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Old 10-25-2011, 12:56 AM   #1
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


My house is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the south bay to be specific. This is a house built in the 50s and it had termite problem before due to moisture. When I got the house, I fixed the moisture problem by removing plants away from the foundation.

I am going to put a 3' paver walkway all around it. Now I'd like to put the walkway right against the foundation and this way I can keep the foundation dry. However, I saw in online photo galleries for landscaping design, people seem to always leave a 2-ft plantation strip between the walkway and the foundation.

I would really like to keep my foundation dry and avoid all these moisture problem. However, I do not want my walkway to look awkward so that it hurt my resale value down the road. What is your advice?

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


I lived in the San Jose---the armpit of the San Francisco Bay Area---for a couple decades. I guess I cannot complain. My paltry investment and nice improvements turned into a $500,000 paid for asset rather quickly. Real estate is so absurd out your way. Even sticker shock living in NYC is not so fantastic.

Anyhow, your major challenge is grading so the property drains away from the foundation.

Aesthetically, I cannot really recommend whether or not to leave space between your walks and the house without seeing it. You may want planting beds wider than 2 if you have the room as such a narrow space restricts what you can plant there. Can you post some pictures?

In general, I found having a couple feet of nice ground cover or flowers kept dirt and other stains from bouncing off the pavement and staining the stucco (in the case of my house). I only needed walks along the sides of the house. I planted needlepoint ivy and wild strawberry along the sides near the house and never had increased termite problems.

Having that space also gave me room I needed to run sprinkler and drip irrigation lines. Otherwise I would have had to position the spray heads along a fence and would be spraying water directly on to the house. Just the problem you are trying to avoid?

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Rather then a plantation strip, I have seen river rock between the foundation and the walkway. Looks great
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:30 AM   #4
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper View Post
Rather then a plantation strip, I have seen river rock between the foundation and the walkway. Looks great
I have found this one:
http://www.donnan.com/termites-mulched-beds.htm


I have been bidding for a house for more than a year here before I got this one. I have seriously looked at about 50 houses and sent out about 20 offers and only this one was accepted. I only have 25% down and half the time outbidded by cash offers (on > $1M homes!!! ). Anyway, I kinda developed a correlation between the moisture and termite problem. The houses that have concrete walkway all around their houses only has very mild termite issues. However, for many people who plant all around the house, they invariably have huge termite issues.

So this is where I am coming from. I try my best not to let termite back into my house again, thus my thought on whether to have the paver walkway extending all the way to the foundation to keep the soil dry.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Hey,

The problem is I see it with termites is 2-fold.

1. Termites like wood.
2. Termites like moisture.

Put the 2 together and you're guaranteed to get them! There is a saying in the south -- you either have termites or you have had them. It is, unfortunately, a fact of life. There are things you can do, though, to mitigate the chances of getting an infestation.

1. Moisture.

Make sure your gutters are in good shape. Make sure the downspouts are directed away from the foundation (ie: 3 foot downspout extenders are a cheap/easy method to direct water away from the foundation).

Make sure the landscape is graded away from the house. Even a few inches makes a big difference ("That's what she said" - Michael Scott, The Office).

If you have a sprinker system, make sure the heads/rotors are pointing away from the house and that there are no leaks.

2. Termites

A lot of extermination services are out there and offer fairly reasonable treatment plans for active infestations and then bait/traps for monitoring purposes. They are cheap and easy.

A few relatively inexpensive steps can help protect your house in many ways.

As far as the walkway/paver idea, I would put it at LEAST 2-3 feet away from the house and have some nice planted beds or the river rock idea above. If you use river rock or want beds to be weed free, use weed control fabric underneath the rock and/or mulch.

Hope this helps a bit.

John
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


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Originally Posted by Johnsteph10 View Post
Hey,

As far as the walkway/paver idea, I would put it at LEAST 2-3 feet away from the house and have some nice planted beds or the river rock idea above. If you use river rock or want beds to be weed free, use weed control fabric underneath the rock and/or mulch.

Hope this helps a bit.

John

The link in my last post was about "Stone mulches can also contribute to termite problems since they help keep the soil evenly moist".

River rocks piling against the foundation actually keeps the soil beneath moist ----> termite issue.

That is exactly my original question: if you leave the paver walkway 2-3 ft away from the house, then what do you put in that 2-3 ft space? Definitely no flowers. Piling river rocks are no good either. Then just leave bare earth exposed?
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:20 PM   #7
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Hey! Here is a radical idea I used on my expensive California house and many others all over the country since.

Why not contract with an exterminator and do a perimeter termite abatement system so the darn things are never a problem again? Or at least if they sneak past you will treat them surgically and be done.

