It's always nice when I'm meeting with a homeowner about their upcoming hardcape project. Many times I'm met with a rough drawing or sketch. We want the patio here or the walkway here and roughly these dimensions. I love starting out this way because I can further develop the design so that the original idea can be enhanced and developed into the clients dreams. This is the first step and what we do is create a 3d design. Below is the 3d pictues used for this project.

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On this particular project, the challenge was to blend the patio area with the driveway area. This lot has a lane way that runs through the back of this house. There are about 8 homes that share this lane way for their parking requirements. All these homes back on to a belt line trail, it's very nice when the backdrop is all green.

Traffic patterns had to be taken into account, the homeowner wanted to keep the area open and not box in the patio part from the driveway portion. That is why there is no psychical separation between driveway and patio. The separation comes into play with the change in stone pattern. The patio was installed with Umbriano 24x24, midnight sky and the driveway, walkways was installed with iL Campo 4x12, granite blend.

The homeowner had researched the materials before hand and came to the conclusion that these two choices would be the best for the project. What I found interesting is that Brussels Block never came into the equation. From what I see going on in the residential, the market is lagging behind the commercial market. That is usually the case though, most design trends and new products are introduced into the commercial market and than trickle down into the residential market. And one can certainly see that. iL Campo is used extensively commercially and Umbriano has seen many high profile commercial projects. I see the hay day for Brussels Block winding down, that's not to say Brussels will every go away. From what I know it's still Unilock's top selling product but is it the be all and end all, in my opinion , no.

With the introduction of the Select line with Endura Color, and Endura Color Plus it's hard to go back to a non Endura Color product. After personally handling thousands of pavers over the years the benefits are just too compelling. The price point jumps up a bit but the difference in a 20 year old paver, endura color vs non endura color is no contest. The two stones on this project are colour fast and will not fade over time. So I take my hat off to this client for being forward thinking and really taking a hard look at the available options and not going for the cheapest available option. Yes it may cost a bit more but this is fairly typical for the projects we undertake at Terraform Contracting. Cheapest doesn't equate to best. If you want to read further about my thoughts on Endura color, I have written an article on the subject.

With the product choices finalized, installation began, now the fun begins! Or is it the pain? For some contractors this would be pain. This site has a driveway to gain access to the back but the turning radius is so tight that no large trucks would be able to make the turn. Our main access was between a four foot walkway between the two houses. There was only one problem, the homes main entrance is on a raised platform that takes up the full width of our access. We had to construct ramps so that material could be wheelbarrowed up and over this step landing. Disposal had to be carefully staged, along with materials coming in. On every job we move tons of material. I usually joke with the crew that we're in the "loading and unloading business," but that's not too far from the truth. Tons of material goes out and tons comes back in, it helps to have great relations with vendors to schedule deliveries. Maybe two loads of materials will have to be sent out because one load would involve a larger truck and the street and material drop off point just can't hand that volume of material. This is where experience comes into play. This is all we do though, tight access residential hardscaping projects in the Toronto area.

Below are the before and after pictures. I have but only one thing to say about the deck. Wow that was really rotten and, who builds a deck over a deck that is rotting without stripping off the top layer and taking it down to the framing. This is why when you look at the before pictures there are weeds growing through the deck boards. There are two full layers of decking material.

Products used on this project:

Pavers, Driveway/Walkways:  Unilock, iL Campo, 4x12, Granite Blend.

Pavers, Patio: Umbriano 24"x24", Midnight Blend.

Steps: Limestone, Silver Valley Grey.

Edging: Unilock, Brussels Dimensional, Granite Blend.

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About the Author

Garry Reisky

GarryGarry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A Unilock Authorized Contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscape creations. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything EuduraColor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.

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