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GardenSMART Episode

Show #29/4903. The Latest In Hardscape Materials And Installation

Summary of Show

A landscape Installation
This GardenSMART Episode is a bit of a departure from the usual - different for us because we typically feature a mature garden. It is the first in a series of shows featuring A LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION. GardenSMART will be following a brilliant garden designer start to finish through the process of transforming a bare lot with a new home that is nearly completed into a garden paradise.
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Home Owners - Leslie And Chris
Eric first talks with the HOME OWNERS about their vision. Chris, Leslie, congratulations on your new home. Chris thanks Eric. They are extremely excited, even thrilled about their new home. Eric would like to talk about the house first. What were they looking for from a design standpoint? They knew they wanted a little bit of space, a little bit of property, they wanted to be out away from things a little bit, to have a little bit of room, they wanted to have a little bit of privacy.
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Joseph Hillenmeyer
Eric meets JOSEPH and comments. It is so fascinating to get a glimpse inside the mind of a designer, it's a very creative endeavor and also a rare talent. For Eric if looking at a huge, five-acre site like this, having the vision to imagine the possibilities is not really something that is a talent of Eric. So it's wonderful to sit down with someone and kind of get a glimpse inside the thought process. Eric asks Joseph to provide some background for this project, to talk about when he first came on this site and started putting together the bones of this project and then the finishing touches. What did he see, what was he trying to accomplish?
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Hardscape
One thing that frames Joseph's design really well is the HARDSCAPE. It instructs the visitor, or leads the visitor, to experience the design. Whether it's the walkways moving through or the sight lines that are pulling people down to an area or the entertaining that we were just talking about. How much space does one need for entertaining six, eight people or ten people?
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Wayne - Installing Tiles And pavers
Eric thanks WAYNE for joining us on GardenSMART. Wayne has been doing this for many, many years and there is a tremendous amount of experience he has amassed. What are some of the most important things that one needs to remember if they want their tile job to look great? Well the most important thing is getting a good base under the tile, also making sure that everything is square and centered off of a wall, a foundation, whatever you are working off or with. When looking at laying a base you are using a type of river sand or coarse sand.
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Todd - Turn Down Tile
Eric next meets Todd. Todd, the evolution of materials in landscape design and gardening is incredible. Every year seems like there is some new innovation that expands the possibilities of what we can do and also what our gardens are going to look like. This is the first time Eric has seen this product. It is called a TURN DOWN TILE. It is a Hartstone product and is an amazing solution to a very common problem. Todd agrees, it is and has been used in this application over the top of an exposed aggregate porch that the builder installed. This type of porch is kind of the norm, that's what people in this area generally use, that or concrete.
For More Information Click here

Custom Tile
Todd next explains CUSTOM TILE to Eric — In the world of pavers there are so many options available and the lion's share of them are prefabricated items that in many cases the manufacturer makes millions of. So when the designer is looking at that catalog they're having to work within the confines of what that paver company makes. There is nothing wrong with that but if you have a special site and the designer wants something very unique, there are only a few companies that do that and Hartstone is one of them. They allow a designer to implement their vision. Todd takes what they want to do, we are not limiting them like a traditional company that would give them certain size, piece size, module size, segment size, and making them work within the confines of that.
For More Information Click here

Front Steps
The FRONT STEPS are one of the more unique elements in this design. Eric is guessing that the creativity is one thing that keeps it exciting for Todd. You're not just making donuts, you get to do these really cool jobs. Eric would like Todd to talk through the process. This set of steps is what they call solid steps or chunk steps. Joseph and Todd worked through this. Joseph had this vision that he wanted large pieces. They are not veneering steps, instead kind of harkening back a hundred and fifty years ago to where they did solid steps, where there was no veneer.
For More Information Click here

Pavers
Eric meets Tim. Tim, hardscape is such an important part of garden design and landscape design and, in fact, when he thinks back to all of the beautiful places he's visited, what has been done with stone and PAVERS is almost as important as the plants themselves to the overall feel and look of a design. One typically thinks of yards or paths but there's a lot being done in the world of pavers. Eric would like for Tim to talk a little bit more about some of the innovative things going on in the world of pavers. Tim agrees, absolutely, within the last five to ten years there have been great strides within the precast concrete paver and wall market.
For More Information Click here

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Show #29/4903. The Latest In Hardscape Materials And Installation

Transcript of Show

This GardenSMART Episode is a bit of a departure from the usual - different for us because we typically feature a mature garden. It is the first in a series of shows featuring A LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION. GardenSMART will be following a brilliant garden designer start to finish through the process of transforming a bare lot with a new home that is nearly completed into a garden paradise. We're starting from the ground up, it's a brand new home and it needs a brand new landscape. Contractors will buzzing in and out and we'll follow them every step of the way.

Eric first talks with the HOME OWNERS about there vision. Chris, Leslie, congratulations on your new home. Chris thanks Eric. They are extremely excited, even thrilled about their new home. Eric would like to talk about the house first. What were they looking for from a design standpoint? They knew they wanted a little bit of space, a little bit of property, they wanted to be out away from things a little bit, to have a little bit of room, they wanted to have a little bit of privacy. But wanted to have neighbors, they didn't want to be too far away from civilization and everyday conveniences. So took some time and looked for property that met those requirements. As well they wanted a home that allowed them to entertain and fellowship, to have people in, enabling them to enjoy their home with other people. This home certainly provides that.

Leslie comments that they are looking forward to possibly growing their family. Here they will have enough room to house more children because right now where they live their little girl has definitely outgrown their condo.

Eric wants to next talk about the outdoor living space. Ideally it is an extension of the home and in many ways can reflect the personality of the homeowner, or it should. How did they conceive of that space, how did they want to use it and how did Joseph help realize those objectives? Joseph's vision is way bigger than Leslie or Chris' vision really. Leslie says that they did tell him they were looking for some gardens, maybe even something like an English garden style. That definitely fits with the landscaping in this area of town. They talked with Joseph and shared their ideas, Joseph was able to use those ideas and it has just caught on. Chris adds they originally had spent a lot of time talking about, thinking about and planning for the home but hadn't put the same effort and energy into discussing and planning what the outdoor space would look like. So they were thrilled when introduced to Joseph Hillenmeyer. He kind of crafted a plan that is now underway and it is really exciting watching all the landscaping work underway, it just really makes the whole home come alive. Eric agrees, there is no doubt. There are a lot of great things underway, he can't wait to see how this comes together. Leslie and Chris are excited about it too.

Joseph Hillenmeyer, the garden designer, is a 9th generation horticulturist whose lineage goes back to France. In so many ways design is something Joseph was born into. As a child he took an active role in the garden and fell in love with plants and the possibilities that they held, as well as the transformative power of excellent design. Before he was old enough to drive Joseph knew that this is what he wanted to do with his life and has been devoted to garden design ever since.

Eric meets JOSEPH and comments. It is so fascinating to get a glimpse inside the mind of a designer, it's a very creative endeavor and also a rare talent. For Eric if looking at a huge, five-acre site like this, having the vision to imagine the possibilities is not really something that is a talent of Eric. So it's wonderful to sit down with someone and kind of get a glimpse inside the thought process. Eric asks Joseph to provide some background for this project, to talk about when he first came on this site and started putting together the bones of this project and then the finishing touches. What did he see, what was he trying to accomplish? Joseph explains, it is a lot of fun looking at a larger site like this, it allows you to spread some things out. Not being crammed into a typical suburban residential setting provides a lot more opportunity. Pulling onto this site the thing that he was first struck by is the grade rolling up as you get towards the back of the property which is kind of the top of the property. That really was the only place to site the house. So you already have this home kind of sitting up on the mount. When pulling in, on the right the first thing that stands out is a residential house, then another house on the left. So even though these are a little bit larger lots the grade here has dictated that all these houses sit back. Which means they have all kind of ended up a little bit closer together. So determining how to block some of those views was one of the first things that came to mind. Although they have this wonderful five-acre property, how do we make it feel like it's really theirs, not something where they are sitting on top of their neighbors? Most of the time when people move to five-acres they do so to get get away from neighbors being shoulder to shoulder with them, so that was definitely one of the things that we wanted to address. All the views on the property weren't bad though. Even though there are things right upon the house, there are some wonderful borrowed views. As you look down to the south of the property, the grade drops down and there is a wonderful little farm pond that sits down there. So Joseph looked at ways to highlight that and draw attention to that, to pull one's eye down toward that pond. There are a lot of windows in this house and good garden design takes all that into account. Because much of the time the homeowner spends is indoors, they have got these beautiful vistas and you are having to think about that too. Paying attention to when we need to be shading the house and what rooms are going to be used the most to make sure that we provide a comfortable interior environment is important as well. So trees provide great shade during the summer, but it's also wonderful when they drop their foliage come winter and that southern exposure is able to reach the house and heat the house naturally and provide some much needed bright light during a gloomy winter. So paying attention to those things is a great part of the thought process that we go through.

As well, the homeowners really like to entertain. That is something they talked about and they want their outdoor living space to be an extension of their home. They would like to allow visitors to enjoy a very intimate setting and that was a huge part of Joseph's plan, it was a big factor in way that he designed it. Outdoor living space is becoming so much more of a reality, much more so than it was even when he started designing gardens in the early two thousands. Outdoor living has just blown up and it is wonderful. With a property this size being able to stretch some of those living experiences out, for the family, even for guests. For example, there is a fire pit spec'd that they are going to look at in the future. That will provide a great opportunity to step away from the house and pull them back out into that five acres and give them a much more natural experience then being right on top of the house so the larger lot gives them opportunity for different types of entertaining versus just outdoor dining.

One thing that frames Joseph's design really well is the HARDSCAPE. It instructs the visitor, or leads the visitor, to experience the design. Whether it's the walkways moving through or the sight lines that are pulling people down to an area or the entertaining that we were just talking about. How much space does one need for entertaining six, eight people or ten people? So understanding the client's needs and how often and how many people they are going to entertain is something that definitely has to be taken into consideration. Eric is impressed, this is amazing, it is going to be so exciting to see all of this come together. Eric thinks Joseph has done a great job. Joseph appreciates the compliment. It has been a lot of fun. We'll be checking back with Joseph throughout this installation.

Hardscape is an essential part of an integrated garden design. The proper installation of a hardscape requires true craftsman to have it come together just right and we've got just the right team for the job.

Eric next meets and introduces Wayne Brinley from Brinley Masonry. Wayne and his team have been laying tiles and pavers all over the country. Wayne is not a contractor, he's a craftsman. These guys have set the standard in excellence in laying stone and tile.

Eric thanks WAYNE for joining us on GardenSMART. Wayne has been doing this for many, many years and there is a tremendous amount of experience he has amassed. What are some of the most important things that one needs to remember if they want their tile job to look great? Well the most important thing is getting a good base under the tile, also making sure that everything is square and centered off of a wall, a foundation, whatever you are working off or with. When looking at laying a base you are using a type of river sand or coarse sand. This is a coarse river sand. Eric remembers the first tile job he did where it was just a bunch of bricks. He smoothed an area out, to make a little patio for his grill and about a year later it, it looked terrible. Wayne understands the issue, Eric probably didn't get a real good base under it. Eric notices that Wayne's crew is tamping the base down. Yes, it is very important to get that super compacted. Very important. Eric is interested in some of the products that Wayne likes to work with, some of the materials that Wayne specializes in? They they can lay any product but like working with Hartstone, they have worked with the product since the first piece was made. And they're a Hartstone master installer.

After they have the base compacted, everything leveled up and the product is in what is needed to finish the tile? They do some trimming, make sure all the lines are the same, then polymeric sand is added between the tiles, then they come back and put a sealer coat on it. What is the difference between polymeric sand and the coarse sand that Wayne is using for the base? Well the polymeric sand has polymers in it and once you get it wet it gets as hard as mortar. The sealers Wayne uses are specifically designed for tile and stone. It's a water based, penetrating sealer, they use on the stone. It's really good, doesn't allow any moisture into the stone. Eric thanks Wayne, it's fascinating watching his team work, they have got a great operation. Wayne says thanks.

Todd Hart is a true innovator in the field of hardscape and has painstakingly worked to perfect each product that he makes. He is passionate about adding an elegant touch to every project he is a part of. Three generations of experience in multiple facets of the concrete industry have given Todd the expertise - married with his passion, that is evident in every project he puts his hand to.

Eric next meets Todd. Todd, the evolution of materials in landscape design and gardening is incredible. Every year seems like there is some new innovation that expands the possibilities of what we can do and also what our gardens are going to look like. This is the first time Eric has seen this product. It is called a TURN DOWN TILE. It is a Hartstone product and is an amazing solution to a very common problem. Todd agrees, it is and has been used in this application over the top of an exposed aggregate porch that the builder installed. This type of porch is kind of the norm, that's what people in this area generally use, that or concrete. The turn down tile lets them use Hartstone over top of those typical materials. With an installation like this you have the problem of the edge. What are you going to do with the edge? If you veneer it you are going to have problems with the mortar joints because you've got to pin it. So what Todd has done is come up with a product where it turns down and this turn down piece can be any size that the installer needs it to be. Brinley Masonry decided this one would be ten and three eighths inches to cover what was there. That is extremely large. A lot of times Todd uses the turn down tiles on upper wooden decks. When people want their upper wooden decks covered with Hartstone, their next question is - what are we going to do with the edge? So Todd came up with this system. It can be used when you want to go over the top of an old swimming pool deck, it can be made a multitude of different ways. The distance of it, how wide it can be, the depth of it, the thickness of it, all that can be a variable that Hartstone can provide. They make it specifically to what the application requires. What is fascinating about this product is as you approach the house the visual impact makes it look like this is a ten inch thick slab. Eric agrees, it does. It's an incredible look. That ten inch thick slab provides a quality aesthetic. It's not to say that the exposed aggregate was bad, it's just that the exposed aggregate was kind of the norm and a house like this warrants something more special than that. Eric would like to talk how this product is made. Because with natural stone one would cut this slab out of an even more gigantic, giant slab. And, there would be a lot of waste. But, this is a poured product, right? Todd explains, it is cast in place, fabricated concrete. When being produced their manufacturing facility is a constant fifty six to fifty eight degrees so it is a very, very strong structural piece to begin with. So they literally would take the dimensions that the designer would give them and the installers would form it up exactly. They can make it any length, any width, any size and it is fabricated to meet the requirement for the job site. And, it is a really, really durable material as well? It is sixty five hundred to seven thousand psi, with an absorption rate less than four percent. That strength allows them to provide a lifetime warranty, once put down there should never be a problem with it again. Clearly one would want to use a qualified installer for this, but lets do talk about how the product is installed. What would they do in this particular instance, on this porch? Every situation will be different, but in most instances the mason would come in and the turn down piece would be set in mortar or what they call hard. And, they use a wick. A lot of times they will use cotton rope to let it wick out any moisture that gets behind the piece and that needs to come out. Once this is set it is going to be fastened to the rest of the Hartstone, the eighteen by thirty sixes. The base is coarse sand, it has to be coarse to allow the water to come out and then the inch and a quarter standard piece butts up against the back of it. So there again, depending on if it is a pool deck or upper raised deck, or a porch like this, the thickness of this turn down is going to be the variable along with the width and the size of the turn down, which again is build specifically to that job. But drainage is very important, because water is an enemy of concrete. You never want water under it, or on top of it. That is a big mistake a lot of people make. Any time you can get water away, get it away, and that is true with hardscape material of any kind whether it be Hartstone, blue stone, concrete, whatever the material might be. But the coarse sand allows water to come to the top, the radiant heat of the sun will pull the moisture back up through it or the wicks if any does get in there it will allow moisture to drain down. The front wick allows it to come out, out of the face of the product. Eric is impressed, this is a wonderful, fascinating product. It has been a game changer for this site. It looks incredible.

Todd next explains CUSTOM TILE to Eric — In the world of pavers there are so many options available and the lion's share of them are prefabricated items that in many cases the manufacturer makes millions of. So when the designer is looking at that catalog they're having to work within the confines of what that paver company makes. There is nothing wrong with that but if you have a special site and the designer wants something very unique, there are only a few companies that do that and Hartstone is one of them. They allow a designer to implement their vision. Todd takes what they want to do, we are not limiting them like a traditional company that would give them certain size, piece size, module size, segment size, and making them work within the confines of that. We allow them to spec whatever they want. We do it to their specifications which means it is really important to use a professional designer. In fact it's vital. To elevate the quality of the aesthetic of a property like this one should always use a professional designer. People may think it costs a lot of money but in the grand scope of the project it's a small amount to pay to get the look that you are going to get.

There are some products that Hartstone makes that are year round items, they do stock pieces, a lot of stock tiles. Back when they started twelve years ago probably eighty, ninety percent of what they did was stock tiles and a little bit of custom. But as they kept seeing the need for it they kept producing more and more custom and now they basically do anything a designer asks. They will implement it, work through it, help them come up with solutions, problem solve and so forth. This allows the designer and homeowner to accomplish what they want, what their vision is.

The FRONT STEPS are one of the more unique elements in this design. Eric is guessing that the creativity is one thing that keeps it exciting for Todd. You're not just making donuts, you get to do these really cool jobs. Eric would like Todd to talk through the process. This set of steps is what they call solid steps or chunk steps. Joseph and Todd worked through this. Joseph had this vision that he wanted large pieces. They are not veneering steps, instead kind of harkening back a hundred and fifty years ago to where they did solid steps, where there was no veneer. If one looks at steps that are veneered, they will pour them out of concrete then they would veneer over the top of them with a thinner piece of product. The mortar joint, after six or seven years in this kind of a climate zone, fails. So they have taken that aspect out of it. Todd produced big chunk steps. They started with a really good foundation. The installers are used to working this type of project and that's important. These pieces on each end are six hundred and fifty pounds apiece. Thus they are really heavy and hard to work with. But once they are out there they are never going to fail, there is nothing about them that would cause them to fail. So they've helped designers come back to what they were doing years ago. A lot of people didn't want to do this type product but they're now starting to do them again. But, this is not a practical do it yourself project. One needs real professionals to do it. Just the weight of the steps, the danger of moving because of the weight, dictates the use of an experienced professional.

These steps are really different. Joseph has designed them so they are going to have a four inch relief on each side. And the way they are placed makes them look like they are floating. They have a relief on the bottom of them so they are really going to be nice when finished. They are going to make this entryway grand. Later on there will be a path that will cascade down this little slope to another set of steps down lower and then on to the driveway where there will be an insert of Hartstone on the driveway for a landing area. There people can stop and come in the residence. Eric comments — It's beautiful, the product is amazing. And, it's awesome to see this going in. Thanks Todd

Tim Edick has been around pavers and hardscape his entire life. From working as a builder and a landscape contractor, Tim approaches each job with the eye of a seasoned pro and the experience to ensure it is executed at the highest level.

Eric meets Tim. Tim, hardscape is such an important part of garden design and landscape design and, in fact, when he thinks back to all of the beautiful places he's visited, what has been done with stone and PAVERS is almost as important as the plants themselves to the overall feel and look of a design. One typically thinks of yards or paths but there's a lot being done in the world of pavers. Eric would like for Tim to talk a little bit more about some of the innovative things going on in the world of pavers. Tim agrees, absolutely, within the last five to ten years there have been great strides within the precast concrete paver and wall market. Outdoor living has become huge. Bringing the inside out, creating outdoor grill islands, fire pit areas, fireplaces, and things like that, they are able to fit the clients needs and wants much better than they were able to do in the past.

Eric would like to talk a little bit about materials because that has grown in quantum leaps in the last twenty years. Thinking about what was available decades ago, it was mostly just poured concrete, maybe two or three color options, now there is pretty much anything one can imagine. Products that will match the colors of the house, or will accent different things in the landscape, it's all available today. In the last ten years the industry has gone from a standard mix paver, which is very similar to what poured in place concrete is, to the advancement, like what the guys that are installing today with the stain resistant mix and dura color plus product that Unilock offers. These products provide higher durability than a poured in place concrete would. For instances like this it is a perfect application, especially with the vehicular traffic that is going to be driving on this. It's an easy clean surface, and it is going to be there for a very long time.

Eric would like to know what should one should look at from the standpoint of design and selecting the right materials for our job? Traditionally when you look at things you have poured in place concrete, stamped concrete, segmented pavers, and things of that nature. Basically one should be looking at what is going to fit the needs of the client and customers, what is wanted out of the space and what are the needs of the space really. Is it going to be an entertainment area? Is it going to be a pool deck? Is it something that is going to need to stay cool or in a shaded area? Is it going to take maintenance and things like that? Those are questions one really must weigh when trying to figure out what the best product is going to be. Pavers have come such a long way with technology, they are much more durable then they have been in the past, which means they last a lot longer and have much lower maintenance then they have in years past. It is a very viable product option for many different scenarios for homeowners. Eric is super envious of this driveway, it is coming together great. He can't wait to see it when it is done. Tim can't either.

It has been a long day and our crew has gotten a lot of work done. Our landscape designer has put in place a great plan and the hardscape is coming together beautifully. We'll be back at this site next week and a lot more will happen. Be sure to tune in next week.

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