Have you ever been in a situation where a mowing customer wanted you to perform some hardscaping services yet you were unsure of what to do? Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to repair a brick patio that has been installed improperly. Hopefully this information will broaden the scope of services you offer and help you make more profit during your day.
One lawn care business owner said “I’m not great at hardscaping, but I want to take on this project. A mowing customer asked if I could fix their brick patio. What would you suggest I do in order to keep these patio bricks from becoming un-level in the future and growing all these weeds in between them? I am not sure if you can tell in the pictures, but the outer row of the patio bricks really are leaning down. The customer would really prefer this all to be level.
I need step by step help if you don’t mind. This is new to me.”
A second lawn care business owner responded “there is big bucks in this type of work, for me here is how it started.
A bunch of years back, a customer or mine asked if we did walkways and I said yes, although I had only ever did mine.
The walkway had a design, it was brick and about 15 years old. It was so uneven that you would get sea sick just from walking on it. Frost is a real enemy in the north.
I went home and did some research. Next I used a mini excavator and a tractor with a bucket to help move the brick. In the end it came out to be an amazing job. After that, we spent the next 7 weeks redoing walkways in that community all from word of mouth.
Here is what we did
- Remove the brick.
- Dig down 10 to 12 inches below grade (remember to add thickness of brick).
- Lay two inches of clear stone.
- Lay 6 inches of crusher run (Class A) and compact (we had a tamper attachment on the mini excavator).
- Add commercial landscape fabric.
- Add a minimum of 2, better 4 inches of sand and compact.
- Run a string/plumb line.
- Add edging on one side.
- Start laying brick.
- Add opposite side edging.
- On the top, add and sweep in Polymere sand, prevents weeds, blow off brick lightly.
- Water three to four times and you are finished.
They will never have the problem again.
Since then, we tried to do a few patch jobs at the customer’s insistence. Those few patch jobs came back to haunt us, even when in writing we expressed concern.
I personally should have walked away from those patch jobs. Mainly because we had more customers wanting it done right than we could handle.
To repair such jobs you would remove two rows around the edge, build the area up with sand and compact. Install the brick, then the edging. Use the specific edging for the bricks you are working with. We held it in place with 14″ spikes every 6″.
Add sod on the outside to feather up to the brick and tie into the lawn.
One of the things I have learned going through all this is that it is critical to educate your customers before you begin for a host of reasons. The biggest one being it gives them peace of mind that you know what you are doing. Most people will pay to have it done right the first time when they know the reality of patching shoddy work.
In this case my opening line would be, your patio bricks are moving because the preparation under the bricks is not correct. One has to allow for proper drainage of water and moisture and provide a base that will not be prone to movement when frost is in the ground. Also they have grass growing between the bricks which means landscape fabric and poly-mere sand was not used, this creates movement issues and it looks bad.
To do this our experience is …………list the process.
Don’t be afraid to offer new services, the internet is your largest library of how to. Also in this case, talk to the local stone depot’s. They are a wealth of information and they want your business on future jobs that may require their product(s).”
Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.