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Do not apply sealant more than once every 3 years or buildup will occur and lead to peeling.
There are different maintenance products on the market. These include degreasers, all purpose cleaners for stains; efflorescence removers (applied before sealing), which remove whitish calcium deposits that can rise to the surface during curing; and rust removers for marks that can be caused from old lawn furniture.
Large older homes and formal landscapes have upright shrubs near the entrance to symbolize a sentinel and strengthen the "gate" effect. Modern homes rarely benefit from upright or pyramidal shrubs near the entrance. Shrubs with special foliage or color interest in small or medium sizes with spreading or rounded forms are more appropriate.
Turn simple structures like mail boxes or lamp posts, into visual centerpieces with an encircling parade of flowers from earliest to latest spring. Plant: purple and gold crocus; dainty white snowdrops; pink-and-white narcissi; blue hyacinths; bright white anemone blanda (Greek wind flowers) and tulips of several colors. Position rocks or boulders around the posts, as well, to create added interest.
Use containers of flowers to create colorful focal points at your front door. Select pots of different styles and sizes for bulb flowers of different heights and bloom times -- then mix and match. In larger containers, plant a mixture of many bulbs to achieve months of successive bloom. These can be planted in layers, like lasagna, with larger bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths and narcissi about eight inches deep and smaller bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops and grape hyacinths five inches down.
When planning a front yard, look at the front yard for what it really is: (1) the public view of the house, (2) the family view of the neighborhood, (3) a route of access to and from the house, (4) a useful area and (5) part of our physical and social environment. Plantings should make the home attractive and compatible with the neighborhood as well as satisfy the family's needs.
It is important to get an experienced contractor if your are looking for an installer for your interlocking bricks. Call the manufacturer for recommendations. A good contractor should show you his portfolio and help with decisions about colors and style. He may also drive around with you to look at other installations and discuss preferences.
Before applying sealant on your brick paved drive, make sure you cover vegetation within a metre of the driveway. Clean the surface with a cleaning agent and use a power washer to take the sand between bricks below the bevelled edge. Allow to dry completely for approx. 24 hours. Once dry, brush sand into the joints, taking sand up to bevelled edge, then blow off excess sand.
Try planting masses of yellow daffodils in your front, along your fence, or jointly with your neighbors along the common roadway. Narcissi naturalize and come back to bloom year after year. Choose several types with different bloom periods or a "naturalizing mix" to keep the color going for months on end. Plant a dozen or so tulips in single color "bouquets" in red, purple, white, orange, pink and stripes around your front yard.
Use plants with year-round interest, because they are seen closely and often.
Plants alongside the door should not be taller than one-fourth to one-third the distance from ground to the eaves. Choose plants that are in proportion with the entrance, don't crowd people coming and going and don't choose plantings that may have to be deformed by excessive pruning.
When constructing a drive for your front yard, keep in mind that the minimum width for a driveway should be 10 feet, preferably 11. If the drive also doubles as a walk, add 3 feet of width. Walks should be a minimum of 4 feet wide and at least 6 feet from the house.
Applying sealant will enhance the lustre of the paving stone as well as protect it against fading and against staining from oil, leaves and rubber.
It will seal out water and therefore prevent chipping that can occur after water seepage and it prevents about 90 percent of wind-blown seeds from germinating in the sand between the bricks.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|