After 28 years of leading APSP’s efforts developing technical standards, Carvin DiGiovanni has...
In a win for brick-and-mortar retailers nationwide, the Supreme Court of the United States...
It’s an idea that could potentially change how people regard the aquatic design profession —...
To be successful amid the outdoor living boom, it's critical for retailers and builders to stay abreast of rapidly changing consumer tastes in backyard products. To help keep your product lines up to date, AQUA has partnered with design megasite Houzz to bring you more content about outdoor living, from pools and spas to outdoor kitchens and patio furniture. Here, a Houzz expert shares just a few ways you can incorporate brick into the backyard.
Brick is a classic building material. For the landscape, it’s an easy-to-maintain and extremely durable paving material that can be set in many patterns. The advantage of brick over other modular pavers is that it doesn’t lose its color over time and doesn’t require as much cleaning or maintenance as concrete pavers.
Photo by Christian Rice Architects Inc
The basics: Brick is considered a natural building material because it is made from clay and shale. Its durability and strength come from the firing process, where the clay is heated in a kiln and the materials bind together. Because of the kiln process, bricks are super durable and do not require a sealer. They can last as a paving material for many decades with minimal maintenance.
Cost: $10 to $20 per square foot, installed. A mortar setting bed is more expensive than sand-swept because it requires more material and more labor to install. Brick paving, with a lifespan of more than 40 years, is a great investment for your landscape.
Photo on right by Gregory Lombardi Design
Shown: Herringbone-pattern brick walkway set with a soldier course edge. The soldier course adds stability to the brick paving.
Photo by Morehead Pools
Size and color: Bricks fire to a reddish color that can vary based on exactly how the bricks are produced. Sizes are mostly within the 4-by-8-inch range, with thicknesses of 2½ to 4 inches. Driveways and applications with heavy loads require brick at least 3 inches thick.
RELATED: Connect With Skilled Driveway Paving Professionals
Photo by New Eco Landscapes
Special considerations: Adequate prep work is necessary when using brick as paving. The ground must be graded so that water drains from the surface, and the subgrade must have a drainage layer of compacted aggregate to properly support an even brick surface.
Maintenance: Remove stubborn stains with a little soapy water and a wire brush. There’s disagreement about whether clay bricks need to be sealed every few years. Bricks have been around for ages without the use of sealants, so I recommend skipping it. Check with your brick supplier before applying any product, because generic paver sealant is not good for clay bricks.
Sustainability: Bricks can be reused with ease. They can literally be taken up, stockpiled and then reset in a new configuration. Reuse your bricks for other landscape projects or sell them to a salvage shop.
Shown: Bricks set in a circular pattern, commonly used with other brick patterns to add interest.
Photo on right by Denise McGaha Interiors
Setting bricks: After the subgrade and drainage layers are built, bricks can either be installed on a sand setting bed with sand-swept joints or mortared in place on a concrete foundation.
Brick, like all durable modular paving, can be reset if the pavers become unevenly settled. The best way to ensure your brick stays level for many years is to create a great foundation and to set the paving with one of the above tried-and-true methods.
Photo by Dennis Mayer Photographer
RELATED: More Popular Paving Materials and Guides
Popular brick patterns. Bricks are wonderful modular units that make strong, stable paving when set together in tight patterns. Here are the three most common brick patterns:
For longer than I care to admit, the design snob in me has looked down my snooty snout on portable spas, or hot tubs, depending on the preferred terminology. (For this discussion I'll use my favorite term: "spas.") By whatever label, portable vessels that contain hot water were for many years more of a clunky appliance than part of the landscape, at least to my eyes.
It's fair to say that comfort and hydrotherapy, rather than aesthetics, have long been the driving element behind spa...
We always say that pool construction tracks closely with housing starts, and historically that has always been the case. But is that still true? And are there other economic indicators that are as correlative with the state of the pool industry?
Indeed, pools have tracked with housing starts. But then, in 2011, things began to change. Starts stopped prompting pools. Moreover, two new indicators began to explain a lot of things about the floundering pool business.
Here at AQUA, we spend a lot of time discussing the in's and outs of your work life, but what about life outside of work? On our Facebook page, we asked you to tell us about the hobbies and passions you enjoy off the clock. We got a wave of responses that included everything from motorcycling to music to statue making!
Have a hobby you'd like to share? Send photos to read more
For landscape lighting designer Scott Armusewicz, Jr., it's all about discovering possibilities after the sun goes down. As lead lighting designer with Hamptons Landscape Lighting (Southampton, N.Y.), Armusewicz says he's always on the lookout for opportunities to create unique effects while also being sensitive to the client's needs.
"It's all about finding that unique piece that will give the client something special, but at the same time give them exactly what they're looking...