Fabulous Outdoor Florida Designs that Also Protect Our Aquifer

From outdoor kitchens to patios, pool decks, walkways and retaining walls, Florida homeowners have so many opportunities to add value and beauty to their properties. Smart homeowners are choosing permeable concrete pavers as one of the best options for sculpting the yard into an inviting and livable space. Pavers are available in an array of colors and shapes, and they can be arranged into standout, custom patterns that erase any sense of cookie-cutter landscaping.

Some people think they will save money by choosing colored or stamped concrete for custom-designed driveways, patios or walkways. Unfortunately, concrete often cracks over time. It’s virtually impossible to make a patch look right, especially if you have to match a stamped or colored pattern. A fabulous hardscape design can soon look neglected and rundown.

Because concrete is nonporous, this material also creates a problem with storm water runoff. Oils and chemicals on the surface are carried with the water into the storm drain and make their way directly into area streams, endangering plants, fish and other wildlife. Sediment in the water builds up and harms the habitat, and excessive nutrients lead to algae blooms. Household chemical runoff can poison or taint fish, sickening them or making them dangerous for other animals or humans to eat.

Permeable concrete pavers are a green alternative. Rather than trapping rainwater on the hardscape and pushing it into the storm drain, the surface is designed to allow water to filter through the base material and down into the ground. The filler materials as a filter, removing many pollutants before the water can reach the aquifer. Since the ground in the yard retains this natural moisture, the surrounding plants may require less irrigation between rainstorms.

Maintenance is also simplified with concrete pavers. The color runs throughout, so small chips are not immediately visible. Damaged pavers can be easily replaced, and the surface is designed to be non-slip, which is especially important around the pool and near the outdoor kitchen.

ACPFL specializes in custom installations of green pavers in Florida. Our design pros have years of experience creating eye-catching, fabulous hardscapes that are perfectly suited to the home and its owners. Our portfolio includes outdoor kitchens, patios, walkways, decks, retaining walls and more. We’ve been in business since 1990, and we stand behind all of our work. We’re listed with the Better Business Bureau, state licensed and insured. We’re also certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, which requires extensive training and demonstrated skill.

With today’s newer permeable materials, you can feel good about protecting the aquifer while dressing up your home. And you can feel good about choosing ACPFL.

A long driveway sweeps around to a matching walkway with steps to an expansive front patio. In the back, beautiful pavers create a pool deck and accent a spa, curving retaining walls frame multiple levels of plantings and an outdoor kitchen opens into a comfortable living area. In the front and back, coordinating stone material anchors columns and the mailbox. This elegant vision begins with a hardscape foundation of professionally designed and installed pavers.

Permeable interlocking pavers are a green, eco-friendly choice that sets an impressive tone for your Florida home or business. Landscaping and hardscaping projects are an excellent way to instantly add curb appeal and value to a property. Many homeowners find that paying attention to the outside of the property gives an immediate boost to the home’s value of at least 5 percent, up to about double the project’s cost. Pavers are available in traditional and modern styles, with colors to fit every style.

One of the most important issues with hardscape installations is drainage. If the project isn’t done correctly, water can puddle on the hard surface or even drain toward the house. This can require inconvenient and costly repairs to the foundation and may even necessitate removing and reinstalling the pavers. Porous or permeable interlocking pavers help solve this problem with very little extra work or expense up front.

Porous products allow water to seep right through the pavers. Permeable interlocking pavers are typically nonporous and look like traditional pavers, but water channels down through the joints to the ground below. These materials are considered to be green since they reduce runoff into storm drains and help filter pollutants that would otherwise end up in the groundwater.

An experienced, professional installer can also make a big difference in the customer’s satisfaction with the final results. ACPFL has been serving Florida, area since 1990. We are licensed by the state and fully insured. We’ve also taken the added step of completing the training and certification program offered by Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. All of our customers can rest assured that we have the skills, knowledge and experience to properly complete residential and commercial projects alike. We stand behind our work with a quality guarantee.

The elegant look and green sensibility of pavers could add thousands to your property value while adding exponentially to your enjoyment of your home. Let ACPFL create a customized hardscape plan for your yard.

Having a beautiful Florida home with no landscaping is like wearing a special outfit with cheap flip-flops. It’s possible, but it just doesn’t look right. Even a modest landscaping project will add curb appeal to the front yard or livable space to the backyard. A larger renovation with concrete pavers, a pool deck, retaining walls and improved drainage can create an impressive oasis outside the home.

