Practical Residential Paving

One of the most intriguing aspects of residential-landscape architectural design is the infinite variety of tastes and tasks we encounter.

There are many options for residential paving.

Most clients show us pictures of what types of looks they like, but don’t know if the looks are applicable in their circumstances. It is our job to consider their “wants” in order to best show them how those can be incorporated into a logical, environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing solution.

Many homeowners today are fixing up their current house rather than buying a new one. When dealing with renovations, the first step is to analyze what currently exists, its exact location, condition and description.

Utilizing an engineered survey of the property, begin by preparing an “as-built” plan, showing the current location and description of all existing improvements. Then create an analysis of existing conditions that consider how those elements fit into the owner’s new program.

Follow this with a conceptual/schematic plan, illustrating graphically what could be.

The design begins with how each portion of the property needs to function. Pedestrian and vehicular circulation systems are a starting point as they have specific spatial requirements. Define access into and out of the property, and a means to get around the site.

Functional areas must fulfill requirements pertaining to space allotments for different activities and proximity to compatible uses:

• How many cars are to be accommodated?

• How large is the family?

• How old are the children?

• Does the family entertain frequently?

• Does the family spend a lot of time outside?

• What type of activities are preferred–tennis, basketball, swimming, golf?

The “hardscaping” is typically limited to 60 percent of the property, with a minimum of 40 percent dedicated to pervious open space.

Once the spatial allocations have been met, it is now time to consider the aesthetic and functional considerations:

• What is the preferred architectural style?

• What is the color scheme?

• What types of products best fulfill their intended use?

• Is there a “family” of products that could serve all purposes?

• How much of the budget has been allocated for these items?

• What are the soil and drainage conditions?

Another important design consideration is the environmental friendliness of the proposed finishes. With the continued emphasis on water conservation, sustainability and “xeriscaping,” more of the landscape area that used to be relegated to lawn now needs to be converted to something that either does not use water, or captures and reuses it.

There is also a new emphasis on containing personal drainage versus dumping it into the public drainage system.

There's a lot to consider when designing for residential clients.

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