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Curb appeal. It’s that good impression that a prospective buyer receives when looking at a home for purchase. It starts at the curb before the buyer even walks into the home.
As more homeowners recognize the value of improving such first impressions, there’s a growing interest in landscaping — with plantings, stonework and the creation of points of interest, such as fountains or enclosed spaces. As some designers have said, “the garden is the new kitchen.”
Lately, the desire to improve curb appeal has also meant the creation of a distinctive driveway. Treating the driveway as part of the landscaping is one of the hottest new design trends.
An increasingly popular driveway design choice is also a practical one: concrete pavers.
Many homeowners consider concrete pavers a more attractive and permanent solution than asphalt — an important investment in improving their home’s curb appeal. Pavers are easier to maintain and last longer without needing to be repaired.
For a prospective buyer, the driveway suggests how a home is maintained. If buyers see an immaculate driveway, they assume everything they can’t see in the home might also be well maintained.
Real estate experts say it’s easy to recoup the cost of a driveway upgrade. In fact, it may be doubly recouped when you sell the house.
Pavers provide a safe, slop resistant surface in beautiful beige, coral, multi-colored or darker blended colors, as well as blends with flashed tones to harmonize with a home’s exterior cladding.
Other effective ways to enhance your home's curb appeal include:
- Patios: A well-designed patio made of interlocking concrete pavements can enhance the character of your home and provide extra entertaining space.
- Pool decks: Concrete pavers are an excellent way to integrate the pool visually into your landscaping design.
- Walkways: A properly paved walkway can frame your home. To lend more grace to an entrance, walkways should be at least three feet wide and gently curved.
- Lighting: At night, lighting can increase safety and add ambiance in patios, walkways and driveways.
For more information about concrete pavers, visit the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute website at www.icpi.org. Dreamscapes Landscape & Design is an ICPI Certified installer. To schedule a consultation to discuss your project give us a call at 360-580-5106 or fill out our contact form.
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Many homeowners desire the high-end look of stone on their property’s walks and driveways at more modest concrete prices.
One way to do this is with interlocking concrete pavers — a pavement type that is growing in popularity. Also called segmental paving, the basic technique is as classic as the roads of the Roman empire. Interlocking concrete pavers use high-strength, durable concrete units that interlock together to form a patterned surface which can be put into service immediately.
Pavers are manufactured in various shapes, textures and colors. A big benefit of pavers is that they can be removed and reinstalled, which reduces future service interruptions.
Concrete pavers are available in a wide range of styles. For instance, one is crafted to resemble roman paving stones.
Paver units are often used in historic restoration projects, such as streets in historic areas. Since paver units are uniform in size, they offer a smoother ride and are easier to repair than their historic cobblestone counterpart.
The popularity of pavers is expanding rapidly in the United States and Canada. There is plenty of growth to go; in Europe there are 10 square feet of pavers installed per person annually, however, in North America it is just under two square feet per person. In the Netherlands, most of the streets and sidewalks are pavers.
Dayton, Ohio and Toronto, Ontario are two of many cities that have used concrete pavers in historic neighborhoods to enhance the area’s image and support the investment by residents in their homes.
The ability to produce pavers in a wide variety of shapes and colors makes it possible to use them in colorful, attention-grabbing ways that can add to the character of the home. For example, Overtown, Florida created an urban park that used pavers in patterns and colors taken from Kente Cloth, a non-repetitive weave from North Africa.
To learn more about using concrete pavers in a patio or driveway, visit the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute website at www.icpi.org. Dreamscapes Landscape & Design is an ICPI Certified installer. To schedule a consultation to discuss your project give us a call at 360-580-5106 or fill out our contact form.
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The day you realize your walkway or patio is starting to look like an obstacle course is the time to think about replacing it.
Replacing a walkway, driveway or patio is known as hardscaping, and finding a hardscaping contractor who can design and install one that suits your house, your sensibilities and your pocketbook often requires diligent research and some price comparison to get the best value for your money. Not surprisingly, the best value is not always the cheapest.
A growing number of homeowners have discovered that one of the most versatile and customizable pavement options is interlocking concrete pavers. That said, the next step to a new walkway is finding the right person to install it. In order to ensure a quality installation, you should ask questions of the contractor like:
- How long have they been installing pavers?
- Have they been trained by a manufacturer or the ICPI? Are they ICPI Certified Installers?
- What percentage of their total business consists of installing concrete pavers?
- Will they provide you with three references? Be sure to ask for references from recent andpast jobs. Can you contact their references and inspect the jobs?
- Do they have a portfolio of photos and letters to qualify themselves?
While the contractor is working on your property, they should be insured for any damage and injuries that may occur. Check your homeowner's insurance policy for coverage of the contractor while on your property.
- Can the contractor provide proof that worker's compensation insurance covers all employees on the job?
- Do they have current liability insurance? Ask for a copy of the certificate.
- Will they install the job per ICPI specifications? Can they supply a copy?
- Do they provide a written, itemized proposal outlining the scope of work and terms of payment? It should include starting and completion dates, demolition and excavation, paving and base materials, and taxes.
- Do they guarantee their work and will they return to inspect it?
- Are they members of the ICPI or other associations?
Check out the Contractor Comparison Checklist. You can learn more about concrete pavers and find an ICPI Certified Installer by visiting the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute www.icpi.org. Dreamscapes Landscape & Design is an ICPI Certified installer. To schedule a consultation to discuss your project give us a call at 360-580-5106 or fill out our contact form.> Add a comment >
Have you ever considered adding a water feature to your landscaping? Water features add sound, texture, and movement to landscaping designs and help homeowners to feel that their surroundings are more natural and unique.
Landscaping water elements are eye-catching, but they're more than that. A functional and eye-pleasing landscape consists of several different elements working harmoniously together. One landscaping element that greatly contributes to the overall beauty of a design is water. Including water features in your landscaping provides some unexpected benefits.Add a comment >
If it’s time for the deck in your backyard to walk the plank, you may want to look into replacing it with a raised paver patio.
It’s not surprising that the addition of raised concrete paver patios in the backyard is a growing trend. Raised patios using segmental concrete retaining walls and interlocking concrete pavers give homeowners the beauty of natural stone at surprisingly modest prices. They’re also maintenance free.
There are a number of practical reasons why raised patios have become a favorite family gathering place in so many homes. Patios using concrete pavers are not only beautiful, they can be easily installed and are known for their durability. Also, raised patios with segmental concrete retaining walls create new space in sloped backyards, and can even extend an existing raised deck.> Add a comment >