Landscaping refers to the selection and arrangement of plants and trees in the yard. Hardscaping is the use of stone, pavers and concrete to create retaining walls, walkways, driveways, patios and decks. It provides a foundation for plantings, mulch, water features, an outdoor kitchen and other elements. Professionally designed hardscaping sculpts the property and enhances the natural beauty of flowers, grasses, shrubbery and trees.

A yard improvement project is one of the wisest investments that homeowners can make. It’s a project that can boost the home’s property value by as much as double the amount of the project budget. One study found that attractive landscaping and hardscaping increases a home’s overall value between 5.5 percent and 12.7 percent. On a $250,000 house, that’s nearly $32,000 in value just waiting to be added.

Unfortunately, many homeowners take a piecemeal approach to the yard and make little random changes over time without following a master plan. This often results in an uneven mishmash of plantings and styles, detracting from the home’s appearance. On the other hand, a professionally designed hardscape sets the stage for an appealing and elegant landscape. For high-end properties, this kind of detail is an absolute must — especially if the home will be going on the market. If the budget is tight, retaining walls, concrete pavers and other hardscape materials can be installed in phases, following a comprehensive design plan that ensures everything will work well together.

ACPFL creates customized hardscape plans and installs interlocking pavers to enhance front yards and backyards of all sizes throughout Florida. We specialize in pool decks, retaining walls, concrete pavers and permeable pavers that allow drainage through the material and into the ground. ACPFL is licensed and insured, and we’ve worked hard to earn certification from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. Pavers are available in various materials and colors, and an eye-catching installation pattern can be tailored to each individual site.

A plain, unfinished front yard or backyard is not only a lost opportunity for curb appeal and livable space, but it can actually drag down the overall value of the property. Let your yard live up to its potential with a beautiful, professionally designed hardscape.

Home improvement isn’t always an inside job. With Florida’s moderate year-round climate, home improvements are often geared to creating more enjoyable outdoor living spaces. Patios and decks, aesthetic walkways and driveways, and decorative retaining walls fashioned of concrete or brick pavers can all have a huge impact on curbside appeal and property value.

There are many ways to enhance your outdoor living spaces using concrete or interlocking brick pavers. If you want to go green, brick is made of natural clay. Subdued shades of cream, red, tan, gray and brown all have a serene and natural look that’s elegant yet understated. What’s more, because clay is fired at high temperatures, the colors are virtually fade-resistant.

Permeable pavers are a green alternative to traditional paving. Traditional pavement slabs are impermeable, meaning that water can only run off. Permeable paving allows rainwater to pass through, eliminating runoff and filtering rainfall as it passes through. This prevents standing water on driveways and other outdoor spaces and is a blessing in warm regions prone to frequent tropical downpours.

Besides having more visual appeal than traditional paving, permeable pavers are slip resistant, strong and durable. They are also cooler for outdoor living spaces because they reflect heat instead of absorbing it, thereby providing a cooler surface.

Fortunately, pavers in Greater Tampa FL aren’t subject to ice and snow, and they require little maintenance. After proper sealing, you can easily clean and care for them yourself. Regular sweeping will remove dead leaves and debris. After sweeping, pull up any weeds, then rinse the surface thoroughly using a garden hose with moderate pressure.

Next, check for stains, cracks and holes. Loosen any stains with a mild, nonabrasive detergent, scrub with a brush, and flush with a clean rinse. Mold stains can be removed by adding bleach to the water, while paint stains should be treated with a paint stripper. A liquid degreasing product will remove oil stains.

Washing is best done on a warm, sunny day to assist with drying. After washing and drying, treat any cracks or holes with a filler to prevent them from worsening. Allow the filler to dry completely. To keep surfaces looking fresh and new, apply a masonry sealer every few years. If, when you washed it, the water on the surface did not bead, then it’s time to apply a sealer.

There’s no shortage of pavers in Greater Tampa FL, but if you want high-quality work, be sure to research any prospective company carefully before you sign on for a project. Reputable design companies like ACP have online portfolios of projects they’ve completed for other homeowners including concrete pavers. Be cautious about any company that’s unwilling to provide samples and/or references.

A paving project that takes into account not only the beauty and value of your property but also the overall effect on the ecosystem is a wise investment. It will look beautiful while having a positive impact on the environment for years to come.

