Outdoor Construction Services
Landscape Design & Build
We are southern Ontario’s driveway experts. Providing durability and beauty, interlocking driveways last 3 – 4 times longer than asphalt, saving money over the long-term. We will help you choose a style that will compliment your house’s colour and architecture, resulting in a long-lasting, good-looking entrance to your home.
What is an Interlocking Driveway?
Interlocking driveways are built using interlocking pavers, interlocking bricks, natural stone tiles, cobblestones, or outdoor porcelain pavers. Commonly referred to as an interlocking brick driveway, these driveways are most often built using pre-cast pavers. There is an extensive selection of colours, textures, and laying patterns to choose from, making finding a suitable finish material for your interlocking driveway relatively easy.
Why Install an Interlocking Driveway?
Interlocking driveways, when properly constructed, will be a permanent, lifetime driveway for your home. That means no more crumbling, fading asphalt, cracking, weed-filled concrete, only a beautiful, luxurious-looking permanent stone driveway.
We consider an interlocking driveway a long-term investment. These driveways can easily replace 3-4 asphalt driveway installations and most definitely increase the curb appeal and resale value of your home.
Who Should Consider an Interlocking Driveway?
Any homeowner looking for the longest-lasting, highest quality, and best-looking driveway possible should invest in an interlocking driveway.
How is an Interlocking Driveway Installed?
Beneath the surface is what’s most important when installing an interlocking driveway. What we in the industry call the base is the driveway’s foundation. Think of the foundation of your home or a tall building. You don’t see the foundation, but the size and structural quality will determine the size, structural integrity, and, therefore, the durability of the building. This same principle is true with all construction projects, including interlocking driveways.
Let’s walk through the installation process.
A walk through the site to determine a proper design approach and assess any grading or drainage issues.
Using an excavation machine, we dig out the existing surface material and dispose of it properly. From there, we dig down to accommodate for 8-10 inches of base material (usually granular A gravel), ensuring we remove all organic from the sub-grade.
Sub-base Assessment and Amendment
An often-overlooked step in the construction process, assessing the sub-base material, could be the difference between a long-lasting driveway and one that doesn’t stand the test of time. A sub-base material should neither contain too much clay nor silt content. If it is determined that the sub-base is less than ideal, it should be reinforced with aggregate or lime-based cement to ensure structural integrity.
A geotextile fabric is laid over the sub-base and under the gravel base material, keeping the fine material in the gravel from sinking into the sub-base. This ultimately limits the possibility of void spaces being created in the base material over time and helps spread the load even further across the sub-grade.
As mentioned above, Granular A gravel, or “road base,” is used to build the foundation base of the interlocking driveway. We lay 4-inch layers of gravel, compacting each layer. Within the layers, we install geogrid, an often-skipped step by other contractors, which adds an extra level of strength to the base. In our opinion, it’s well worth the extra time and effort to use geogrid.
1 inch of bedding sand levels the base and snugs the pavers into the sand, causing an interlocking effect.
Laying the Interlocking Pavers
The interlocking driveway pavers are laid with what’s called the “click and drop” method and installed according to the pre-determined/ designed pattern. Edge restraints are installed around the perimeter, with 8-inch spikes driven into the ground to hold them in place.
We typically use polymeric sand, which hardens when activated, to sweep in the interlock joints. The sand acts as a flexible grout, filling the joints, increasing the interlocking effect, and keeping weeds from growing in-between pavers.
Cleanup & Grass Repair
The site has a final clean-up, removing all debris and equipment. We also add topsoil and sod to the stone’s perimeter if necessary to fill in any gaps from excavation. Using sod rather than seed ensures an instant clean, finished look.
Interlocking Driveway Design
A design is not necessary for an interlocking driveway, but it’s always nice to have a visual on paper before construction begins. A design can be as basic as some paver samples, catalog photos & inspirational photos, or get more in-depth with a plan view or 3-dimensional design. If you are considering building a new front entrance and front flower bed simultaneously as your interlocking driveway install, a 3-dimensional design will go a long way in ensuring a proper layout and material selection.
Interlocking Driveway Accompanying Features
If your front entrance steps are dated, not functionally adequate, or compromised physically, you may want to consider having an entrance installed at the same time as your driveway. Having all construction completed simultaneously will save on overall expenses, as the contractor will already have their equipment on site. It will also be advantageous to have all construction happen before installing new pavers to avoid having heavy equipment drive on the new pavers.
Other features that can complement your interlocking driveway are landscape lighting, either bordering or inlaid in the pavers, and geometrical designs inlaid in the driveway with suitable matching pavers.
Interlocking Driveway Materials
The typical surface material used for interlocking driveways is concrete pavers. In recent years, larger pavers, called slabs, have become popular due to manufacturers building them strong enough to handle the vehicular weight. Another material gaining popularity in recent years, not only for driveways but also other landscape areas, is porcelain. Porcelain is now manufactured for outdoor and vehicular use. It is incredibly durable, will never scratch or fade, and has a high density, making it very stain resistant. Lastly, there is natural stone. If installing natural stone for the driveway, it is advised to follow the proper ratios of length, width, and thickness of stones to ensure no cracking under the pressure of vehicle weight and forces from driving.
