Printer Friendly

Chapter 9 Water, edging, lighting, and other site amenities.

The foundation of your landscape design is the arrangement of major landscape elements, but the flair of design relies on choice of placement of the items that embellish the site. Items such as walks, patios and decks, fences, and walls create a framework for function and aesthetics on a site, but details such as lighting, water features, and edgings add the accents that distinguish your landscape. When creatively blended with plantings, each of these elements contributes to the overall quality of the site.

The choices for your site accents, or amenities, can be overwhelming. Any item has the potential to add to the design scheme of a residence. And for each item that can be used as an amenity, there are typically many choices of materials, colors, forms, and textures. Selecting the amenities that will perfectly enhance the look of your site will require many hours of searching and evaluation. As with all other aspects of landscape construction, the time and effort you invest in planning and preparation will profoundly impact the attractiveness of your site.

PLANNING FOR SITE AMENITIES

Whether installing your amenities requires only setup or extensive utility lines and foundations, the key to success is anticipating how the amenity will function during all seasons, all conditions, and at various times of day. Without planning, your dreams of an amenity-enhanced site can be dashed because the size, configuration, or appearance are not appropriate to the site and the intended use.

Locating Amenities

The placement of site amenities should accent the landscape and, if possible, address functional needs. Items such as stairs and lighting may be located where they improve access to the landscape, whereas pools and edging may be placed solely for aesthetic reasons. Consider the requirements of your amenity when selecting a site. Pools will require a flat area, whereas water cascades work best with a moderate slope. Steps should be placed where they help you effectively traverse slopes, and seating will require a level location. Lighting and edging can be placed in a variety of slope conditions and situations.

Legal issues may also enter into the planning and placement of a site accent. Check with local officials for any rules regarding the installation of pools and water features. Any site amenity that requires the use of utilities will fall under the jurisdiction of building codes and possibly zoning and other municipal regulations, in order to protect public health and safety.

Utility Hookups

Several amenities require access to utilities to be successful. If you plan an installation that requires electricity, such as a pump or lighting, be certain you have eliminated the risk of shock. If your project requires the installation of an electrical circuit, obtain assistance from a professional. Circuits for all exterior work should be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) protected. GFCI circuits are designed to shut off electrical power to the circuit when voltage fluctuations from short circuits are sensed.

CAUTION

* When working with electricity in any form, high or low voltage, there is the danger of electrical shock. If you are not familiar with electricity, hire a licensed electrician to do this work. Many communities and locations require that all wiring by done by a licensed electrician, even if the homeowner is knowledgeable about electricity.

* Installing water features will require access to a water supply. Some low-volume features may be initially filled using a hose from a nearby hydrant or faucet, with the water level occasionally replenished from the same source. Large water installations, those in warm climates, and features that need the water periodically changed may require that a water-supply line be run to the installation. If you will need a water line extended to your feature, have the installation completed by a licensed plumber prior to beginning your work.

In climates that face cold temperatures, you will also need to consider protecting your water supply from freezing. Burial to frost depth will be required, as will installation of freeze-proof valves and insulating components that are above the frost line. Plan how you will drain a feature before its installation, either via a pump or by installing a drain. Water removed from the feature will have to be disposed of in a manner that does not damage the site or flood the neighborhood.

CAUTION

* Any water feature that is directly connected to a potable water line must have a backflow prevention valve installed between the feature and the water source to prevent contamination of the water supply. Check with local building officials regarding regulations on the placement of such a valve.

* If you fill a pool or fountain with a hose, never leave the hose end under the surface of the water; this could result in the siphoning of the water back into the municipal water supply, which could contaminate it.

Foundations for Amenities

Many amenities can be set directly on finish grade with minimal preparation of a base. In some cases, it may be sufficient to install a granular material as support for your feature. In others, pouring a concrete slab or setting precast concrete blocks may be required, to provide the necessary support and stability needed for seating and other permanent amenities.

WATER FEATURES

Whether your design relies on reflections in a pool or the sound and motion of a fountain, water features can add interesting dynamics to the landscape. New construction materials have made the introduction of water into the landscape a feasible undertaking. Traditionally, landscapes have relied on construction using concrete-lined pools with underground plumbing. Although this construction technique is still used, the introduction of flexible-pool liners, small pumps, and plastic tubing has made introducing water features into the residential domain much easier.

