so as not to overwhelm the smaller area. The week spent installing the job by the two-man crew included a day's worth of cutting. Landscaping beds were added as were limestone boulders that provide a decorative accent and help transition the hardscape to the surrounding areas.

As an afterthought, a 1,400-pound granite millstone was installed as the centerpiece of the driveway at this home in Alton, N. H., by Nature's Elite with help from Swenson Granite of Concord, N.H., which supplied the stone. The work was 95 percent complete when it was decided to add it. Once the millstone was set with a boom truck with a lift, the final pavers were cut to fit around it.

The narrow one lane, two-way road that the home sits on presented some challenges during construction. The crew worked hard to keep traffic disruption to a minimum. They put up working signs, and made sure to get equipment and material off the road as quickly as possible. This included gravel deliveries, which required careful coordination between crew and driver. Once the gravel was on site, it had to be removed and put into place without delay.

This project successfully meets permeability zoning requirements, while at the same time delighting the homeowner with its function and beauty.

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October 20, 2019, 5:46 pm PDT

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