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Concrete Retaining Walls

Pros and Cons of Concrete Retaining Walls

Concrete Retaining Walls

Concrete retaining walls can range from a small wall surrounding a backyard garden to an expansive wall on a highway, with the purposes remaining much the same.

Retaining walls do just that – retain. These walls are meant to hold in soil, prevent erosion, or correct the slope and gradient of the ground. Retaining walls are also great for the aesthetic appeal of a property, whether commercial or residential.

There are many advantages and, adversely, some disadvantages of building a concrete retaining wall. Let’s take a further look at them.

 The Pros of Concrete Retaining Walls

Strength

We all know how impenetrable concrete can be. This is extremely important when a wall needs to hold in the pressure of earth and water.

It’s especially great if you live in a location that’s prone to flooding, like near a hill or anywhere that water travels downhill. With proper drainage, a concrete retaining wall can prevent flooding of your property.

Durability

It can withstand a lot more pressure and force than other materials. A concrete retaining wall can last for many years without much maintenance.

Not only is concrete long-lasting, but it’s resistant to the elements, fire, rust, and rot, whereas wood is less sturdy and more prone to elemental damage.

Design Possibilities

Concrete is a blank canvas. Whether you decide to stain it or choose blocks that give the appearance of stone, a concrete retaining wall can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

 Using concrete blocks, you can create beautiful, modern retaining walls that can curve and bend to suit your space.

If you’re looking to add design appeal to your backyard outdoor living space, a landscaping project including retaining walls can add value and purpose to your garden.

Low Maintenance

Once it has been constructed, your work is done. From time to time, you may need to touch up and possibly fill cracks or replace a brick, but the build will hold for many years if done correctly.

Unlike the good old white picket fence, concrete isn’t prone to rot or peeling paint, so it can last for years and years.

Function

Besides the aesthetic appeal of a well-built and designed retaining wall, it’s also entirely functional. Building a concrete retaining wall can keep soil in place and prevent soil erosion, sinkholes, and even flooding.

Whether you have a large backyard or a small garden, adding in a concrete retaining wall not only provides the functional aspects, but it can also add more usable space to your garden.

For instance, you could add plants to a tiered retaining wall or even create a vegetable garden within the wall.

Eco-Friendly

While a concrete wall isn’t made of natural materials, it doesn’t make use of toxic chemicals or products. Not only that but, once constructed, it requires little to no further work to maintain.

Cost

In the long run, a concrete retaining wall is very cost-effective. Concrete is one of the most widely available materials and is very cheap. So, concrete blocks are very affordable and your retaining wall will truly stand the test of time making it a very worthwhile investment.

The Cons of Concrete Retaining Walls

Permanence

So you decide to have a wall constructed in your backyard to retain the soil from the hill behind your house. But, in 10 years, you decide you’d like to move the wall.

Unfortunately, that won’t be a walk in the park, moving a concrete wall takes a lot more effort, planning, and design than moving a wooden wall or fence would.

During the planning process, make sure it’s a project you want or need to undertake and make sure the design and placement are as you want them to be.

Not Something To DIY

Constructing a concrete wall is no easy feat. Concrete blocks are very heavy and it can be difficult to shape the curves and corners of the retaining wall if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So, you would need to hire an experienced builder to assist you, if not take over the entire project.

Design

As with the construction, the design needs to be carefully planned and requires an expert. It’s not advisable to attempt this on your own unless you have knowledge of all the elements going into building a retaining wall.

Final Thoughts

Building a concrete retaining wall is an investment. For functional purposes, it could be a necessary investment to prevent environmental damage to the land. For aesthetic purposes, it’s something that could add value to your property and make your outdoor living space more functional and beautiful.

Before embarking on this type of project, make sure to consult with an expert in the field to ensure the design and implementation ticks all the boxes and ties in with your needs. It’s a project that requires accurate planning and design but is sure to be worth every penny in the end!

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Interlocking Permeable Pavers - Buddha Builders

How To Decide Which Permeable Paver Is Best For Your Project

Interlocking Permeable Pavers - Buddha Builders

After deciding that you’re ready for your next outdoor project, you might be wondering about permeable pavers. More and more people are deciding to use these for their driveways and patios.

Permeable pavers are also known as permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP). This paving system is environmentally friendly as it is great for reducing runoff and minimizing the risk of flooding. The design lets rainwater trickle through cracks between the paver stones. This is so that water can seep into the ground (instead of pooling on top of the surface).

There are also lots of colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from. Not to mention that the way you lay them can create visually appealing patterns to complement your home or outdoor living space. So how do you decide which permeable paver is best for your project? Well, first let’s take a look at the different types and what they’re most suitable for.