Although today's technology has allowed for water features to be easily implemented in landscapes, they nevertheless require high maintenance. In all climates, you must make a commitment to regulate water quality, and in some climates, pools will require periodic draining if the feature is to stay attractive and functional.

Pools

Pools are water reservoirs with little or no moving water. Pools can be constructed using either flexible vinyl liners, which allow you to determine size and shape, or with rigid liners that have a set form and size. To hide the liner, the edge of the pool is covered with coping-that is, flat pieces of stone or a similar material. When considering both the initial installation and the long-term maintenance of a pool, you should spend ample time planning the installation. Using either your own creativity or the assistance of a designer you can create a water feature that will compliment any design. You can enhance the appearance of your pool with landscaping around the edges or by submersing aquatic plants in the pool. You can further enhance it by adding boulders at locations around the edge or on a shelf in the pool. Placing the pool where it catches a water cascade or adding a fountain will add motion to your creation.

Flexible-liner installations will be suitable for anyone who plans to significantly vary the shape and depths of their pool, but such liners require more effort in fitting the liner to shape of the basin. Rigid liners are available in many shapes that readily fit a prepared excavation, but the designer cannot change the dimensions of the liner that is purchased. Whichever liner type you plan to use, the entire perimeter must be perfectly level. Variations in grade around the perimeter will cause water to drain out of the pool at the low points and expose the liner on the high side. Both liners types are reasonably durable and, with proper installation, should last for many years.
Installing a flexible-liner pool

Note: The shape, size, and depth of the pool you construct can
be altered from the plan shown in this project. If you do alter
the design, however, be certain that the liner you purchase is
large enough for the pool.

CAUTION

* Verify the location of utility lines before construction.

* Follow the manufacturer's instructions when using
equipment.

* Use caution when cutting and installing materials.

Time: 6 hours to 2 days, based on the complexity of the pool.

Level: Challenging (13 steps. Digging and heavy lifting
required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for pool installation.
2. Marking paint.
3. Round-nosed shovel.
4. Square-nosed shovel.
5. Carpenter's level.
6. Straight 2 x 4 the same length as your pool width.
7. Brick hammer.
8. Rubber mallet.
9. Sponge.
10. Garden hose(s).
11. Wheelbarrow
12. Location for disposing of excavated soil.

Materials Needed:

1. Flexible liner. To determine the proper size of the liner
use the following formulas.

* Liner length in feet: L + 2D + 4 where L = pool length
at the rim and D = pool depth.

* Liner width in feet: W + 2D + 4 where W = pool width
at the rim and D = pool depth.

* For irregularly shaped pools, measure the length, width,
and depth using maximum possible dimensions.

2. 3 CF sand (more for large pools) to even the interior of
the pool excavation.

3. Enough coping to circle the entire perimeter of the pool.
Pieces of flat, square stone or precast concrete at least 2"
thick and 12" wide and long make the best coping material.

4. Water to fill the pool. This may require running a hose from
a remote location or installing a permanent water-supply line.

Directions:

1. Review the location of your pool on the plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the location of the pool basin on the
ground (Figure 9-1, Step A).

3. Excavate the pool basin to proper depth. Steep sidewalls
work best for flexible-liner installations. If different depth
levels within the pool are desired, adjust the excavation
where these "shelves" should occur (Figures 9-1, Step B, and
Figure 9-2).

4. Excavate a ledge for coping around the entire perimeter of
the basin. The edge should be the same thickness and slightly
narrower than the material you have selected for coping. It is
critical to the success of the installation that the entire
perimeter be level. Verify the ledge is level along the entire
perimeter (Figure 9-1, Step C). Adjust grade if necessary.
Level across the pool can be checked by placing a straight
2 x 4 on edge across the pool and setting a carpenter's
level on top.

5. Irregularities in bottom of basin walls can be corrected
by filling low areas with wet sand.

6. Lay out the liner and check for proper dimensions (Figure
9-1, Step D).

7. Center liner over basin opening and push liner into basin
(Figure 9-1, Step E). Stepping into the pool may assist in
positioning the liner (Figure 9-3); if you do, however,
take care that you don't tear the liner. Adding a few inches
of water to the pool at this point will also assist in forming
the liner to the bottom of the excavation.

8. Adjust the liner to cover entire basin and fit it snugly
over any shelves and the coping ledge. Smooth as many wrinkles
from the basin as possible.

9. Verify again that the coping edge is level around the entire
perimeter. Adjust if necessary.

10. Fold any excess liner back under the pool at the coping
ledge. This will provide additional liner in the event adjustments
are necessary (Figure 9-1, Step F).

