Frequently Asked Questions

What is hardscaping?

Hardscaping refers to the non-living, structural elements of your landscape, including pavers, stone and wood.

What kind of hardscapes do you design and install?

We have the experience and equipment to handle just about any hardscaping project including:

Do you provide free estimates?

Yes. Gentle Rain provides free written estimates on all new hardscaping projects to all clients in our service area.

Do you work with a landscape designer?

Yes. Gentle Rain enjoys an exclusive relationship with Meg French Landscape Design. Meg is a certified landscape designer with a degree in horticulture. She has over 20 years of experience serving the Hampton Roads community. Depending on the scope of the project and your specific needs, we can work with you to determine whether it makes sense to utilize Meg's services.

Is there a fee for the design?

On designs that are limited in scope, there is often no fee required. However, there is a fee required for all full scope designs and master plans. Fees normally range from $500 to $1,500.

Can you complete my project in phases?

Absolutely. A phased approach can make sense for budgetary or logistical reasons. We can work with you to create a vision for your property and then help you manage each aspect of the implementation so that the end result is a beautiful, cohesive landscape.

What are "interlocking" pavers?

Interlocking pavers is a somewhat misleading term and does not refer to the pavers themselves. It is the system that combines the base, bedding sand, pavers, joint sand and edge restraint to create a unified, flexible pavement.

Learn why pavers make an exceptional paving surface.

Why is a proper base so important?

Sometimes the most important aspect of a project is what you don't see. We cannot overstate the importance of a firm base. The strength and integrity of your paver or retaining wall installation is determined by the quality of the base. Appropriate base material, thickness and compaction are essential to ensure your installation will stand the test of time. If you are evaluating contractors, make sure you ask them about the base.

How soon after installation can I use my driveway or patio?

Unlike concrete, which can take 3-5 days to cure, pavers can handle traffic immediately after installation.

How do I choose the right pavers for my project?

That will depend on many factors including personal tastes, use of the area and budget. We can guide you through the decision process by making recommendations and showing you samples of actual paving stones.

Will weeds grow between my pavers?

Weeds and grass result from seeds or spores blowing into and lodging in the joint sand. We use joint sands that inhibit weed growth. Weeds can be further minimized by sealing the pavers. If they do appear, a spot vegetation killer (such as Round-Up can be used and will not damage the pavers.

Do I need to seal my pavers?

Sealing your pavers is not required, but it does offer several benefits. A sealer helps maintain the color of the pavers, repels stains such as grease or oil from cars, and binds the sand particles between the joints, making it more difficult for weeds to germinate. Should you decide to seal your pavers, it is recommended that the sealer be reapplied every few years.

What is the whitish deposit I see on some pavers?

it's a natural occurrence called efflorescence, common in concrete and masonry products. It is produced by the ingredients and materials used to install pavers. Efflorescence will not damage or adversely affect your pavers and typically weathers away over time. If you have aesthetic concerns, there are cleaning products you can use to remove it.

How do I remove stains from my pavers?

There are a number of different cleaning solutions available on the market. Whether it is an oil stain, grease and grime, rust, moss and algae, or rubber marks, there is a product suitable for all stains.

What can I do if something damages my pavers?

Pavers are extremely easy and cost-efficient to repair since individual units can be removed and replaced. The damaged pavers are pried out with two flat head screwdrivers and replaced with new ones. It's that simple.

What should I expect during the construction process?

It would be dishonest to tell you that there are no disruptions. The construction process is noisy. Our crews will be running saws and compaction equipment. Nearly all of our work produces dirt and dust. We advise our customers to keep doors and windows closed and to remove outdoor furniture from the construction area. It may also be necessary to temporarily disable parts of the irrigation system. Please be patient; the end result will be more than worth these short-term disruptions.