Types of Permeable Paving

Interlocking Permeable Pavers

If you want to create beautiful outdoor living spaces or a sleek new driveway, interlocking permeable pavers are an excellent choice.

This type of paving involves placing paver stones in a way that allows for joints or cracks between them. These cracks allow water to seep through into the ground below so that you don’t experience flooding or excessive runoff.

Interlocking permeable pavers can also be placed in a variety of ways and come in many different styles. So, you can create the perfect driveway or outdoor space to suit your needs. From old-fashioned cobbled pathways and charming, stepping-stone styles to more classic, modern cuts, and luxurious natural stone finishes, interlocking pavers are incredibly versatile.

Permeable Concrete Or Asphalt

Permeable concrete is made when concrete and stone are mixed together and laid without a sand or gravel sub-base. This makes it more porous so that water can slowly seep into the ground, rather than pool or result in a lot of runoff.

Aesthetically speaking, this type of paver looks less refined than traditional concrete or interlocking pavers. Thus, it might be more suitable for commercial use rather than residential.

Aside from being somewhat expensive to install, permeable concrete has some other disadvantages. It’s important to note that it has limited water drainage capability, needs regular maintenance, and is not very durable.

Plastic Paving Options

Many people are starting to turn to plastic paving solutions due to their heightened permeability. Plastic paving grids are excellent for commercial and industrial use as they can withstand heavy truck traffic. This type of paving is filled with gravel or grass – making it extremely permeable.

Things To Consider When Choosing Permeable Pavers

Budget

Of course, budget is one of the first things you need to consider. Some of the materials for your permeable paver needs may be more expensive than others. If you are set on a specific type of stone, you may need a bit of planning to purchase materials at a later date and time. Unless you’re a DIY expert, there is also the matter of the installation to think about.

Design

Design is another important aspect to consider. Whether you are looking for a nostalgic, cobbled design, a more modern, square-cut stone with a geometric layout, or a textured paving surface in multiple colors, there are many options to choose between.

Thus, there are several design factors that you need to think about. These include the color you want, the shape of the paver stones, and how you want them laid out.

If you’re not completely sure what would best suit your project needs, it’s always best to reach out to an interlocking paver expert for some advice. We, at Buddha Builders, are always happy to help!

Why Choose Permeable Pavers?

When stormwater has nowhere to go, it has to wait for the evaporative powers of a hot day or find its way towards permeable areas and sewer systems.

Aside from being a timely consideration, this aspect can cause flooding. As stormwater runs through streets and drains, it can also become contaminated and affect the groundwater quality when it finally sinks in.

Permeable pavers remove these obstacles by providing a more effective means of runoff reduction. With permeable joints or cracks, these pavers allow water to seep through into the ground below. They are a more environmentally friendly solution that reduces runoff. In turn, this regulates stormwater, reduces the risk of flooding, and helps to protect natural waterways.

Apart from being more eco-friendly, interlocking permeable pavers can help you to create the outdoor living space or driveway of your dreams with visually appealing patterns and styles.

Find Out More About Which Permeable Paver Is Best For You

Still have questions about finding the right permeable paver? Get in touch with Buddha Builders today and we can assist you with a quote as well as attend to all your interlocking permeable paver needs.

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interlocking pavers

3 Things To Consider When Choosing Interlocking Pavers for Your Project

interlocking pavers

There are many things to take into consideration when deciding whether to do interlocking paving stones for your patio or outdoor living area as opposed to doing a concrete pour of any kind including stamped concrete.  In this article we will break down some of the amazing benefits from choosing interlocking pavers as opposed to any other outdoor surface!

1.  Durability

One of the biggest, if not the very biggest benefit of interlocking paving stones is the durability of the material.  Because of the fact that we are talking about a system that is comprised of individual blocks, that alone will bring many benefits to the table.

First of all, you are eliminating the factor of cracking right out of the gate. As opposed to a concrete pour, where you are literally pouring a wet surface that is going to dry and solidify completely. Therefore, having zero give and take to it. With an interlocking paver system, we are building up a foundation that is made of crushed rock and sand, with the pavers set on top of the system individually. 

Now what you have is an entire system that will have some give to it!  Now apply that to the geography that we experience out here in Seattle/Western Washington, or really the entire Pacific Northwest for that matter!  With all of the geographical issues we have out here such as hills, mountains, extreme grades and slopes, huge trees which bring huge tree roots into play; as well as extreme elements such as heavy constant rain for a good portion of the year. Bottom line, no matter where you are, you can’t stop the earth from shifting and that’s a fact, that is just plain science.  But it’s even more exaggerated here in Western Washington and the Pacific Northwest because of the reasons just stated. 