11. Place coping on the coping ledge. The coping should overhang
the edge 2-3". This overhang will hide the corner of the pool and
the top part of the liner (Figure 9-1, Step G, and Figure 9-4).
Coping may need to be shaped using the stone hammer. Use a rubber
mallet to fit pieces.

12. Clean the inside of the pool with water and a sponge
(Figure 9-1, Step H).

13. Fill the pool to within 2" of the bottom of the coping.

[FIGURE 9-1 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-2 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-3 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-4 OMITTED]

Installing a rigid-liner pool

CAUTION

* Verify the location of utility lines before beginning
construction.

Time: 6 hours to 2 days; varies based on the complexity of
the pool.

Level: Challenging (10 steps). Digging and heavy lifting required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for pool installation.
2. Marking paint.
3. Round-nosed shovel.
4. Square-nosed shovel.
5. Carpenter's level.
6. Stone hammer.
7. Rubber mallet.
8. Straight 2 x 4 the same length as your pool width.
9. Sponge.
10. Garden hose(s).
11. Water.
12. Wheelbarrow
13. Location for disposing of excavated soil.

Materials Needed:

1. Rigid pool liner.

2. 3 CF of sand (more for large pools) to even the interior of
the pool excavation.

3. Enough coping to circle the entire perimeter of the pool.
Pieces of square, flat material at least 2" thick and 12" wide
and long make the best coping material.

4. Water to fill the pool. This may require running a hose from
a remote location or installing a permanent water line.

Directions:

1. Review the location of the pool on your plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the location for the pool basin. Trace a
paper outline of the pool if necessary to get a precise location
of the basic shape and size (Figure 9-5, Step A).

3. Excavate the pool basin to the proper depth. Sidewall angles
should match the angles on the pool (Figure 9-5, Step B).

4. Excavate a ledge for coping around the entire perimeter of
the basin. The edge should be the same thickness and
slightly narrower than the material you have selected for
coping. It is critical to the success of the installation that
the entire perimeter be level. Verify that the ledge is level
along the entire perimeter. To check the level across the
pool, set a straight 2 x 4 on edge and place a carpenter's
level on top. Adjust grade if necessary (Figure 9-5, Step Q.

5. Irregularities in the bottom or sides of basin walls can be
corrected by filling holes with wet sand.

6. Lower the liner into basin to check for fit. The pool liner
should fit snugly into the basin excavation and the top of
the liner should match the coping ledge. If adjustments
are required, remove the liner and make them (Figure 9-5,
Step D).

7. Verify again that the coping edge is level around the entire
perimeter. Adjust if necessary.

8. Place the coping on the coping ledge. Let the coping hang
over the edge 2-3". This will hide the corner of the pool
and top of the liner (Figure 9-5, Step E). If necessary, use the
stone hammer to shape the stone.

9. Clean the inside the pool with water and a sponge.

10. Fill the pool to within 2" of the bottom of the coping.

[FIGURE 9-5 OMITTED]


Fountains

Fountains are pumps with special orifices that project water upward out of a reservoir. Depending on the size of the pump and the type of orifice, water may project a few feet into the air or simply bubble to the surface. Different types of fountains can be combined and lighting added for special effects. Fountains are typically set just below the surface of the water in a pool to hide their mechanical components. Electrical connections run from the fountain to the edge of the pool, where it can be threaded through the coping and into a source of electricity.
Installing a pool fountain

CAUTION

* Use caution when working with electricity. Only equipment
approved for water locations should be used in a
pool.

* All circuits should be turned off when installing and
checking fixtures.

* Circuits must be ground fault (GFCI) circuits.

* Do not operate a submersible fountain unless it is
under water.

Time: 2-4 hours.

Level: Easy (8 steps.

Note: You must have a water feature in which to place your
fountain.

Tools Needed:

1. Electrical cord.

Materials Needed:

1. Submersible fountain.

2. Desired orifice (choices will include bubblers, sprayers, and
streamers. Some fountains have a nozzle built into the
fountain.

3. Stone or block of various sizes.

4. GFCI electrical source for fountain operation.

Directions:

1. Review the manufacturer's instructions for the correct
depth at which the fountain should be set.

2. Drain the water from the pool to a depth that allows you to
wade into the pool to work; take care not to tear the liner
with your shoes or tools.