References

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-benefits-of-permeable-pavi-118431
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/stormwater/PublicationFiles/BMPs4LID.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeable_paving
http://www.ehow.com/info_8657647_should-seal-pavers.html

The Greater Tampa Florida climate allows us to enjoy outdoor living almost year-round. Although it gets a bit nippy during the cool season, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can provide just enough warmth to keep everyone cozy and comfortable. Gathering around an open hearth with friends and family under the stars on a chilly evening can be a wonderful alternative to being cooped up indoors.

Just as an indoor hearth provides a natural focal point in any room, the outdoor fireplace becomes a centerpiece wherever it’s placed. Surround it with comfortable seating, add a few tables, and you’ve got an outdoor living room. Consider installing a roof over the area for protection from sun and rain. With an overhead covering, your outdoor living room will get maximum use.

If you have a small house with an ample yard, it makes sense to invest in an outdoor living area. It will give your property a more spacious feeling, and you can entertain larger groups if indoor space is cramped.

Gas-burning fireplaces are very popular because they don’t generate smoke or sparks. Gas systems are safer, there’s no soot or ash, and you don’t have to gather wood. Unlike wood-burning designs, gas systems are easy to fire up, turn off, and they furnish consistent heat. The only disadvantages are that you can’t use them for cooking and you’ll need to have a gas line installed.

Do you enjoy outdoor cooking and grilling? A fire pit may be more to your liking. With a fire pit, you won’t have to install a gas line or pay for gas to fuel the unit. If you live in a rural area, you might even have access to free or cheap firewood. With a fire pit, you’ll get the full effect of an open campfire, and you can cook over it too. An added benefit is that you can use a fire pit to burn junk mail, correspondence and documents you would otherwise shred. This is an eco-friendly way to eliminate excess paper.

There are many designs to choose from; you can even custom-design your own. They may be made of brick, stone, stucco, marble, tile or concrete. When you choose a design that compliments and extends the architectural style of your home, it will add to the aesthetic appeal of your property and give your outdoor area extra pizzazz.

Be sure to check the local codes in your area before installing a fire pit or a gas-burning hearth. There may be installation, size and location restrictions in your area. Although you can build it yourself, installation by a professional is always your safest bet, especially when gas line installation is involved.

To learn more about fire pits and fire place designs, or to discover other creative ways to expand your living space, contact ACP. They will visit your home for a no-cost consultation, suggest ideas, and provide a free estimate. You can also receive a quick quote online.

Links

http://www.landscapeeast.com/blog/the-benefits-of-an-outdoor-fireplace-or-fire-pit-in-landscaping-designs-2011-04
http://www.ehow.com/facts_7612917_benefits-outdoor-fire-pit.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outdoor_fireplace

There’s something about the gentle movement of water that creates a sense of peace, harmony and well-being. Studies have shown that being outside in a serene natural setting has a positive effect on emotions and health. An aesthetic and well-designed outdoor living area that includes water can relieve stress and reduce blood pressure.

A water feature in your outdoor living area can be both beautiful and therapeutic, a gorgeous focal point that doesn’t take up much space. Most water features are safe for kids and pets, easy to install and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Given the balmy Greater Tampa Florida climate, ponds and waterfalls can be enjoyed year-round.

Water features can be added to patios, courtyards, gardens, beside pools or along walkways. Goldfish ponds, Koi ponds, fountains and waterfalls are very popular for their relaxing properties, visual appeal, and the refreshing sensation of moving water. You can add lighting to any water feature to give it more artistry, stronger impact and the option to enjoy it after dark.

Waterfalls and ponds are usually made of concrete or stone. They can be accented with rocks, urns, statues, pillars and columns. You can enhance their sensory appeal by adding wind chimes or an incense burner. Birdhouses and hummingbird feeders can be placed nearby, while plants add freshness and greenery. Borders can be placed around ponds using stones of different colors, shapes and sizes. Place an iron garden bench near the water feature for cozy and intimate seating.

You can hire a professional to install the features you envision, or consult with a landscaper to get suggestions. It’s best to have a solid plan before you start. The goal is to create an overall balance that harmonizes with the rest of your property. It’s important not to overdo. Water features that are too cluttered or fussy will have a busy, nervous look that’s neither peaceful nor harmonious. Less is always more. If the feature you want includes electrical components, have them installed by a professional.

Of course you’ll want to get the best possible price on your investment, but don’t skimp on quality. Cutting corners will only cost you money down the road. If you’d like to explore the idea of what water features can do for your Tampa, FL outdoor living area, contact ACP for a no-obligation consultation and a free estimate.

