Dry-Set Brick and Stone Paving
- In our climate, freeze/thaw cycles can cause brick or flagstone to heave and become uneven. On occasion, areas of dry-set paving may need to be lifted and reset.
- The top layer of some types of flagstone may delaminate (flake off). This is the nature of sedimentary stone.
- Moss, mold or algae may grow in areas of reduced sunlight or persistent dampness. These can be removed with a water and bleach solution (1:1) or commercial algaecide, and a stiff-bristled brush. Masonry sealers containing moss/fungus inhibitors are available. Avoid all acid-based solutions. A pressure washer will also work; however, this may remove joint sand and cause delamination.
- Pots should be placed on feet or pot risers to aid in consistent drying of paved surfaces.
- Polymeric sand may have been installed in the joints of your paved surfaces. Pots and furniture must be kept off of these surfaces for a minimum of 24 hours after installation. When freeze-thaw cycles cause movement between individual paving pieces, the polymeric joint sand may break apart or separate from the edges of paving materials, resulting in voids where weed seeds can germinate or ants may create piles of sand. In our climate this can be expected. On average, polymeric sand will need to be replaced after four years, depending on site conditions.
Wet-Set Brick and Stone Paving
- In our climate, mortared joints of a wet-set patio or walkway may crack or separate. To address this, occasional tuckpointing may be necessary.
- Cleaning and re-sealing is recommended a minimum of every other year.
- Cracking, chipping and spalling (breakage in fragments) are all part of the poured concrete experience. Joints are located appropriately to reduce the incidence of these occurrences, but cannot prevent them. Your new concrete is not warrantied against heaving, cracking, spalling or popouts that can occur with concrete flatwork.
- A quality masonry sealer is typically applied by the concrete installer not less than 30 days after the concrete paving has been completed.
- No ice-control products should be applied to concrete during the first winter. If traction is needed, sand can be applied. If an ice-control product is absolutely necessary, sparingly apply a magnesium chloride or calcium chloride product. Never use rock salt/sodium chloride. In early spring, thoroughly rinse areas where ice-control products were applied.
Snapped or Sawed Limestone Walls
- Snapped stone walls are backfilled with loose stone and there is no mortar between the courses. This allows water to drain through the face of the wall. It is not unusual for the face of a wall to remain wet several days after a rain.
- If the top course is not mortared or glued down, it can become loose over time.
- Walking on top of the wall should be avoided.
Outcropping Stone Walls
- Water may bleed through the face of the wall. It is not unusual for the face of a wall to remain wet several days after a rain.
- Rodents may burrow behind and between individual stones. These voids may cause soil to erode from behind the wall and settling of the boulders. Aggressive groundcover plantings in the spaces between the stones may help to deter rodents and reduce erosion. Rodent baits may be necessary.
- Water may continue to drain through the face of the wall. It is not unusual for the face of a wall to remain wet several days after a rain.
- Through multiple freeze-thaw cycles, the wall will move and it is not uncommon to find that an individual stone has fallen from the wall.
- Walking on top of the wall should be avoided.
Concrete Block Retaining Walls
- Water may continue to bleed through the face of the wall. It is not unusual for the face of a wall to remain wet several days after a rain.
- Take care when addressing ice along the foot of concrete block retaining walls, as ice-control products can cause accelerated rates of deterioration of concrete block. If an ice-control product is absolutely necessary, use a magnesium chloride or calcium chloride product – avoid rock salt/sodium chloride. In early spring, thoroughly rinse areas where ice-control products were applied.
- Although the cap course is glued down, it can become loose over time. Walking on top of the wall should be avoided.
- Efflorescence is a natural occurrence in which soluble salts are carried to the surface of the stone. This appears as a chalky white powder residue on the surface of the stone. Quality commercial cleaning solutions are available to address efflorescence.
Fireplace or Fire Pit
- To allow the mortar to fully cure, wait at least one week after completion to start a fire.
- When starting a fire, start with a small fire and slowly increase the size of the fire over time. This will help alleviate thermal shock, which occurs when a cold or cool fire box heats up rapidly. Thermal shock can cause the mortar joints to crack. Every time you start a fire, temper the structure by allowing the masonry to gradually warm up.
- Do not douse hot coals with water; this can also cause thermal shock as a result of rapid cooling.
- Do not use accelerants (lighter fluid, gasoline, etc.) to start a fire.
- Clean ashes out of the fire box on a consistent basis, as they retain moisture.
- Cover the fire pit during winter months to protect it from freezing precipitation.
- A quality masonry sealer should be applied every 60 days from spring through fall to minimize stains from grease, wine, etc.
- Clean wood structures on an annual or biennial basis. Apply wood cleaner and use a pressure washer on a light spray pattern – too much pressure can ruin the surface of the wood. A UV protectant, stain or sealer should be applied annually following a thorough cleaning, and after the wood has thoroughly dried following the cleaning.
- Inspect wood arbors, decks, rails, fences and trellis structures for cracking/checking of boards and loose nails or screws. Cracking/checking is normal and to be expected, as wood shrinks and expands with changes in moisture and temperature.
- Monitor vine growth and prune accordingly to prevent damage to the structure.
- Check open ends of drain tile routinely (at least once a month) to be sure they are draining freely.
- Check catch basins routinely (at least once a month) and clear grates and drain boxes of any debris.
- In fall, be sure leaf debris is not blocking the inflow or outflow of water. This can lead to water retention, which may freeze inside the catch basins and/or pipe, causing cracks.
- Periodically remove snow from the outflow of the drain tile. Snow and/or ice can cause a dam, retaining water inside the pipe, which may freeze.
- Early November, be sure to disconnect the underground sump pump outlet and connect the winter sump pump outlet kit.
- When adjusting your clocks for daylight savings time, also adjust your lighting timer.
- If the power goes out at your home, you may need to reset the timer inside the transformer. If you have a digital timer, this is not a concern.
- In spring, check to be sure all of the lamps are lit. If you need to replace a lamp, wear gloves, as the oil on your fingers can cause the replaced bulb to prematurely burn out. Be sure to match the bulb type and wattage. Walk through the system to ensure that all of the fixtures are solidly staked in the ground and plumb.
- An individual directional up-light may need to be adjusted as the plant that it highlights grows. When removing or turning a fixture, always pull the fixture and stake straight up out of the ground. If you turn the fixture in the ground, the stake may break off of the fixture. When relocating a fixture, use a shovel to dig the new hole rather than simply sticking the stake in the ground.
- Each spring, walk through the system to ensure that all of the lamps are lit, solidly staked in the ground and plumb.
Underground Irrigation System
- In spring, check for broken or tilted irrigation heads, leaks and clogged nozzles, and address with your irrigation service provider.
- Throughout the season, monitor spray heads for overspray, which can discolor paving and buildings. Address with your irrigation service provider.
- In spring, remove water from the basin, and remove leaves and other debris with a wet/dry vacuum. A scrub brush or a pressure washer may be needed to thoroughly clean the rocks and liner.
- Spring through fall, inspect and clean bio-falls filters weekly.
- Monitor water clarity and add an algaecide (as per label directions), as needed.
- In fall, unplug, disconnect and remove water pumps and place in a 5-gallon pail of water to prevent the seals from drying out. Over winter, store these in a basement or location not subject to freezing temperatures.
Contact LandWorks at (262) 820-2501 for professional help with the above services, and:
- Spring and Fall Cleanup
- Tree and Shrub Care
- Seasonal Color
- Horticultural Care
- Fertilizing and Weed Control
- Winter Protection
- Mowing and Lawn Care
- Snow Removal