So what does that mean in reference to a solid concrete pour with literally zero give to it?  Well what it means is that when you get that inevitable sink or shift, that concrete is going to crack, it really has no other choice.  It will crack, it will essentially cave in and what you are left with is a disaster that is just going to need to be replaced again and again and again.  Bottom line, concrete will crack!  And again, really based on the facts, based on common sense, and just plain science, there is really no way around that. Now, let’s apply these same circumstances and issues to an interlocking paving stone system that is built with a crushed rock, non-solid base with individual blocks on top. 

When you get that inevitable shift in the earth, sinking, or maybe even a tree root popping up causing sinkage or unevenness there will be no cracking.  It’s all individual blocks.  It’s not a rock-solid surface.  It has a give and take to it.  The foundation will sink and flow with the earth, and we are talking about a very simple fix.  It’s as simple as pulling up the stones, re flattening the area in question, putting the stones right back again, good to go!  It’s like you were never even there, good as new!  Knowing that ultimately, in most cases these are inevitable issues that sooner or later are going to happen, would you rather have a surface in place that will certainly crack and fall apart and have to be replaced, having to invest more time and money; or would you rather have to make a call, have someone come on out for a quick and easy fix with no seams, not even being able to tell there was ever even a problem when its all said and done, and be on your way?  The answer is obvious.  Pretty common sense really! 

Bottom line, interlocking paving stones are a far superior surface and product! Far more durable, especially for the geographical issues and elements that we deal with in Washington.  Easy, quick maintenance make for a far longer life span that will leave you with a onetime investment in your home that will continue to look beautiful forever!  At Buddha Builders, we offer a 10-year warranty on our installations against sinking or shifting as well as a lifetime warrantee on materials against cracking or breaking so you can rest assured knowing you will be covered and well taken care of if any issues occur.

2.  Permeability

As mentioned above, one of the issues in Washington that come into play are the extreme elements that we face, mainly in the form of long and heavy periods of rain.  This can cause huge problems on properties ranging anywhere from soggy, swampy lawns that you can’t even walk on without literally leaving footprint sized sinkholes in it, causing foundation issues or creating areas of massive, ugly puddling.  Interlocking paving stones have a wide variety of permeable stones and systems that will allow water to run through so you can eliminate this nasty puddling or soggy lawns.  Buddha Builders is very knowledgeable in addressing these issues and can provide you with something as simple as a system with more drainage, as well as the possibility of doing something more extensive to alleviate any issues you may have caused by heavy rain and moisture and make those areas usable once again.

3. Design

So far, we have covered the idea of overall superiority when dealing with interlocking paving stones.  Now let’s talk about the fun part!  Design!  We already know that interlocking pavers are far superior to any concrete pour in all ways, but wouldn’t it be awesome to have a far superior surface that is also breathtakingly beautiful at the same time?  Well, just as in every other comparison related to interlocking pavers vs. concrete, the overall look is far superior as well.  

With over 35 different styles of stones of all sizes, shapes, and patterns; as well as over 50 different color combinations, interlocking pavers are a designer’s dream!  When it comes to transforming your patio area there is nothing you can’t do with interlocking permeable pavers!  Walls, driveways, outdoor kitchen areas, firepits, really anything you can think of. With interlocking paving stones you are getting a longer lasting, easy maintenance, far superior surface on all fronts that also is 100% custom and 100% beautiful for you and your family and friends to enjoy and create those long lasting memories for years and years to come!  It’s time to have some fun and let those memories begin!

Why Buddha Builders?

Here at Buddha Builders, we have the expertise and experience to really take your patio and overall outdoor living space to the next level!  With decades of experience in the industry, our designers are top notch and knowledgeable and experts on the practical side as well so not only are you going to get a beautiful new addition to your home that you and your family will enjoy for years to come, but we will also be able to address any practical issues that you may be facing like retaining walls, drainage issues, and things of that nature that could potentially end up causing problems for you in the future if not taken care of. 

We offer a complimentary Design Consultation where we can come out, survey the property and provide you with a 100% custom design as well as bringing out all the available products and materials so we can really dig into the fine details for your project.  Colors, styles, patterns, elements-the options are endless!  Give us a call @ (425) 312-3553 or contact us today to have one of our highly trained professionals come out and let the fun begin!

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outdoor living space

5 Tips For Planning Your Outdoor Living Space

patio and firepit

While online gardening websites and magazines might make it seem like a walk in the park, planning an outdoor living space can be more complicated than it looks. If done right, however, an outdoor living space can be an outside sanctuary. You get all the benefits of a relaxing, satisfied experience without even stepping out of your backyard!

