Serving the Naperville Community
A landscape should be a delightful place to enjoy time with family and friends. But some landscapes make life dangerous. Nobody wants to risk injury or a lawsuit, so here’s how to avoid these common hazards in your Wheaton, IL, landscape design.
Related: Enhance the Look of Your Naperville, IL, Home With a Refined Driveway
The Wrong Materials for the Job
It’s unfortunately all too common for some landscape companies to use the wrong landscaping materials for a particular function. This could happen due to low budgets, lack of knowledge, substituting materials that aren’t available, or time constraints. Not all pavers are suitable for all applications. Not all retaining walls are alike. Not all materials are strong or durable enough for their intended use. Not all materials are high quality, either, and low-quality materials can degrade quickly and cause hazards.
It’s one thing to have a gently undulating softscape, but a hardscape must be level for safety. The main reason for a softscape becoming uneven is poor installation. Improper base materials, poor compaction, and careless installation of pavers or natural stone will lead to movement. Some parts of the hard surface may settle, while others get pushed up. Either way, it's imperative that uneven ground be made level as quickly as possible - even if this means tearing out the entire patio and re-installing it.
Nothing is perhaps more dangerous than a step that comes out of nowhere, such as when its colors blend perfectly with the patio above. For someone with impaired vision (or even just someone who’s not paying close attention), surprise steps can lead to trips and falls. Steps should always be marked with contrasting paver colors or pillars.
Too Many Curves or Corners
As the saying goes, the fastest way to get from A to B is in a straight line. Curved walkways are beautiful and work well if the curves are gentle. Avoid right-angle turns, because that’s not how people walk—they want easy access to their destination, not an obstacle course or a maze. Keep in mind, people will walk through gardens if that’s the easiest way.
Poor drainage can mean water pooling in a part of your landscape and causing the ground to sink or become dangerously soft; this is especially bad if that area happens to be where people walk regularly.
Fencing around a pool is a must if you have small children, but don’t forget fencing around compost piles, ponds, or any area that you feel is better left looked at than walked through.
Landscape lighting is essential for after-dark safety. A home with a single high-wattage bulb mounted on the siding will illuminate one area of the landscape (usually too brightly), but it will also cast dangerous shadows and leave the rest of the landscape pitch black. The human eye isn’t great at adjusting between lighting extremes. Today’s landscape lighting involves many types of fixtures and lighting techniques that will do double duty in making your landscape attractive and safe at night.
Lack of Maintenance
Debris like fallen branches or overturned rocks; animal burrows; overgrown walkways; rotten tree stumps; or landscape edging that has grown over, can all cause tripping hazards
Related: 4 Ways to Complement a Brick Patio
Are you wondering if you’re always going to be stuck looking at a boring asphalt surface or cracks in the old poured concrete? Are you tired of the constant maintenance and repair hassles of a solid-surface driveway? Fortunately, you can enhance the look of your Naperville, IL, home with a refined driveway.
Concrete pavers may be the perfect solution that transforms your driveway from a featureless slab into a functional feature of beauty that enhances your overall home and gives you a greater return on your investment.
Related: 4 Aesthetic Themes to Consider for Your Landscaping in Naperville, IL
Why Are Concrete Pavers a Great Choice?
Concrete pavers give you more return on your investment than asphalt or poured concrete. They are known for outlasting solid-surface driveways that are susceptible to earth movement and the freeze-thaw cycle. If one part of an asphalt or poured concrete driveway settles or rises, it will cause cracks in the surface. Once the surface cracks, it can be patched (which is usually an unattractive solution), but this is the beginning of the end. The driveway will have to be replaced within a short time, because once there’s one crack, you can expect many more. If you factor in the repair and replacement expense involved with asphalt or poured concrete driveways, concrete pavers start to look more attractive right away.
Concrete pavers are individual units that lock together like puzzle pieces. They rest on sturdy footing that minimizes movement under load or due to the freeze-thaw cycle. Individual units allow heat to escape, making the surface barefoot-friendly—which also minimizes the “heat sink” effect of solid paved surfaces. Damaged pavers can be replaced individually in the unlikely event that they break, and the repaired surface will be indistinguishable from the original surface. Concrete pavers are also compatible with driveway heating systems.