Things to Consider when having a contractor install your driveway
- Proper base depth and compaction
- Geotextile fabric used
- Sub-base assessment and reinforcement
- Vehicular rated surface pavers
At Ariss Landscape Inc., we are determined to have your interlocking driveway the most beautiful driveway in your neighborhood and continue to be for a lifetime. We build our driveways to be permanent, never needing to be replaced again. We never cut corners, are educated and experienced using the proper industry-rated installation practices. In addition, we over-build everything we do, ensuring you get your money’s worth.
Natural Stone Steps
Natural stone is a beautiful, long-lasting, and natural-looking option for your landscaping steps.
Natural stone steps are the most durable option available for creating landscape steps. While other products, such as pre-cast steps, are designed to mimic the look of natural stone, the real thing is always the best choice.
Natural Stone goes with anything and everything; new and old architecture, brick and siding, pavers and concrete, lawns and gardens, pools and ponds, it compliments everything nicely and will never go out of style.
Natural stone steps will get better looking with age, as weather and traffic create character in their visible surface.
Natural stone steps come in different shapes, with consistent riser heights. The shape can be random, saw cut with a natural face, saw cut on all sides or hand split on all sides. Another way to use natural stone for steps in with tiles. Saw cut or irregular natural stone tiles can be secured to the top and face of underlying concrete or pre-cast blocks.
Manufacturers use different technique to get unique finishes to the stone steps including flaming, honing, sandblasting, smooth-sanding, guillotining, and hand rocking.
To get a visual of all the different colours, textures and finish options locally available for natural stone steps click here. https://creativelandscapedepot.com/steps.php
Common natural stone types locally sourced and used in step applications are granite and limestone. These stone types are abundant in our local quarries but will also be imported worldwide.
Granite is a highly dense stone with many colours and naturally occurring character due to its coarse grains.
Limestone has very fine grains to it.
Ontario has an abundance of natural stone used in step applications, while some retailers will source products worldwide. Custom cutting is also available for unique settings.
Where to Use Natural Stone Steps
Natural stone looks good everywhere! Some circumstances call for a more subtle, natural look, while louder steps can be used as focal points in other scenarios.
It’s best to look in person at a stone supplier to choose the type of natural stone step you prefer. However, with so many stone types, sizes, and finishes, it may be helpful to have a landscape designer help you choose something that will compliment your home well.
Custom cut steps are another option if the site calls for it.
Landscape steps will often need bordering walls to tie them in without a significant fall-off to each side. Raising the soil from garden beds or lawns or constructing walls on each side of the steps are ways of bordering the steps.
Railings and lighting are nice visual accessories that also provide safety to the steps.
Curious about where the natural stone comes from in Ontario? Check out these quarry websites:
Retaining Wall Styles
Armour Stone or boulder stone retaining walls are built using natural stones. Amour stones are removed from quarries, and boulder stones are the product of site development excavations. These stones retain the soil behind them by their weight. Each stone will weigh anywhere from 500 to 3000 pounds. These retaining walls are generally laid without the need for mortar or glue because the weight of the stones and stone-to-stone friction from the contact between stones creates enough shear strength to retain the soil.
Pre-cast Wall Blocks are manufactured in a controlled environment and are specifically designed for retaining walls. They have construction specs appropriate for the exact retaining wall stone being installed. These wall stones often have notches or keys to help increase the load-bearing ability of the overall retaining wall. The height and load-bearing requirements of the wall will determine the appropriate size of each pre-cast wall stone unit.
Concrete Block retaining walls are pre-cast hollow units designed to be stacked vertically, mortared in place, and filled with stone or concrete. These retaining walls are usually faced with a veneer stone or brick for an esthetic appeal. The construction of these walls has more steps involved and therefore can cost more than pre-cast retaining wall stones.
For a more functional landscape area, retaining walls can be used to flatten a sloped or steep hill to create more usable room in your yard. In addition, they can be used for erosion control and soil stabilization, helping with drainage issues, making elevation changes, and border steps. A good landscape design can take a very unusable space and incorporate retaining walls to create different areas within the yard utilizing elevation changes. Layered gardens or tiered lawns, sunken rooms, and walkout basements are all examples of spaces that will use retaining walls to create usable spaces.
Retaining Wall Costs
Different factors will determine the costs of a retaining wall. For example, assessment of appropriate materials to be used, the structural requirements, existing soil and drainage issues, and site access will all play into the overall cost of the retaining wall.
Does the Wall Need a Permit or Engineered Drawing?
If your wall is greater than 1 meter in height, it will need an engineered drawing. Check with your local municipality to determine whether a permit and engineered drawing are required. Ariss Landscape Inc. will handle these tasks upon agreement of a quote.