To help you create the perfect space to enhance your home living experience, here are some top tips for planning your outdoor living space. 

Top Tips For Creating Your Ideal Outdoor Living Space

While everyone likes a good hack or trick to get things done easily, tips go beyond maneuvering yourself out of a tricky situation. They streamline the process but still ensure that you get the job done without taking shortcuts.

1. You Need A Focal Point

It’s the thing you see first in a space and the first thing your eyes return to after you look away. As such, it is the most important part of the living space.

While a good focal point can often make up for an overall average space, an average focal point can be disastrous for the atmosphere – even if the rest of the space has an impeccable design. Because of this, it’s important for you to select an item that resonates with the vision you have for the outdoor living area.

If that’s peaceful – try something that brings light and calm, like a fountain or water feature. If you envision a cozy, homey space for the whole family, try to integrate a fireplace or a fire pit with warm hues and tones. 

2. Use The Surrounding Nature And Plants

One of the common mistakes is overdesigning an outside space and forgetting to leave space for nature. As our green friends, plants not only improve the air quality by replenishing the oxygen levels in their surroundings, but their presence has been linked to decreased stress levels in individuals.

That, added to the beautiful variety of species that you can obtain to match any style, makes plants an outdoor living addition unlike any other.

3. Consider The Lighting

The amount of light in an area always has a strong impact on its atmosphere. If you’re ever in doubt, the rule of thumb says the more natural light the better. Especially for an outdoor area – you want to make sure that it feels like you’re outside.

If your outdoor space is partially closed off, try incorporating ideas such as a patio, which provides a large entry point for natural light. For night time it is good to have sufficient light. Keep it stylish by searching for overhead lights that are functional and match your theme’s style.

When selecting the tone of light consider the specific atmosphere you want to enhance. For example, white light creates areas of enhanced focus, necessary for areas such as the cooking area, whereas warm hues signal relaxation.

4. Stick To A Style

Color, furniture, cushions, and other outdoor decor items all revolve around the specific style decided on for the area. The colors of each item should be complementary and to feed into the larger style. This is especially important if you want to collect items and curate your area over time.

This all starts with the foundation. Whether you have cobblestones, gravel, or geometric, interlocking pavers, the style and color of your foundation should guide your choice in outdoor furniture and decor. Repaving your patio can also make a world of difference and completely spruce up your outdoor living space. 

Extra tip: Make sure that your furniture is comfortable and practical for outdoor use (e.g. they should be waterproof if they will not be covered).

5. Don’t Rush It!

Creating an area from scratch can be exciting and tiring and, at worse, overwhelming – especially without help from a professional. Sometimes the best (and most enjoyable) way to tackle such a task is to break it down into smaller sections and take it on one thing at a time.

Start with dreaming and conceptualizing the space. Decide on the style and atmosphere you are aiming for and then relax. While out shopping, keep an eye out for elements that may suit the design and allow yourself to find your favorite pieces.

Over time, you will have collected only the items you love and slowly curated an outdoor living space brought to life, one item at a time.

Start Planning Your Outdoor Living Space Today

Now that you have a better idea of the requirements of curating an outdoor sanctuary, it is hopefully a lot easier to get all your succulents in a row. By following these tips, coupled with a drive of enthusiasm, your outdoor living space is bound to be the talk of the neighborhood in no time!

Contact Buddha Builders today for your free consultation and quote.

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interlocking paver pattern

The Benefits Of Permeable Pavers

Permeable pavers are making it easier than ever to reduce the amount of rain that turns into stormwater and are gaining popularity as a sustainable alternative to concrete and asphalt, showing up in both residential and commercial areas.  Durable and able to take on the weight of traffic, permeable pavers are chosen for driveways, walkways, patios and city spaces.

     So how does it work?  Permeable pavers are installed over a gradient bed of aggregate, with aggregate filling the joints between each paver.  When it rains, instead of water running into the street and into storm drains as it does with concrete and asphalt, rain water drains directly into the joints between the pavers and makes its way into the soil.  This reduces the amount of run-off, manages storm water and lowers the risk of flooding. The aggregate within the joints of the pavers additionally act as a percolator, filtering out pollutants before they reach the gradient bed of aggregate and the soil below.  With over 3 million gallons of “untreated sewage” dumped into the Puget Sound just this weekend, the importance of reducing the amount of pollutants that reach our waste management systems is far too clear.

     Permeable interlocking concrete pavement (PICP) is a great choice when looking to go green.  The options available through our favorite paver supplier can be combined in many ways and allow an array of options that fit the style of your home.  In some areas you may even qualify for rebates when you choose to add permeable pavers to your home.

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