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Building Paver Patio on Slope - PICS

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Jim thanks for all the nice compliments :)

    I think the main point of my post is that the drop off directly off the patio is not safe, especially if its a steep slope like you made it clear. If you had to build the wall like that I would of sold them a seat wall or a railing of some kind. I do not think anyone can look at those pics and tell me its a safe patio with that drop off!!! Sometimes you need to tell the client they have a bad idea!

    Notice I did not bash your craftsmanship at all.
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    No, you said our work was B-range work.

    Anyway, I wasn't trying to post these photos as an example of our nicest work. I don't post photos at all on Lawnsite anymore. Haven't for quite a long time. Because there's always some idiot half way across the country who would have done it differently, thinks they know how to do it better, wants to nit pick, or just gets off on putting other people's work down. There are hundreds of us who never post photos just for this reason. I was emailing with a guy I met on Lawnsite just earlier this week and he shared some photos of a beautiful patio and stone seat walls. It was stunning, IMO. I said, "Why didn't you post this on Lawnsite?" He said, "You know why. Same reason you never post anything anymore."

    If I wanted to post photos showing some of our nicest work, I would have probably chosen any number of other jobs we've done this year or last year. I have over three dozen jobs I haven't even had time to sort through the photos and post them anywhere yet. My only point in posting these photos was to show how you can build a rock veneer over an SRW. But nobody here seemed to give one sh1t about that. Every time someone posts a photo, you guys assume that they are either looking for compliments or critique. I was looking for neither. I was just trying to show a cool method for hiding an ugly SRW. You all turned it into a pissing match over other stuff.....like always.
  3. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Pissing matches as you call it makes everyone of us better designers and builders.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Why didn't we think of that? Oh, that's right. We did! We discussed seat wall, they didn't want that. They didn't want a rail. They wanted a floating patio that felt like it opened right up into the back green space area. They had the deck builder build their deck in the same way. Open in the back. No rail. Just a drop off (pictured below). Now we installed some shrubs that will create a little hedge on the lower edge of that deck to create a small barrier. But again, the clients didn't want anything intruding into their view on either the deck or the patio. I'm not going to be so insistent as to say, "Look. If you won't let me design the patio in this manner than I refuse to take the job." All said and done, we made over $30K with the work we did on the back and side yards here. I wasn't about to insist they do it my way and possibly lose the job. We made suggestions, they didn't want to do it that way, so we did it their way and moved on.

    I guess if some idiot walks off the patio we'll have to deal with it. Chances are the idiot would just fall on the bushes and bark mulch and say, "ouch, that hurt.". But if it goes further than that, I guess that's why I have a $1Mil. insurance policy. It's a risk, I suppose. But so is turning down work because you insist on doing things your way.

  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    How does a seat wall make it any safer or absolve you of liability? At 18-22" high they're not taking the place of a guardrail and it's a false sense of security. Never understood that. There's a reason you can't use a bench instead of a railing when designing a deck.

    Besides, half the seat walls I've seen are fug and mess up the flow of the space.
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    Most counties and cities have specific codes in writing pertaining to the specifications for step construction. Sometimes you can find this online for the jurisdiction it pertains to.

    I am notorious for calling permits and inspections offices and asking questions. In fact the director of permits and inspections in Fairfax Co VA knows me well! And so does the supervisor of inspectors. LOL

    Many landscape / Hardscape contractors do not realize that codes do exist to their line of work. When I was in court as an expert against another contractor much focus was on the fact that the steps did not meet county code. With copies of the code presented to the judge.

    And paper cutter is correct. A seat wall IS NOT a safety barrier. And should never ever be used as one. Those of us with children know this :)
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Every county code I've seen says that you cannot have more than 3/8" variance in riser height from one step to the next. It does matter in terms of usability, especially if you're dealing with older homeowners (which let's be honest, most of us are a chunk of the time).

    Jim, did you extend the aggregate footer for the SRW to include the stone facing or are they acting pretty independent?
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    They each have their own footing. They were installed at different elevations. So it wouldn't have really been possibly to use the same footing. Well, I guess maybe if we installed a really deep footing for the SRW.....but there was no reason to do that.
  9. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Makes sense. I'd be inclined to think the SRW and the stone might move differentially even on the same footer.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    We build a lot of both kinds of walls. Although the rock walls are much more popular here than SRWs are.

    The rock walls are a little less stable than the SRWs are, just by nature. So they can start to bulge a little over the years. Not usually, but sometimes it happens. Where the SRWs here are totally solid, as long as they're constructed properly. So the idea here is that I know the SRW is solid. And for the most part the rock wall is pretty solid too. But if they ever start to fail (bulge out) it's a pretty easy fix. We fix several walls each year. Usually they aren't ones we installed. But it's no big deal. Part of the deal around here.

    In this case, there isn't any heavy clay soil behind the rock wall, so I don't expect it will fail. That's what typically makes them fail is the heavy clay soil holding so much water behind the wall. Even with a well built drainage chimney sometimes it still doesn't prevent a failure. But there's no heavy clay soil behind that wall, really. Mostly nice compact aggregate gravel that we installed. There is heavy clay under the footing. So if we get a wet enough winter, sometimes that can cause problems. But again, that's part of the deal. Something we are prepared form if it ever happens.

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