How Long Will a Retaining Wall Last?
A properly constructed retaining wall should last 80-100 years. If the wall fails before this, one or more construction elements were not completed correctly.
Two different retaining walls are used in residential sites; Gravity Walls and Soil Stabilized Walls. These two use similar elements. The soil stabilized wall will also incorporate a soil reinforced zone using geogrid to add extra stabilization. Proper construction of retaining walls will follow these steps:
- Excavation of the area a minimum of 12 inches depth below the finished grade and 22 inches of base width
- Proper assessment of the sub-grade to determine if amendments are needed
- Geotextile fabric installed above the compacted sub-grade
- A minimum 6-inch foundation base is installed in either a dense-graded or open-graded form, compacted to the appropriate density
- A bedding layer is laid above the base to smooth out any minor imperfections in the base.
Wall Course & Drainage
- The first course of wall stone is laid perfectly level to ensure the subsequent layers are level
- A drain tile is placed according to the construction drawings height, enclosed in clear drainage aggregate
- The following layers of wall stones are laid according to the pre-determined size of the wall.
- Backfill of drainage stone is placed as each course is applied and is wrapped in geotextile fabric
- For Soil Reinforced Walls, geogrid is laid between courses and extended a minimum of 4 feet from the wall
- The wall is topped with glued wall caps
- A layer of low permeability material is laid above the drainage stone and compacted
- The final grade material is laid
Why Sod is a Great Choice
Sod installation will give your property an instant, lush lawn. There isn’t much compared to sod when installing a new lawn, creating instant curb appeal. In southern Ontario, sod is primarily grown using Kentucky Bluegrass, a thick, dark, and soft grass that can be seen on the fairways of golf courses all over Canada. Installing sod is an easy way to create a new-looking, beautiful property.
Instant lawn means quicker use, essential for heavily trafficked areas and spaced where erosion may be an issue.
When Should You Install Sod?
Spring and fall are the best times to transplant any plant, including sod, but planting can be done any time of the year, as long as proper watering is completed.
How is Sod Installed?
- Tilling and rough grading of the existing area to be sodded, removing rocks and debris
- Power raking the final, smooth grade, ensuring the proper direction of water flow
- Laying the sod with staggard joints to reduce erosion and long seams of edges which can dry out
- Water daily, soaking deep into the roots for one week, every other day during the second week, and twice per week for the next two weeks. Watering should be completed in the morning or later afternoon.
- Cutting should be done between days 7 and 10, ensuring no more than 1/3 of the blade is removed. Further cutting should be completed weekly, and grass length will be dependent on watering regularity, again ensuring no more than 1/3 of the blade is removed.
Who Should Install Sod?
If your lawn is less than ideal, full of weeds, has bare spots, or is damaged from drought or salt, you may want to consider sod installation. Regular sod is NOT recommended for heavily shaded areas. Instead, a seed specifically selected for shade should be used in these areas.
We provide a wide range of excavation, construction and waterproofing service.
Excavation services including residential foundation, utility, trench, and drainage solutions.
We provide other equipment services such as land clearing, debris removal and pond/pool digging and are equipped to handle small to medium-sized projects.
Grading and Sloping
Residential and commercial rough grading, finish grading and sloping to renovate existing grade and drainage issues or create a new grade. We also seed and sod the finish grade and provide planting services.
We provide both garden landscape design and consultations along with building services. Our goal is to not only meet your desired vision and budget but also to build your landscape to last.
Our company has a designer on staff and has a network of top designers that we regularly include in our projects. Our goal is to have an esthetically pleasing, architecturally fitting design.
3-dimensional designs are included with every design bringing the concepts to life. While 2-dimensional plans have their place, they do not compare when it comes to helping customers visualize their property.
There is definitely a difference when a well-thought-out, tailored design specifically suited to your architecture is implemented.
Landscapes have a beautiful array of materials to choose from: natural stone, modern pavers and tiles, bricks, wood, water features and plants.
We build our landscapes to last. Proper construction techniques and excavation ensure a long-lasting build project that stands up to our Canadian winters.
We build everything from patios and walls to natural stone features. We also plant large trees and install shrubs and perennial gardens to your complete your garden landscaping design.
We are equipped with the latest, high-tech snow removal equipment including 100HP tractors, metal press live-edge plows, and both liquid and rock salt capabilities.
We offer 24hour commercial snow services.
Commercial Snow Removal
We offer 24hour commercial snow services to institutional, industrial, and retail locations. Lots are cleared before the work hours begin with custom service plans available.
We apply a combination of liquid and rock salt to speed up the melting process and reduce salt usage. Our lots are often the first in their areas to be ice-free and dry.
Ariss Landscape provides exterior garden landscaping for residential properties
We provide exterior renovations of residential properties with expertise in interlocking and concrete driveways, excavations, and grading.