3. Stack stone or block in a stable arrangement on the bottom
of the pool to a height that will position the fountain at the
correct depth. The fountain may also be set on a shelf that
was excavated during pool installation.

4. Set the fountain on the stack or shelf (Figure 9-6).

5. Route the power cord for the fountain to the edge of the
pool, between or under pieces of coping, and out to a GFCI
outlet or to power cord connected to a GFCI outlet. The cord
should be routed so it is hidden from view. No electrical
connections should be made in wet areas.

6. Refill the pool to the maximum level.

7. Plug in and test the fountain.

8. Unplug the electrical cord and correct any problems with
the fountain or orifice.

[FIGURE 9-6 OMITTED]


Cascades

A cascade is water that gently flows from a higher elevation to a lower elevation, providing the sight and sounds of running water. A shallow channel, lined with a strip of flexible pool liner topped with stone or gravel, confines the water as it flows between elevations. To recirculate, a pool or reservoir at the bottom of the cascade catches water and a pump returns it to the top of the cascade (Figure 9-7). Cascades work best on shallow slopes blended into the existing landscape with boulders and plantings. You can greatly enhance the appearance of a cascade by adding low voltage waterproof lighting to highlight the water movement at key locations along the cascade.

[FIGURE 9-7 OMITTED]
Installing a stone-lined cascade

Time: 4 hours to 2 days for a cascade approximately 10 feet
long.

Level: Moderate (8 steps). Digging and heavy lifting
required.

Note: For the cascade to function properly, you must provide a
water supply and a water-collection point. A pool may serve as
the collection point, with a submersible recirculating pump
providing the continuous supply of water.

CAUTION

* Verify the locations of all utility lines before beginning
construction.

* Use caution when working with electricity.

* All circuits should be turned off when installing and
checking fixtures.

* Circuits must be ground-fault-interrupt (GFCI) circuits.

* Do not operate a submersible fountain unless it is
under water.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for project.
2. Marking paint.
3. 25' tape measure.
4. Round-nosed shovel.
5. Wheelbarrow
6. Carpenter's level.
7. Utility knife.
8. Caulking gun.
9. Screwdriver.

Materials Needed:

1. Flexible pool-liner material. To calculate the amount
required measure the length of the channel. You will need a
strip of liner that is 4' wide and the length of the channel.
You can overlap multiple strips to create the liner, their
length depending on the length of the cascade and the
number of changes in direction.

2. Stone for lining and edging the cascade. To determine the
amount of stone required, purchase approximately six 12" x
12" pieces for each LF of channel. Smaller stone and washed
gravel will also aid in decorating the channel.

3. 1 tube of clear silicon caulking.

4. 1 submersible pump and enough tubing to run from the
pump to the top of the cascade plus 10'.

Directions:

1. Review the location for the cascade on the plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the location of the cascade channel
on the ground. The channel may follow any alignment
desired, as long as the proper cross-section and downward
slope are maintained.

3. Excavate an 8" deep by 14" wide trench along the entire
route of the channel, maintaining a consistent slope from
top to bottom. Angle the edges of the channel upwards to
confine the water within the channel.

4. Waterproof the channel by cutting a linear strip of flexible
liner material and placing it in the excavated channel. If
splices need to be made or corners must be turned, overlap
two pieces of liner approximately 1 foot, placing the upper
section on top of the lower section. Where the cascade
reaches the lower collection pool, let the liner drape over
the pool edge. Lay a bead of silicon caulking where the
liners overlap to reduce leaking and wicking (water being
drawn up between surfaces.

5. Place stone lining in the channel, beginning at the bottom.
The bottom piece should overhang the collection point by
2-3". Stones should be placed firmly on the bottom of the
channel, level side to side, and with a slight tilt towards the
downhill side of the channel.

6. Place the submersible pump in the collection pool. Route
the recirculating water line along the side of the cascade to
the top.

7. Fill the collection reservoir and test the pump to verify that
the cascade is working properly. If the volume is inadequate,
install larger or multiple pumps and recirculating
lines to increase the water flow.

8. Treat the edges by stacking stone pieces 2 to 3 high along
the edge of the channel. Let the edge stones overlap the
channel bottom stones. Careful placement of plant material
can hide wiring, tubing, and other rough edges of the cascade
installation (Figure 9-8). Do not crush or crimp the
recirculation tubing when placing edge treatment.

