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Landscape & Design

By Jonathan Hendy • June 14, 2016

Taking on a Weekend Landscape Project at Home?

Techo-Bloc

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Do you ever look at a beautifully finished hardscape project and think to yourself “I wonder how they did that?” Although skill and knowledge are significant factors, experienced contractors heavily rely on tools just like anyone else does. Behind the hard work it takes to install a hardscape, there are 5 essential tools you’ll need in order to achieve a contractor-quality outdoor renovation:

1. Quality Masonry Saw
In almost every scenario, cuts are going to need to be made. While you may want to impress your friends and family by telling them that you’ve cut everything by hand, your project is likely to move at a glacial pace without the use of a saw or block splitter.

 

 

2. Dead Blow Hammer
Whether you’re leveling a block on a retaining wall or moving a paver into place, a quality dead blow hammer is important to have. Without one, you’re stuck using a traditional hammer, which is much more likely to split or damage your stones. Invest in a lasting tool that will better your projects and help your fingers for years to come.

Dead Blow Hammer
Dead Blow Hammer

 

3. Quality Levels
Think of levels as your holy grail. They are your new favorite tools, learn to love them and quickly at that! Without a level base, your project will not turn out the way you intended with uneven patio slabs that you’ll most likely stub your toes on. If you want to do yourself a favor, purchase a few quality levels in a variety of lengths.

 

 

4. Plate Compactor
Using a plate compactor will save you a lot of time. Without a proper compactor, you run the risk of your pavers sinking and, ultimately, putting in a lot of work only to end up with an uneven design (for details press here [Hyperlink What Causes RutsPotholes and the Lowering of PaversPavement to Occur Article]). Depending on the project you tackle, the size of compactor you will need will vary.

Plate Compactor
Plate Compactor
 

5. Skid Steer
Although it may be a costly investment, skid steers are among the best production movers. Since you’re not necessarily looking to start a hardscaping business, consider renting one instead. The only functional downside of a skid steer is its tendency to tear up a backyard when misused. However, if you’re conscious of where you’re driving (please avoid those beautiful pavers) you’ll be more than fine.

 

Skid Steer
Skid Steer

Those points aside, you should always be weary. Here are 3 things you should be cautious of while creating your dream outdoor living space:

 

1. Drainage
Make sure your levels are graded with a 2% slope away from your home’s foundation or you could be investing time, money and back-breaking work only to cause yourself water damage.

Trenching is a great way to solve water issues
Trenching is a great way to solve water issues

 

2. Falling Walls
We always recommend using a professional contractor if you’re building a retaining wall. Wall building is a science and a falling wall is a safety hazard.

3. Driveways
Hire a professional for a driveway. Car traffic takes a toll on whatever is underneath it. If you want an interlocking concrete pavement that will last under these conditions, hiring a professional is the way to go.

If you’ve decided that maybe hardscaping isn’t really something you want to undertake yourself after all, consider a local certified Techo-Pro for the job. These independent and pre-screened companies of hardscape experience and certifications to get the job done. Find a certified landscape professional nearby here.

All of the tools mentioned above will both help you speed up your project and achieve a more professional outcome. Remember to not bite off more than you can chew and do your best to account for the unforeseen. For installation tips, check out our YouTube channel.

 

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