June 2014

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W Inside Out The latest hardscaping products bring creature comforts and custom design to the great outdoors by Stacey McLachlan Whether it's a stroll through the city park on a sunny day or an afternoon cocktail with friends on the patio, when the weather gets nice, we bring life outdoors. So it's no surprise that thoughtful design is trickling over to outdoor spaces, and landscape prod- uct purveyors are helping designers create an outdoor space that celebrates both style and substance with a litany of smart new products. PAVING STONES Hardscaping is key to creating a stylish and functional landscape, and selecting the right paving stones sets the tone for the whole space. "There's a desire to bring more colour and texture to designs," says Anders Danielsson, technical sales representative for Abbotsford Concrete Products. The company's new Venetian Cobble paving stone emulates the look of old European cobblestone streets in a large, modern for- mat. The stone offers up-to-date options, too: it can be used as an AquaPave permeable paver or as a typical sand set paver. Danielsson acknowledges consumers' interest in high-tech solutions in addition to the esthetic value of paving stones, and points to two new additions to Abbotsford Concrete's Pisa line. "The PisaLite is designed with a hollow core to weigh 30 per cent less while maintaining strong structural characteristics; the Pisa OneStore is a true square foot block that uses shear knobs to connect the units." Today's stones are increasing in scale. "Both wider and longer seem to be very popular for 2014," says Brian Cote, business development and sales manager for Mutual Materials, Canada. Mutual Materials used 100- by 40-millimetre units in two different depths and three different colours for their work on the new Surrey Civic Centre in B.C. Designers are looking for more texture, too, like ones that simulate natural stone. "Architectural slab seems to be gaining in popularity," Cote notes. He also points to the growing demand for kits as a future trend. Assembling a complex design, like one involving circu- lar stones, is made easy with pre-formatted packages; landscapers are asking for kits that accommodate fire pits now as well. John Moroz, marketing manager for Expocrete Concrete Products Ltd., notes that large, tile-like pav- ing stones are becoming increasing popular. With so many brands and materials products on the market now, it's easier than ever to bring personal style into a landscaping project. With the launch of Belgard Hardscapes in Canada, products such as the Mega- Libre paver perfectly mimics flagstone, and the three- piece modular Mega-Bergerac offers rustic elegance to any landscaping design. "Homeowners are now building complete enter- tainment areas in their outdoor space," notes Moroz. What started with simple fire pits and a bench has now expanded to incorporate complete kitchens, some even including pizza ovens. Belgard Hardscapes, manufac- tured by Expocrete, is now offering the brand's line of modular grille islands, fireplaces and waterfalls – all hand-built as part of Belgard Elements. Though there will always be a place for concrete paving stones in the garden, David Nelson of North- west Landscape and Stone Supply notes that the company's new, dimensional-cut limestone stones products – available in a sandblasted, relic or tumbled finish – have been developing a following of their own. "They've been received well so far," says Nelson. The company's Castle Blend Wallstone is also a popular choice. The wallstone features a primarily blue/grey split side with browns, taupes and golden hues on the outside weathered crust. By virtue of its blocky nature, the stone allows the installer to build a drystack wall with a more consistent, linear appearance. Jan Arntorp, president of Sanderson Concrete Inc., suggests that tastes are leaning towards more modern looks. "The last few years have seen a trend towards more linear styles – large rectilinear blocks in landscapes, custom pavers that are longer and larger than traditional machine-made slabs, large blocks for seating rather than off-the-shelf benches, and big block retaining wall systems; large scale and rectilinear seems to be the trend." The company has been producing custom pavers for projects big and small (it worked on six phases of the Robson Square Law Court remediation project), and has even dabbled in coloured concrete recently. RETAINING WALLS Innovative materials and simpler installation makes creating a retaining wall easier than ever. A new Squa- mish basalt stone, developed by Northwest Landscape and Stone Supply, features a blockier appearance and a speedier installation than traditionally-sized split wallstones; Abbotsford Concrete's new retaining wall system, called StoneHenge, is a tumbled block that doesn't require a separate corner or cap piece. The new Rosetta Stonebridge line from Basalite Concrete Products makes for an ideal retaining wall that bridges the gap between SRWs and stone, fea- turing a natural texture via 24 unique stone faces. "Indigenous colours and textures are always a popu- lar choice," explains Rob Hughes, technical sales for Basalite. A strong interlocking rear lip makes it easy to Photo: Firecube Cinder Flame lava firestone from Solus Decor. June 2014 /PB Landscape products p.12-17Landscape.indd 13 14-06-03 9:36 AM

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