[FIGURE 9-8 OMITTED]


EDGING

Edging is one of the most versatile, yet subtle, materials in the landscape. Edging can be used to define areas, hold pavement in place, and separate turf from planting beds. Edging materials range from plastic to stone, and installation for most is as simple as excavating a shallow trench and placing the material. Most edging is purchased as either individual units placed one at a time or long strips staked into the ground. Although installing individual-unit edging requires more time, it results in a more aesthetically appealing feature, whereas strip edgings provide the necessary separation in a short amount of time. Almost all edging types can be shaped to match any line required in the landscape.

Natural Edging

A simple edge that conforms to any shape and requires little special preparation is the natural edge. Created by cutting a vertical trench with a shovel, natural edges isolate the planting bed from the lawn without a manufactured separator. However, as turf encroaches into the planting bed natural edging will require periodic maintenance to keep them defined.
Natural edging

Time: 1 hour for every 20' of edging required

Level: Easy (4 steps. Digging required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for the project.
2. Marking paint.
3. Trenching shovel.
4. Wheelbarrow

Directions:

1. Identify the location of the edging on the plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the entire alignment of the edging on
the ground (Figure 9-9).

3. Along the entire alignment, excavate a shallow trench
approximately 4-6" deep. The lawn side edge of the trench
should be excavated with a vertical edge, whereas the
planting-bed side of the trench should be excavated at a
45[degrees] angle (Figure 9-10).

4. Fill the planting bed with mulch to within 1" of the top of
the trench.

[FIGURE 9-9 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-10 OMITTED]


Plastic Edging

One of the most commonly used edging materials is black plastic manufactured in rolls and long strips. This edging is flat and flexible, so that it can be bent to very tight radii, is held in place with metal stakes, and has only the rounded bead on top visible above the ground after installation. Offsetting its ease of installation is plastic's reputation as unattractive. You may also discover additional shortcomings of plastic edging when your mowing equipment damages the material and frost pushes the edging up.
Installing plastic edging

CAUTION

Use caution when cutting edging.

Time: 2 hours for every 20 feet of edging required.

Level: Easy (11 steps. Digging required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for the project.
2. Marking paint.
3. 25' tape measure.
4. Trenching shovel.
5. Wheelbarrow
6. Claw hammer.
7. Tin snips.
8. Hacksaw.

Materials Needed:

1. Coils or strips of edging. To calculate the amount of edging
needed, measure the length of the edging on the plan, and
order 10 percent more. If using coils, straighten the edging
by unrolling the coils and weighting the ends.

2. Edging stakes, 1 for every 2 LF of edger.

3. Joining tubes.
4. 2 8d galvanized box nails for every 10 LF of edger.

Directions:

1. Identify the location of the edging on the plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the entire alignment of the
edging.

3. Along the entire alignment, excavate a shallow
trench approximately 1" deeper than the width of
the edging. Excavate the lawn side of the trench
with a vertical edge and the planting-bed side at a
45[degrees] angle.

4. Place a length of the edging flat against the
vertical side of the trench. If the edging has a fold
of plastic, or a V-shaped channel, place the fold or
channel toward the planting bed side of trench.

5. Hold the top of the edging, usually the rounded
bead, at the top of trench.

6. Place an edging stake in the V channel at the bottom
of the edging and use a hammer to drive the stake through the
edging into the subgrade. Verify that the top of the edging is
still at the top of the trench (Figure 9-11).

7. Continue driving edging stakes every 2 feet along the
length of the edging.

8. Bend the plastic edging around any corners. To prevent the
edging from buckling when turning tight corners, cut 2"
slits up from the bottom every 6".

9. Join pieces of edging by cutting 6" of the rounded bead off
the top of one end of an edging piece. Insert a joining tube
halfway into the rounded bead of that piece of edging.
Overlap the flat sections of the first and second pieces of
edging and slide them together (Figure 9-12). Slide the
remaining half of the joining tube into the rounded bead on the
other piece of edging. Drive an 8d nail through the flat portion
of the overlapped pieces.

10. If smaller pieces of edging are required, measure and cut
them with a hacksaw or tin snips (Figure 9-13).

11. Backfill and compact the soil along the planting bed side
of the edging.

[FIGURE 9-11 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-12 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-13 OMITTED]


Bender-Board Edging

Bender board provides a decay-resistant wood edging that is flexible enough to be installed around corners. Constructed of overlapping layers of thin wood that slide past each other when bent, bender board provides an effective and durable method for edging plantings and paving.