Links

http://www.healinglandscapes.org/resources/water/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeutic_garden
http://www.wsnla.org/easylandscapewaterfeatures.htm
http://fountains.lifetips.com/cat/64934/landscaping-water-features/index.html
http://web.stonemakers.net/bid/54071/7-Benefits-To-Backyard-Water-Features

The outdoor kitchen is the new frontier in home improvements. A well-designed outdoor living space may seem like a splurge at first, but there are practical reasons to think about sprucing up the backyard for cooking, eating and entertaining. This renovation project adds value to the property, creates a more comfortable living environment and can even have a green effect on energy consumption.

At the end of a long, hot day, Florida residents know there’s not much appeal in firing up the oven to make dinner. Standing over a hot stove is downright miserable. Meanwhile, the air conditioner is already working hard, racking up higher and higher energy costs. Add in the extra blasts of heat from cooking in the kitchen, and it’s a recipe for out-of-control utility bills.

Power companies around the country agree that a much greener option is to head out to cook on the grill, leaving the heat outside where it belongs. It’s a modern take on the old summer kitchens once prevalent in warm-weather regions. Households with a standard electric oven will likely see the greatest savings from grilling out since electricity typically costs more than natural gas. With a conveniently arranged, fan-cooled outdoor living area to lure the family out of the house, it may even be possible to bump up the temperature on the thermostat inside for additional savings.

Interlocking pavers are the perfect building blocks for an energy-conserving outdoor kitchen. The pavers form a flat area for cooking and dining, and they can also be used to visually divide the space. It’s possible to create architectural interest in the form of retaining walls, built-in bench seating, planters and even the base for counters, a barbecue or other kitchen equipment. Permeable pavers have the added benefit of allowing rainwater to filter through the material and drain naturally into the ground below.

ACPFL offers an array of interlocking pavers in different materials and colors to build a customized hardscape for a green outdoor kitchen to match any decor or landscape design. We’ve constructed beautiful outdoor living spaces in residential and commercial spaces across the greater Tampa FL area. Our company has earned certification from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and is fully licensed and insured. Every project receives the personal attention that’s needed to ensure the client is totally pleased with the results. Let ACPFL help you create an attractive, functional outdoor living space that could bring some big energy savings.

Landscaping walls are a wonderful way to add beauty, structure and definition your outdoor spaces. Stone and brick have a timeless quality, a permanence that will never wear out or look dated. Unlike wood, stone and brick improve with age, they don’t rot, and they’re not at the mercy of the elements. They won’t burn down, aren’t damaged by water, don’t blow away and suffer minimal storm and sun damage. This is an important consideration in Greater Tampa Florida where extremes of heat and tropical storms are a regular part of life.

There are many ways to define outdoor areas with landscaping borders. If your property is large, you can divide the grounds into smaller spaces that look and feel more intimate. You can create borders around flower beds to keep soil in place, design a waterfall or goldfish pond, add a stone bench for picturesque seating. You can define a patio area, encircle a tree or add a garden terrace, walkway and staircase. Taller borders can be used for privacy around pools, spas and outdoor living rooms or to conceal unpleasant views. Walls can be designed to furnish shade or to protect against the wind.

Give your entire home an upscale look with a classic stone or brick border that completely surrounds your property. Whereas fencing requires maintenance, stone and brick are virtually maintenance-free and don’t need sealing or paint. They can discourage trespassers, vandals and burglars and create a sheltered environment for children and pets.

One of the most appealing features of landscape walls is that they can be constructed in many different ways and composed of various textures and colors. Walls can be curved, straight, graduated or constructed on sloping ground. They can include interesting colors, unique shapes or be designed to incorporate and extend the unique features of your home. To discover the possibilities of what you can do on your own property, visit Houzz.com for 239 images and ideas.

The best part of using stone or brick borders as part of your outdoor landscaping scheme is that they’re sustainable. They can last for centuries. However, another option for outdoor landscaping is the veneer stone offered by ACP. Veneer stone is a very affordable alternative to real stone. It’s made of natural materials, is available in a wider variety of colors and textures, and it’s easy to care for.

Links

http://www.houzz.com/photos/pool/paint-decorative-wall

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4966994_benefits-stone-walls.html

http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-You-Need-Concrete-Landscaping-And-Stone-Walls&id=5041605

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_veneer