Frequently Asked Questions
Why should we hire you and not some other landscaping company? There are so many landscapers available, what makes you different?
GKB Landscaping, LLC. is a fully licensed and insured company that has been in business since 1999. We are always taking classes, and attending seminars to keep up with the industry. The advantage to hiring a landscape contractor that is involved in professional schooling and seminars is that they are dedicated to promoting their industry through education, networking, and improved business practices. With GKB Landscaping, you are hiring a certified, insured and licensed professional company that has agreed to follow certain guidelines for installation and professionalism. You would also be hiring a company that is actively seeking and gaining knowledge on the cutting edge of technologies and techniques to serve you, the homeowner, the best possible in this industry. Overall, you would be hiring a trained expert for your project that you could trust, GUARANTEED!
What should you ask your contractor before hiring them to install your hardscape project?
Is the contractor certified by the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI)?
ICPI sets industry standards that contractors should follow for the installation of hardscape materials. GKB Landscaping is ICPI certified and we work at or above industry standards.
Is the contractor certified by National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)?
NCMA sets industry standards for the installation of garden and retaining walls as well as masonry applications. GKB Landscaping is certified by NCMA.
If your installing Cambridge materials for your project, is the contractor a certified Cambridge installer?
This shows that the contractor has taken the appropriate classes and knows all the products as well as how the product should be installed properly. It shows guidelines that include inspections of jobs being built and jobs that have been completed. GKB Landscaping is a certified Cambridge paver installer.
What type of base is your contractor going to install and at what depth?
Your 3/4" quarry process base is one of the most important aspects of your hardscape project. ICPI recommends a minimum of 4" aggregate base for walkways and patios, and 8" for driveways. GKB Landscaping overbuilds and installs a minimum base of 5" on all of our projects to insure your patio will not fail in the future. We also use top of the line and state of the art heavy compaction equipment to insure proper compaction.
Following the excavation for your walkway, pool deck or patio it is very important to compact the subsoil which many contractors overlook. Applying a geo-fabric between the subsoil and aggregate base is the next and very important step in building your base. It creates a barrier between your subsoil and your aggregate base and distributes weight load evenly. This is the part that many other contractors skip, in order to make some extra money! Compaction of base materials should occur every 2" to insure proper compaction if using a 4,400 LB compactor. Due to the fact your base is very important to the long-term structure of your patio, these are very important questions to ask when choosing a hardscape contractor.
Our quarry process (QP) base extends at least 6" beyond the outer edges of patio installs, and 12" past driveway installs. We also install a minimum of 12" beyond the base for landscape and retaining walls. This prevents any "sagging" and also provides a strong base to install 9" nails into PVC edge restraints. Don't let the competition fool you by using 1" of concrete! 1" of concrete edging will fail within one year in the freeze/thaw cycles we have here in New Jersey!
What type of setting bed will the contractor apply his pavers in? ICPI as well as all paver manufactures recommend a 1" concrete sand bed (C-33 concrete sand). Stone dust should not be used as a setting bed as it does not drain and instead retains moisture and breaks down over time, as well as leaves more efflorescence and voids manufacturer warranty. If a contractor tells you they are using stone dust in a paver application you are sure to have failures within two years and your patio might need to be picked up and laid again on proper sand materials.
What type of paver joint sealer will your contractor use?
Use of sand and quarry dust will not hold up over time and it allows water through the paver joints and under your patio. When freeze and thaw occurs and water exists under your pavers and it will cause heaving and your pavers will need to be picked up and laid again. GKB Landscaping uses polymeric sand which is a very fine polymeric sand that we wet and it becomes hard almost like concrete, it withstands 95% of water. Also, those ugly weeds and ant hills between your paver joints won't exist as it will with sand and quarry dust. Wind, rain and a blower will also remove sand and quarry dust from your paver joints causing failures.
Is your contractor fully insured?
GKB Landscaping carries 3 million in general liability coverage, as well as New Jersey workman compensation insurance.
Does your contractor have their home improvement certification from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs?
It's the law and a contractor without this certification cannot complete your job by law or obtain any permits. GKB Landscaping's NJ home improvement contractor's license # 13VH03334700.
What range of services can your contractor offer? Do they install low voltage landscape lighting, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, masonry services, and stone veneers? Do they maintain everything that they installed?
GKB Landscaping offers all of these services which allow you to work with one contractor to complete your project in a headache free manner and meet your deadlines.
How much do I need to water my new sod? When and how long should I?
Goal: New sod must remain wet for the first 14 days. After the first 14 days, the roots should begin to dig into the ground and watering can be reduced. The amount of water needed, depends upon the weather.
After sod is laid- watering is based on the high temperature for the day. Each sprinkler is different, so times may vary. Some sprinklers need 30 minutes and some need over 1 hour to make sod and ground below wet. We recommend you “sneak a peek”. Pick up a corner of the sod after watering and check the ground below, if it is dry, water more. If it is muddy or water is standing, reduce the sprinkler time.
Below 55 degrees: As needed to keep sod wet
55-65 degrees: Every other day in early morning (5:00-6:00am)
65-75 degrees: Once a day in early morning (5:00-6:00am)
75-85 degrees: Two times a day (5:00-6:00am and 1:00-2:00pm)
85+ degrees: Three times a day (5:00-6:00am, 12:00-1:00pm, and 5:30- 6:30pm)
The biggest myth we hear is “do not water the sod mid day when it is hot, it will kill the sod”. This is ABSOLUTELY WRONG! Not watering on hot days will result in failure.
I have mushrooms growing on my new sod. What does that mean?
This is good news, you are just watering a little too much. Slightly reduce the amount of watering and mushrooms will die off. Mushrooms will also disappear when the temperature cools off.