Stone Edging

Wall stone or flagstone can be arranged to provide you with an appealing and highly visible edging for planting beds. Using stone will require site preparation somewhat different than needed for other edging materials and will be costlier than most but is relatively more attractive and lower in maintenance.
Installing bender-board edging

CAUTION

Use caution when cutting edging.

Time: 2 hours for every 20' of edging required.

Level: Easy (10 steps. Digging required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for the project.
2. Marking paint.
3. 25' tape measure.
4. Trenching shovel.
5. Wheelbarrow,
6. Two-pound sledge.
7. Claw hammer.
8. Carpenter's saw.

Materials Needed:

1. Strips of edging. To calculate the amount of edging needed,
measure the length of the edging on the plan. Order 10 percent
more.

2. 10 16d nails for each 10' of edger.

3. Treated 2" x 2" x 12" long wood stakes.

Directions:

1. Identify the location of the edging on the plan.

2. Using the paint, mark the entire alignment of the edging on
the ground.

3. Along the entire alignment, excavate a shallow trench approximately
1" deeper than the vertical dimension of the edging.
Excavate the lawn side of the trench with a vertical edge the
planting bed side of the trench at a 45[degrees] degree angle.

4. Place a length of the edging flat against the vertical side of the
trench. Bend the edging to match the shape of the vertical side.

5. Hold the top of the edging at the top of trench.

6. Place a stake next to the edging and use the sledge to drive
the stake into the subgrade. The top of the stake should be
driven 1" below the top of the edging. Verify that the top of
the edging is still at the top of the trench (Figure 9-14).

7. Install a nail through the stake into the edging to hold the
edging in position.

8. Continue driving edging stakes every 4' along the length of
the edging.

9. If smaller pieces of edging are required, measure and cut
them with a carpenter's saw. Be certain to cut only after the
edging has been bent to the desired curvature, because
bending will alter the length required.

10. Backfill and compact the soil along the planting-bed side of
the edging.

[FIGURE 9-14 OMITTED]

Installing flat-stone edging

CAUTION

Use caution when shaping stone and cutting the weed barrier.

Time: 2-3 hours for every 20' of edging required.

Level: Easy (9 steps. Digging required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for project.
2. Marking paint.
3. Square-nosed shovel.
4. Wheelbarrow
5. Brick hammer.
6. Scissors or utility knife.

Materials Needed:

1. Pieces of flat stone approximately 2" thick and 12" in the
longest horizontal dimension. To calculate the amount of
edging needed, measure the length of the edging on the
plan. Order 10 percent more.

2. Optional: weed barrier cut into 12" wide strips. Weed barrier
is fabric woven from plastic or heavy exterior fibers designed
to prevent weeds from growing through the barrier.

Directions:

1. Identify the location of the edging on the plan.
2. Using the paint, mark the entire alignment of the edging on
the ground.

3. Along the entire alignment, excavate a shallow trench 14"
wide, approximately 2" deep on the lawn side, and sloped
up at a 30[degrees] angle toward the planting bed.

4. Smooth the surface of the trench.

5. If weed protection is desired, place the weed barrier along
the length of the sloped trench.

6. Set a piece of stone in the trench with the straightest edge
along the lawn side. Shape with stone hammer if necessary
(Figure 9-15).

7. Place a second piece of stone adjacent to the first. Select a
piece that fits the edge shape as tightly as possible, shaping
if necessary. The edge forming on the planting-bed side can
be irregular (Figure 9-16).

8. Continue placing stones
until the entire bed has
been edged.

9. On the planting-bed side,
add mulch to the top of
the edging covering the
weed barrier.

[FIGURE 9-15 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-16 OMITTED]


Vertical Brick Edging

Vertically oriented bricks can be used for edging paved surfaces or formal planting areas. Stood on end, on edge, or laid flat, the bricks introduce earthy textures and colors into the design that can be used to match a paving or building material. Brick edging is more expensive and labor intensive than other types of edging, but the aesthetic appeal may be worth the investment.
Installing vertical brick edging

Time: 2-3 hours for every 20 feet of edging required.

Level: Easy (6 steps. Digging required.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan of the project.
2. Marking paint.
3. 25' tape measure.
4. Trenching shovel.
5. Square-nosed shovel.
6. Wheelbarrow
7. Hand trowel.

Materials Needed:

1. Enough bricks to complete the edging. To calculate the
number of bricks, needed, measure the length of edging to
be installed. Multiply that number by 6 to obtain the
approximate number of bricks required (six bricks, set on
edge, per linear foot.

