It’s no secret that Virginia and Maryland winters are often exceptionally harsh. What newcomers might not realize is how wicked weather affects hardscape design, construction, and maintenance. For example, hardscape construction plans must take into account natural frost heaving, snow loading, foot traffic, snowmelt potential, and sidewalk cleaning methods. Otherwise, the pavers could end up grossly discolored, severely cracked, uneven, flooded, and in serious need of replacement. In addition, rock retaining walls added to a hardscape design could fall over unexpectedly, collapse, develop unsightly bulges or otherwise crumble apart before a property owner’s very eyes.
To help counteract the ground shifting that occurs during our region’s winters, it is not uncommon for professional construction crews to install support features below the frost line, use floating foundations and alter an area’s soil composition. In certain spots, it’s also necessary to add special polymeric sand. Once professionally put into place, it tends to act as an immovable, stabilizing force for the surrounding hardscape elements. Of course, more has to be done to protect a Virginia or Maryland’s hardscape than that.
Covering pavers with special sealants will minimize water absorption, salt burns, and related deterioration. However, property owners must take other precautions too. For example, it’s best to avoid exposing hardscape to metal snow shovels, wire brushes, snow chains, metal-spiked shoes, and ice removal products that contain caustic chemicals or dyes. All of those items have the potential to significantly weaken hardscape, thereby making it increasingly vulnerable to frost heaving and other winter damage.
To learn more about choosing hardscape designs that are tough enough to make it through a Mid-Atlantic winter, please contact us at the Chapel Valley Landscaping Company. We have been designing, constructing, and maintaining hardscape throughout the region for years. Plus, we’ve won several awards and received countless, glowing testimonials from customers for our efforts.