Unlimited Design Choices
Driveway pavers are available in a variety of design styles that can complement your home’s architectural style. You can find concrete pavers that will give you the look you want, whether you love the timeless aesthetic of old-world brick or cobblestone pavers; the elegance of granite; the warm rustic appeal of flagstone or bluestone; or an ultramodern look that uses plank-like pavers with unique brushed textures.
Many homeowners also personalize their paver driveways with borders, accents, and custom inlays (such as the family initial) in contrasting colors and materials. Use accents to add character and to pick up the dominant colors in your home.
An Eco-Friendly Solution
Some concrete pavers can be installed as a permeable surface. While the pavers themselves are impervious to water, they are separated by slightly larger joints that allow water to seep down into a special substrate that is designed as a reservoir. From this reservoir (which is not a hollow space but rather specially chosen aggregates that fit together snugly yet have enough space for water to collect), water percolates into the ground rather than running off or pooling in the landscape. When you consider how much water usually runs off a solid-surface driveway, this is one way to minimize your environmental impact in the most attractive way possible. A permeable driveway is the ultimate in eco-friendly sophistication!
A Great Investment In Your Home
Updating your driveway with stylish concrete pavers lets you enjoy a unique and beautiful driveway that is durable and long lasting. If your driveway is tired or damaged and it’s time for a replacement, we can help you choose the right pavers for your style and needs.
Related: Driveway Design Ideas for Small Front Yards in Hinsdale, IL
A rustic backyard can be just the thing to take your mind off your hectic lifestyle and let you “plug in” to nature for some R&R. If you’re wondering how to make your outdoor living space feel more natural, here are some landscaping ideas for rustic backyards in Hinsdale, IL.
Start with Stone
Stone anchors your outdoor living spaces and creates a beautiful transition from the home to the softscape.
The key to your choice could be opting for a type of stone that complements your home without mirroring it. For example, if your home features a red brick siding, choose bluestone or granite, which will tone down the red and provide an attractive rustic contrast.
You can also use manufactured stone instead of natural stone. Concrete pavers and veneers are available in a huge array of styles, shapes, colors, textures, and finishes that let you achieve the look of a natural stone but in precisely the design style you want.
A rustic style tends to favor darker stones with rougher textures. The hand-hewn look isn’t concerned with perfection, whether you choose natural stone or manufactured stone. The joints between stones will appear irregular and that’s part of the charm. If you’re using manufactured stone veneer, though, the installation process can be simplified somewhat because the parts where the individual blocks join come precision-cut.
Balance heavy textures with smoothness. For example, a granite patio is relatively smooth but you can add a rustic touch by combining granite underfoot with stacked-flagstone (or stacked-flagstone veneer) seat walls, or other vertical elements. Or opt for flagstone underfoot, and you’ll have balanced its pronounced texture with smoother granite walls.
When it comes to walls, consider whether the wall is meant to be functional or purely decorative. This lets you choose whether to use mortar or a dry-stack method. Dry-stack walls are made by stacking flat stones on top of each other and letting gravity hold the wall together. They are not meant to be structural, and they won’t support the shifting weight of people but they can be ideal for decorative purposes only, such as defining a planting bed or as a rustic fire pit. Taller walls, seating walls, or structural retaining walls are constructed with mortar for strength and stability. You can achieve the look of a dry-stack wall by recessing mortar or by using a veneer with a pronounced face texture.
Use larger stone slabs with grass, moss, or a ground cover planted between stones for a rustic backyard walkway. At the entry, lay stones (or concrete pavers) beside each other in a random, relaxed pattern.
You could include a rustic fireplace or fire pit to finish the look and create a focal point. Rustic fireplaces feature large format stone veneer (modern outdoor fireplaces are typically fire-safe concrete block, with a stone veneer). This “chunky” look gives the fireplace the substantial feel reminiscent of old lodges. A large raised hearth lets you sit right next to the fire to warm up on a chilly day. Although the term “rustic” usually implies a wood-burning fire, you can still achieve the look using natural gas or propane and do away with the mess of firewood.
Add Wood to Balance the Stone
Wood helps tie your outdoor living space in with the natural setting. Benches, privacy fences, decorative fences, rustic gates, and patio furniture can all be made from a rustic wood such as pine. Wood can be left to weather naturally (although this will shorten its lifespan), sealed with a clear coat, or painted.