2. 1 CF of sand for every 10 LF of edging.

Directions:

1. Using the paint, mark the alignment for the edging on the
ground.

2. Excavate an 8" deep by 6" wide trench along the entire
alignment of the edging with the trenching shovel. Shape
the trench using the square-nosed shovel. The trench must
form a vertical edge along both sides of the trench. The
bottom of the trench should be as level as possible.

3. Place 2" of sand along the bottom of the entire trench.

4. Place bricks vertically in the trench with the shortest
dimension along the outside edge. Each brick should set
flush against the previous brick (Figure 9-17).

5. Add or remove sand with the hand trowel to adjust the
height of the bricks so that each is flush with adjacent
bricks.

6. Immediately backfill and compact the soil along the edging.

[FIGURE 9-17 OMITTED]


DC (DIRECT CURRENT) LIGHTING

Exterior low-voltage electrical systems are used primarily for powering your decorative lighting. Spotlights, stair lights, low-level walk lights, and uplights or downlights in plant material are examples of applications for direct-current lighting. DC electrical systems require an AC outlet to provide power. Typical AC sources are 110 volt outlets located in garages, basements, or exterior locations. You will need to locate an outlet in a weatherproof location where a transformer can be placed. It is necessary to select an outlet that is a ground-fault-circuit-interrupt (GFCI) circuit.

Most transformers are designed so that you can mount them on a post or wall with a grounded plug for an outlet. The transformer converts the AC current to DC current, so that it is usable by the low-voltage system. A low-voltage electrical cable plugs into the transformer and must be fed to the locations where lights are located. If the transformer is inside, the cable will need to be fed through an opening in a wall. Some DC lighting systems have controllers that turn on lights at dusk or allow the user to control the times at which the systems turns on and off. These controllers may be built into the transformer or installed as separate units placed along the cable. Either method requires that the controllers be located where the owner-and sunlight, in the case of photocells-can gain access to the equipment. This may require transformers with built-in controllers to be located outside a structure and the cord that connects them to the AC outlet fed through the wall to the outlet.

Installation of basic DC lighting systems varies slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the steps required for system assembly are similar.
Installing a direct-current (DC) lighting system

CAUTION

* Locate all utility lines before beginning construction.

* Use caution when working with electricity. Verify that
electrical circuits have been turned off before working
on lighting system.

* Exterior lighting systems should be connected only to
groundfault-circuit-interrupt (GFCI) circuits.

* Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all lighting
installations.

Time: 2 hours for a five-light system. Transformer installation
may require additional time.

Level: Moderate (15 steps.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for the lighting.
2. Wire cutters.
3. Standard and phillips head screwdrivers.
4. Drill (cordless operation or electric.
5. 1" and 1.5" wood spade drill bits.
6. Claw hammer.

Materials Needed:

1. Caulking.

2. Connection to a GFCI 110 volt AC power source.

3. Pre-manufactured DC lighting kit containing the following
items:

* Transformer that can be plugged into a GFCI 110 volt
AC-current outlet.

* Cable.

* Light units.

* The kit may also have various controllers (timers,
photocells, and so one and additional light fixtures.

Directions:

Steps for installing DC lighting (Note: Instructions may vary
slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Adjust the following
steps to conform to the instructions supplied with your lighting
kit.):

1. Place the light fixtures in the desired locations.

2. Locate your AC power source. Power source must be a
110V ground-fault-protected (GFCI) duplex outlet.

3. Mount the transformer near the selected outlet. If the AC
power source is inside a house or garage, you may need to
drill a hole through a wall and feed either the lighting cable
or the power cord that connects to the AC outlet through the
hole to reach the transformer. Before drilling any hole, verify
that there are no structural, electrical, or other critical
building components that you may inadvertently drill
through. When finished, caulk or plug the hole with insulation
or steel wool, which will prevent insects, rodents, and
water from entering the cable hole. Fasten the cable to a
nearby stud with a wire staple, taking care that the staple
points are outside the insulation on the cable, so that they
won't cause a short by coming into contact with the wire
that carries the electricity.

4. Connect the controller to the transformer if it is a separate
unit. Both should be placed where they will be easily accessible.
If you have a controller with a photocell that turns
lights on after dark and off during daylight, you will need
to mount the photocell in an exterior location.

