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willing to learn

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by flascaper, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Ive done well with landscape installs. We do nothing but design and install. I have had more and more requests for paver work and have done some small patios using square pavers using flexable bases with crushed concrete and screeded sand. What I need to know is where are best resources out there so I can expand into more technical hardscapes using steps, seating walls and such.
  2. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    ICPI has a good training classes.
    They are offered through various paver manufacturers, and johndeere landscapes.

    talk to some of your distributors about classes
  3. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    ICPI will get you the low down on the pavers.

    But there is not really a great place to get training on the whole concept of Hardsacping.

    You go from srw to stone walls to pavers to stone patios to concrete steps to stone steps and have to learn how to make all this stuff work.
    It is tough.

    Paver steps are well explained in all the paver manufacturers installation guides.

    Being in Florida you may very well have too adjust installation techniques as well with the soil being so loose.
    Here in Georgia our base is great.We are on rock hard clay.
  4. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 454

    The best way I have found to learn is the following

    a) surround yourself with people who are good at what they do. Guys that have been in this business for 40 years know how to do things right or they wouldn't still be around. They might be stuck in their ways, but you can learn a lot from them.

    b) don't be afraid to ask questions and try new things.

    c) be confident and take chances. If a customer asks you how many retaining walls you have done, honesty isn't always your best option. Sometimes a white lie will get your the job. I'm not going to hire a plumber if he's never fixed a toilet before.

    d) don't cut corners. If it's a big job, spend $1000 get engineered plans and stick to them. Sure Jim Bobs landscaping might be able to do a driveway with a 3" base in some spots and have it last 20 years, but they have been doing this a long time and know what corners can be cut and how to cut them.

    e) don't give up. Even when your machine is stuck in the mud, more rain is coming, you can't get your base level, your cheque just bounced on your supplier, your only guy working had to go home early, the customer is looking at you like you are ******** with 6 arms and your wife is nagging that you are never home anymore, DON'T give up. We have all been there, admit it or not.

    Learn from your mistakes, not just books and courses. Every build is different. I like to take courses, but it doesn't come close to real world experience.

    The most difficult part of hardscaping is the design. The construction is the easy part. Granted, doing it quickly and efficiently comes with years of experience and mistakes, but when building steps, patios, walls, etc... a good solid, level base is key. Take your time and use your laser and level.
  5. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I have done retaining walls using 6x6x12 Pt timbers and terrace gardens using these for slopes. I also have done retaining walls using Oldcastle Stones and they all came out great. The most I've done using pavers is with the square 16" and 12". I've used pea gravel as a base and between the stones. You can get creative with these pavers and i like using the Perma lock edging to hold it all in and create curves. I have a pic in web site @www.advantagelandscapeflorida.com I am now gettting requests for New England type pavers and the like. Getting a good base is most important and with Florida there is sand. I appreciate your response and will look into those elements to help me as I get more and more paver jobs. Starting with the simple pavers has helped me understand how things go as far as changes in grade and the amount of soil you may need or have too much of and the right and wrong way to screed sand. I also will be doing only flexable materials for now and stay away from driveways. Taking out whole driveways to install new ones is not something I want to do now. Again thank you very much.
  6. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    I always look at what State highway paving companies do here for what is an acceptable base material.

    Here we use Granite .It is what we call Crush and Run.
    It has the fines mixed with the stone.
    If the soil is poor they will use Geo cloth underneath the paver base.If the soil is good they do not.

    In my opinion the base is the key and the most important step.

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