Installing a beautiful stone sign to welcome people to your local Asheville business or private property creates an elegant ambiance from the moment your customers or guests arrive.
However, as sophisticated as it looks, if you do not consider traffic and utilities in your hardscaping project, it can create a liability and end up costing you more money to redo the work you just installed.
For your personal residence, you may want a stone patio so you can watch the Asheville sunsets. But if there’s a large slope or underground electric lines, these things can thwart your plans.
To ensure the installation of your hardscaping project happens with the utmost quality, hire a professional landscaper specializing in hardscaping.
What Do I Need To Consider When Installing A Hardscaping Project?
When dreaming up your ideal hardscaping project, whether it be for your business or home here in Asheville, you’ll need to consider a few key elements of your surroundings.
When building a personal or business hardscaping project, consider these things:
- Traffic patterns (vehicle and human)
- Power lines
- Sewer drains
- Water mains
- Phone lines
- Cable lines
Traffic can mean car traffic, delivery trucks, utility inspectors, and most important, foot traffic. For example, if your new stone entrance column happens to be safely off the road, but still on a utility easement, you will need to move it before you also get a bill for a back-hoe moving it in the middle of the night to deal with an underground problem.
Most important for your enjoyment, is your pathway or patio in the most efficient spot for your current and future use? Could steps have been eliminated in favor of a ramp that will allow easier walking for older folks and the rolling of any grills, coolers or furniture you desire? Will the stone pathway look oddly out of place once the hot tub is removed? A good contractor will ask you about future uses of your stonework and outdoor living spaces to insure it is located for the future.
When designing any hardscaping project, research where the electric lines, water mains, phone and cable lines, and even sewers and water drains lay. Within city limits, water must drain into existing utility drains, and buried power and gas lines might need to be accessed at some point. Power transformers require a special tool from a specific direction to service. Your stone feature may be off of the right-of-way, but still block transformer access.
A professional landscaper can do this work for you and then safely work around the lines or incorporate them in a way the city approves of.
How Do I Ensure My Hardscaping Project Is Done Right?
A licensed landscape contractor will install your hardscaping project correctly the first time, which saves you time and headaches. They will immediately call 811 and have all underground utilities marked within several business days. These marks are in different colors so they reveal the type of utility and therefore how deeply it was buried for the inspector. However, utility inspections occur before final grading, and the marks are only accurate to within 3 feet. The lines could be several feet closer to the surface than originally dug, and to the left or right. A licensed contractor will be familiar with the guidelines for digging around these marked utilities and which equipment can be used.
Most important to the homeowner is that the marking of lines removes all liability from both them and the installing company if proper digging methods are observed. I have seen power lines fail 2 months after digging from a slight shovel scratch, and it is a great relief that there will be no bill for the emergency utility crew and machinery working at midnight in an ice storm, because it was called in before digging.
Another traffic pattern that needs to be considered before installation is delivery trucks. Does your stonework allow easy access for deliveries, or do they clip it with their bumpers regularly? Planning for a few extra feet of turning radius in your driveway will also allow much larger trucks, like moving trucks, to deliver and receive items much closer to your house. This can be an enormous advantage in Asheville’s unpredictable weather.
A great positive from locating utility lines is that it will also locate a sewer line if you have one. If you have plants that you love, but that might not survive the winter in Asheville, this is where you can plant them to give them the best chance. The soil around a sewer line remains much warmer and will not freeze. Impress your friends with gardenias, begonias and figs that come back every year!
Ambrose Landscapes can design and install an elegant natural stone sign, driveway, sidewalk, or stone erosion control to enhance your business’ or home’s beauty. Before we get started, we’ll do the necessary research and planning to ensure your project meets the necessary criteria and takes all the surrounding utilities and land slopes into consideration. While hardscaping is an upfront investment, Ambrose Landscapes will save you money by installing the project correctly the first time.
Ambrose Landscapes’ team has nearly 30 years of experience installing hardscaping projects in the Asheville area. Our team understands how to identify which utilities and traffic patterns need to be considered for your project, and how to make the rules a plus for your enjoyment.