By the way though, for those of you that do not live in California? If you have ever gotten a picture of a house from the region, the photo has termites. I don't mean for you to look at the picture. I mean the photo paper itself has bugs eating at it and soon bent on destroying your home.

What an absolute gangster racket. See a bug out that way and you do not get away with just fixing a localized problem. You have to have your house tented, gassed and pay watchers to keep kids and pets away.

It is near impossible to close on a home, even if you tented it a month ago, without tenting and killing termites again. Bugs killing guys know they have you by the cajones if you want to close a real estate deal. Some exterminators must raise and carry termites as pets. If you totaled all the severe termite reports filed in just the San Francisco Bay Area? You should conclude there is no way anything could still be standing.

Last edited by user1007; 10-28-2011 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:21 AM   #8
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Hey! Here is a radical idea I used on my expensive California house and many others all over the country since.

Why not contract with an exterminator and do a perimeter termite abatement system so the darn things are never a problem again? Or at least if they sneak past you will treat them surgically and be done.

By the way though, for those of you that do not live in California? If you have ever gotten a picture of a house from the region, the photo has termites. I don't mean for you to look at the picture. I mean the photo paper itself has bugs eating at it and soon bent on destroying your home.

What an absolute gangster racket. See a bug out that way and you do not get away with just fixing a localized problem. You have to have your house tented, gassed and pay watchers to keep kids and pets away.

It is near impossible to close on a home, even if you tented it a month ago, without tenting and killing termites again. Bugs killing guys know they have you by the cajones if you want to close a real estate deal. Some exterminators must raise and carry termites as pets. If you totaled all the severe termite reports filed in just the San Francisco Bay Area? You should conclude there is no way anything could still be standing.
As soon as I closed the house, I have already tented it as well as did the subterranian treatment all around the house. However, if you read more into this methods, you will know that the subterranian treatment simply put a chemical barrier around your house. But this very so-called chemical barrier is highly non-uniform and the termite could still get through the weak sections. Sometimes the dude whoever sprayed the chemical accidentally just left some portions out.

Anyway, so it seems that the general population doesn't really think/care about termites. (Well, one way or the other you will get termites again in a few years anyway.)

So my next question, aethetically-speaking, do I really have to place the walkway a couple of feet away from the foundation to look good?
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:59 AM   #9
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Rules of thumb to apply to your situation...

A walkway placed directly next to the perimeter of your house will not allow for a slope allowing the maximum amount of rainfall to properly drain.
A 3ft gently graded bed between the walkway and the foundation is best.

Using mulches including stones will indeed keep the soil moist and is not recommended in termite prone areas. Instead, plant grass.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #10
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


If your foundation is properly graded and you have systems in place (gutters/downspouts, french drains, etc.) to keep water away from your foundation, then you won't have any problems with moisture next to your house and it won't be an issue.



Quote:
Originally Posted by htabbas View Post
The link in my last post was about "Stone mulches can also contribute to termite problems since they help keep the soil evenly moist".

River rocks piling against the foundation actually keeps the soil beneath moist ----> termite issue.

That is exactly my original question: if you leave the paver walkway 2-3 ft away from the house, then what do you put in that 2-3 ft space? Definitely no flowers. Piling river rocks are no good either. Then just leave bare earth exposed?
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:52 PM   #11
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


French drains are not an option around the South tip of the San Francisco Bay. They are, in fact highly illegal. Everything drains into the Bay. I mean everything from all communities and companies dumping and living near. And if you buy a house or houseboat without reading a tide chart? God help you.

I learned to sail and race sailboats on the San Francisco Bay. There were days when I found myself with beautiful, picture perfect sails, moving backward. The tides can come at you close to 8 knots.

My house was in the armpit of the San Francisco Bay. It would move around from the tidal action and of course jitter with earthquake tremors. I tethered it to its foundation. Most home owners will not spend the $20K.

I moved for fear to safety. Worst earthquake in US history happened in the Midwest along the New Madres. Rivers will run backward again. California will finally fall into the Pacific Ocean as tectonic plates adjust. Too much dead weight out there.

As your former Governator would say, "Hasta La Vista Babies."

Last edited by user1007; 10-29-2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:34 PM   #12
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Need advice on where to put the paver walkway in the backyard


Quote:
Originally Posted by gjjr2001 View Post
Rules of thumb to apply to your situation...

A walkway placed directly next to the perimeter of your house will not allow for a slope allowing the maximum amount of rainfall to properly drain.
A 3ft gently graded bed between the walkway and the foundation is best.

Using mulches including stones will indeed keep the soil moist and is not recommended in termite prone areas. Instead, plant grass.

Thanks! This is exactly the answer which I am looking for.

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