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Old 07-12-2009, 08:14 PM   #1
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GC or Pro landscaper


So, I have pretty much conceded defeat in planning my patio. I can't seem to find the right slopes etc.. that satisfy the generally rules of drainage. Every problem I seem to solve brings up another so its time for professional help as a sanity check. Better safe then sorry later....

I am still very keen on doing some of the work myself (specifically, laying the actial stone/pavers) as this is the only way I can afford the materials I want. It's obvious I need help of some kind in planning but I am not sure if this would fall under a general contractor or a pro landscaper. At the moment, I just want a gravel base. The stone is scheduled to gone on near the middle of august once the product is available. I want the base now because my backyard is a huge dirt patch that slopes right at my foundation.

So, regarding a consult, would I be better going to a gc or a landscaping company? Any price range for something like this? I'd also consider having whomever quoted actually do the work as well. Would a landscaper lay a base only? The patio is roughly 20x20 and should require somewhere between 10 and 12 yards aggregate. For pros,this could probably be done in an afternoon.

Thoughts appreciated!

as an fyi, I am in the toronto (GTA) area.

Thanks again.
ry

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Old 07-13-2009, 07:00 AM   #2
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I would look for a contractor that specializes in hardscapes or pavers. Some landscape guys do, but around here a 'landscaper' mostly cuts yards and installs plants. There are several places that specialize in pavers, hardscaping, etc, but your area may be different.

Good luck with your project.

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Old 07-13-2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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If you are putting down a patio made of concrete pavers over a compacted subbase, gravel and sand, the whole thing sloped appropriately for your site, then I'd go with a pro landscaper - and specifically one that has certification from the ICPI (icpi.org).

Not that this may not be doable by a good GC - even a good DIYer with tools, but the foundation is the most important part to get right, consistency and slope-wise. I mean screw up the stone pattern and you can correct it but screw up compaction of the gravel and you're heading for troubles that can cost twice as much to repair.

Again, not putting down a good GC - but a certified cement paver guy has to know this stuff for a living. Would a GC just go with 6" of one- time compacted subbase (ie gravel) or would he know enough to add 2" for this climate and use the appropriate gravel compacted the right number of times? or would he suggest 8" to be on the safe side but that he's also like our clay base to be compacted to the right consistnecy before he even puts down anything?

A pro landscaper earns his money in the preparation mostly and less in the actual laying of the stones. Usually one guy lays the stones so comparatively, it is a small part of the overall job. That you can do yourself - and he wouldn't mind.

These are all general questions that may all have the same answers in your area - but that also might have different ones depending on exactly where you are in the GTA. And exactly what stones are you considering? - that might enter into it too...

All this to say that a pro landscaper with training either with a paver supplier or certification from the ICPI is a good bet, IMO.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:00 PM   #4
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Yup, I would definately go with the pro landscaper. I would check on some of the jobs they have done before you go with them. I just had a huge patio done and I used a pro-landscaper. The paver job was excellent and the slope was perfect. I had some problems with my boulder retaining wall though. If you are going to have to have a retaining wall make sure the drainage is good. My landscaper did not use any tile or fabric to hold the sand in and it kept washing out? He came back and reinstalled, but i should have went with my instinct when I asked him about the drainage. Sorry for the ramble, but just be careful and get everything in writing. I wouldn't pay in full for a week so you can check everything over. Overall, i was happy with the job.
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