5. Lay the cable to the location of each fixture and connect
fixtures as directed in the following steps.

6. Insert bulb into lamp base socket (Figure 9-18).

7. Attach the lens to the lamp base. Lenses will snap (bayonet
mount) or twist (screw mount) into the base (Figure 9-19).

8. Run a loop of cable through the mounting-stem bracket
(Figure 9-20).

9. Connect the lamp base to the cable by pressing the cable
onto the metal prongs projecting from the lamp base. These
prongs puncture the cable and make contact with each
conductor in the wire. One metal prong must make contact
with the wire inside each side of cable. Use care not to
bend the prongs (Figure 9-21).

10. Attach a threaded cap that will hold the cable in place
(Figure 9-22).

11. Slide the mounting stem bracket into place over the
threaded cap (Figure 9-23).

12. Insert the mounting stem into the mounting step bracket
(Figure 9-24).

13. Gently push the fixture into the ground (Figure 9-25).

14. Plug the cable into the transformer, and then plug the transformer
into the GFCI outlet.

15. Test the system. Ground-level lights may have the stem and
fixture in a single unit, allowing you to connect the light and
insert the mounting stem into the ground in a single operation.
Mounted lights, however, may require that the fixture be snapped
or bolted to a base, which is then mounted on a wall.

[FIGURE 9-18 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-19 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-20 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-21 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-22 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-23 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-24 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9-25 OMITTED]


FREE-STANDING STAIRS

The landscape will occasionally present situations in which a slope needs to be navigated using stairs. If the slope is steep (more than 3' of fall over 10' of horizontal distance) you should consider building a retaining wall with incorporated stairs. When the slope is gradual (less than the 3' of fall over 10') free-standing stairs can be constructed without the benefit of retaining walls.

[FIGURE 9-26 OMITTED]

For free-standing stairs, large slab like materials can be stacked overlapping the edge of the higher slab on the lower one. If this design is used, the slab serves as both a riser (the vertical portion of the step) and a tread (the horizontal portion of the step. Each step takes the user a few inches higher up or down the slope. Materials that might be used for this type of step include precast concrete, large flat stones, or other materials with the thickness and large dimensions needed to create safe steps. Materials that have slightly rough surfaces when used as stairs, because they provide better traction, reducing the likelihood of a fall by someone walking up or down them (Figure 9-26).
Building free-standing stairs with stacked slab material

CAUTION

Select stair material carefully. The thickness of the material will
form the risers for the stairs and should be no less than 6" and
no more than 9" thick. The flat portion of the material will form
the treads and should be no less than 18" front to back to allow
6" of overlap and expose a minimum 12" tread. The entire stair
should be at least 24" wide for safety, and a nonslip surface will
be the safest.

Time: 2-4 hours for 5 stairs.

Level: Moderate (6 steps. Heavy lifting involved.

Tools Needed:

1. Plan for the project.
2. Marking paint.
3. Round-nosed shovel.
4. Square-nosed shovel.
5. Wheelbarrow
6. Carpenter's level.
7. Pry bar.

Materials Needed:

1. Large stepping stones, approximately 18" rectangle or 24"
diameter round and 6"-9" thick. All material selected should
be of a consistent dimension, especially thickness.

2. Angular 1" crushed stone. Approximately 1 CF for each stair
planned.

Directions:

1. Use the paint to mark the location for each step on the
ground. If the slope is too steep to go up in a straight line,
add more steps and lay out a winding or curved alignment.

2. Excavate any sod or ground cover in the location where the
steps are to be built.

3. Use the square-nosed shovel to level the area for the steps.

4. Place the lowest stepping stone and level it side to side. The
stone should have a very slight slope to the front to allow
for water runoff. To adjust the level of the stone, lift it using
the pry bar and place a small amount of the angular 1"
crushed stone under the low edge. The pry bar can also be
used to adjust the placement of the stone (Figure 9-27).

5. Position the second stepping stone with the front edge
resting on the back edge of the lower stone. Level the stone
side to side, and ensure that it has a slight slope from back
to front.

6. Repeat this placement for each stone to the top of the
slope.

[FIGURE 9-27 OMITTED]
COPYRIGHT 2003 Delmar Learning
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Sauter, David
Publication:Plan It, Dig It, Build It! Your Step-By-Step Guide to Landscape Projects
Article Type:Professional standards
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:6936
Previous Article:Chapter 7 Wooden structures.
Next Article:Chapter 10 Advanced projects.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters