Water and drainage considerations

One area that homeowners are aware of but often forget to tell the paving salesman about is the drainage problems that happen every time it rains. We had a situation that was evident and this time the client was not aware of the water problem. The ground felt very spongy when I walked on it and asked if they had recently done anything in the area which was to be paved. The owner of the house said that they put their sprinklers on 3 times a week but the ground was always quite spongy.

Drain prevents rain from entering garage

Drain in front of a garage.

 

On careful examination I saw that there was nowhere for the water to run off so it just saturated the ground. All the water ran to one corner and pooled there while slowly sinking into the ground and the ground was getting water logged. I told the owners of the house that the problem would multiply once the paving was laid as there would be no place for the rain water to drain and consequently it would simply pond and eventually begin to create a foul smell. Luckily the answer to this problem was simply to make a neat 10cm hole in the wall to allow the excess water to run out of this enclosed area.

paving drainage

Not every water problem has a simple answer but there is always a solution if looked at constructively. Sometimes a simple raised header course is all that is needed, other times it may be that a drain needs to be built and in most cases it simply needs the paving to be laid correctly to allow the rain water to run away from the house and walls.

rain water drainage point

Plastic cover on a underground gulley.

Don’t ignore your water problem, discuss it with your paving company and let them propose a solution. You don’t have to accept their proposal but it could have a solution to the damp starting on your house walls. Try resolve the problem before it happens.

Invest with proper paving

Paving to enhance your investment.

Planning your paving and grass areas around the house can be a bit complex and a little expensive if not done correctly. There is always good reasons to leave some grass areas for the children or for the animals to play on. Paving an entire back yard can end up looking very bland even if an expensive paving block is used.

paving with flagstones and clay

Flagstones and clay combined

 

Home owners should always try to get an even balance in the paving and grass areas. They should not only see paving as a way around cutting the grass on a regular basis but they should also look at the overall look and feel of the possible new look if they are contemplating selling their house anywhere in the future.

Copy of Tuscan_3

Paving has been around for thousands of years but only recently is it being used in many different areas around the house. As mentioned earlier, you may find that you do not want the time consuming job of mowing the lawn but remember that a few grass areas are always welcome to the overall look and feel of a property. Paving is not always the ideal solution to all of your problems even though it can be quite affordable. Paving is often a subliminal item and is mostly noticed only if it is tardy and breaking down. A good looking driveway is often sublimely accepted and lures a potential buyer to come inside to look further.

Smartstone paving

Smartstone Cotswold

Selecting the right paving block or brick can be quite daunting as there is such a wide variety of types, shapes and colours to choose from. One thing that you have to consider is whether you will be driving on them or just walking on them. If you are going to pave the driveway or a place where cars are going to drive or park on, then you have to ensure that the bricks are designed to carry the weight. Your driveway paving needs to be tougher than any other paving around your property. You also need to decide whether you want uniformity with the brick selection or if you are going to use different bricks for different places around the property.

3 size cobble paving

LaCotta 3 size cobble

Once you have selected the brick and the colours that is going to be used and exactly which areas are to be paved, it is time to either get ready to pave yourself or call in an expert to do the job for you.

red broken brick cobble

 

A suggestion is that you use a dark brick on the driveway which will not need a lot of maintenance and then consider using a light colour on all your borders as it defines the paving areas. On the other areas you could use any colour even a light colour but then again, consider using a darker colour for the borders. Your budget will determine how much of the area you can afford to pave although you can pave different sections at different times.

Dark paving on a driveway

Dark paving for a driveway

One thing that should be stressed here is the purchasing of good quality bricks. Poor quality bricks will look good soon after the job is completed but will more than likely break down, crack and even dissolve back to cement powder within a couple of years making it necessary to pave once again. . If you decide to lay the paving yourself you will have to be confident and have some guidelines regarding how to pave. If the paving is laid badly then it will look awful and this can make the whole area look bad. Having stressed the importance of a good quality brick, I now need to highlight a couple of important things that need to be done before laying a single brick. Scarify and clean the area which has to be paved, remove all grass and weeds, set your water run off levels, moisten the soil and then compact the ground with a plate compactor which can be hired at most hardware stores. Now that you have prepared the area correctly, you are now ready to lay those bricks. There are plenty tips and advice columns where you can get much needed advice before embarking on paving your property yourself, and I recommend that you get well acquainted with paving before spending and possibly wasting your money.

creative thinking to enhance aesthetics.

creative thinking to enhance aesthetics.

If you are in any doubt about laying the paving then it may be an idea to seek professional help. The professionals will be able to not only lay the paving but they will also be able to give sound advice on the best way to clean the paving once laid. If you clean your paving correctly, it will last for far longer and need less maintenance. If the outside of your property looks as good as the inside then you will be adding value to your home. If you are aiming to sell your house one day, then your paving becomes very important as first impressions really do count.

 

Driveways for sports cars.

Paving for a Posche

Most sports cars are very low and often the driveway needs to be leveled with filling and compaction to accommodate the sports car. We have just had this problem with a client in Rivonia where the underside of his Porsche and his wife’s BWM was catching the cement edging of the street and so consequently they had to leave their cars outside at night.

Drain at the garage

Drain grid in front of the garage

The existing driveway had an acute downward angle to the garages which had to be adjusted as well as the entrance from the street. Using 15m3 of filling and uplifting the entire driveway Aztec paving proceeded to recreate the entire driveway. To enhance the entrance we also built a retaining wall against the boundary wall to create a flower box all down the driveway.

Corobrick driveway

Steep driveway done with clay paving.

Once the old paving was out, we at Aztec paving pulled fish lines at the angle that was best suited to accommodate the lowness of the 2 sports cars. Then on a gradual basis we started to add the filling and using a Bomag compactor we proceeded to rebuild the driveway slope towards the garages. The total area measured 165m2 which should indicate why we needed so much filling.

clay paving bricks

Driveway in clay paving

We then cleaned the old bricks, which were re-used. We only needed 400 new bricks to replace the edgebeam and replace the bricks that got broken during the uplifting. (Not bad considering that the driveway consists of more than 7000 bricks.) Once the slope and entrance were compacted with the correct angles we proceeded to repack the old bricks to maintain the previous look that the driveway had. The cost was in the region of only half what it would have cost using new bricks. The client did not bother calling for other quotes as he had previously seen the quality of the work we put out at Aztec paving, plus, he also knew that we do not over charge our clients and those are the main reasons for the referrals we get on a weekly basis.

Cederberg driveway paving

Driveway paving in Cederberg

Often a driveway just needs a spring cleaning to shine once again and the re-use of old bricks can often not only be cheaper but also maintain the original appearance that was created when the house was built.