Long gone are the days of creating a beautiful landscaping for only aesthetic purposes. Landscape architects today are constantly on the lookout for how the land can serve some utility purposes as well. As masters in their field, landscape architects can plan and create an environment that is both beautiful as well as functional. The trend to “go green” isn’t going away anytime soon.
The surge in environmental consciousness is leading designers and architects to find ways to reduce carbon footprints, utilize environmentally friendly or recycled materials, and minimize a project’s environmental impact whenever possible. Many companies, including Kafka Granite, are creating building materials in greener ways than ever before, which is why we support these efforts where we can. One way to make your commercial landscaping work for the environment is to use it as part of your project’s water management. A useful and beautiful landscape for your project is very possible through research, planning and using the power of permeability.
Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain – Chicago, IL
What Does Water Management Mean?
The water that lands on the ground during a rainfall might not ever cross your mind again once it’s over and dried up. However, consider the fact that one inch of rainwater hitting one acre of asphalt over one hour yields 27,000 gallons of water. In ideal conditions, this rainwater would easily flow into your city’s sewers and be on its way to your water treatment facility. However, too often do these systems become overwhelmed by heavy storms and debris, causing flooding and even sewage backups. This causes pollutants such as oils and trash to sit stagnant or flow into public waters, neither of which help the environment.
So what exactly does water management mean when it comes to landscape designs and function? Best Management Practices (BMPs) for landscape water conservation range from plant selection to irrigation in order to reduce landscape water use. Adopting BMPs for your next landscape design project will help with financial savings and environmental efforts.
How to Start Planning a Water-efficient Landscape
Oftentimes, commercial and industrial workplaces sit across large plots of land. This vast area is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of rainwater and save on using water for outdoor purposes. Before you start implementing a landscape design, you need to consider what the land will be used for.
Ask yourself the following questions before you begin to cultivate your design. When you can answer the questions below then you know that you’re ready to begin creating your landscaping vision. If you are in doubt about the legalities and protections that are in place at the site of your next build we recommend contacting your local government or Department of Natural Resources to answer any uncertainties that arise while reviewing the questions below.
What is the natural habitat of the area?
What are some native plants and animals currently residing on or nearby the project?
What will the pedestrian or vehicular traffic be like once completed? Is this a recreational area?
Will I need automatic irrigation systems?
How will I create a suitable hydrozone for the space?
What type of ground cover should I be utilizing?
Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material & Platinum Permeable Paver Grit – Metropolitan Correctional Center – Chicago, IL
Keep Hard Surfaces in Mind: Reduce Stormwater Runoff
Optimal landscape architecture isn’t restricted to lush green surfaces and garden beds. Creating the best landscape for water management also means thinking about the hard surfaces in your project, i.e., driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and courtyards. When these surfaces are made of nonporous material, such as nonporous asphalt and concrete, this creates unwanted stormwater runoff, which draws pollutants to waterways.
Ensuring you use porous materials that provide ample drainage is a key factor to achieving ideal water management with your landscaping. Decomposed granite provides stable, compact surfaces while still allowing rainwater to pass through. Consider a combination of permeable pavers and permeable paver joint infill for large expanses, such as parking lots. Kafka Granite offers a large variety of durable granite and quartz aggregates for permeable paver grit that can withstand intense freeze/thaw cycles. These aggregates emphasize the aesthetic goals of your landscape design as well as provide a way for hard-surfaced areas to provide even more water management opportunities.
Kafka Can Help Your Landscape Start Saving Water
A water management plan integrated in your landscape design can help your project environmentally and financially. Through planning a tight irrigation schedule, creating hydrozones, and implementing permeable surfaces wherever possible, you’ll be conserving water and time all while helping the environment. Reducing stormwater runoff helps ease the stress on sewer systems, reduces sewage backups and flooding, and alleviates the amount of pollutants and debris running into waterways. Interested in permeable solutions for your landscape? Let Kafka Granite help you create a beautiful and eco-friendly space—send us a message or call today for your next project!
https://www.kafkagranite.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/DSC_7326.jpg6621000Tiffanyhttps://www.kafkagranite.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/KG-6-Gray-Outline-CMYK.svgTiffany2018-02-06 22:20:342018-03-29 20:09:34How to Use Your Landscaping to Manage Water
While decomposed granite (DG) might not be on your radar, it’s a common material you might come across in your garden, in a park, or on a pathway or walking trail through your community. It crunches under your feet at the baseball field. It can be compacted to create a beautiful, natural surface while remaining firm and permeable, and stabilizing additives can be added to further enhance these valuable qualities. It’s in more places than you think, but after checking out this guide, you might have a few ideas of your own for the broad variety of uses and aesthetics decomposed granite brings to the table.
What Is Decomposed Granite?
Granite is the most common igneous rock (rocks formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava) on Earth. In the case of granite, it originally crystallizes below Earth’s surface, where its slow cooling allows large crystals to form. You may have seen granite take shape as some of America’s favorite sights like Yosemite Valley or a few guys on Mount Rushmore. Granite has also been mined and used for daily applications for thousands of years, from ancient hand tools to modern-day countertops.
Granite is made up of the following minerals:
Feldspar: rock-forming mineral, most abundant mineral in Earth’s crust
Quartz: second most abundant mineral in Earth’s crust
Micas: silicate minerals
Decomposed granite is the completely natural derivative of granite. When granite erodes and endures weathering over time, it easily starts flaking and crumbling away from its parent source. This decomposed granite crumbles into various sizes of particles and can be further crushed and screened to specific sizes for different project needs. Granite weathers into decomposed granite in part because one of its components, feldspar, chemically weathers into a clay mineral called kaolin, which, when exposed to more water, further deteriorates.
Where Can You Find Decomposed Granite?
Crushed decomposed granite is produced by more than 100 quarries throughout various regions around the United States. Because of the varying levels of chemical composition around the U.S. and Canada, quarries in different regions will produce DG of different colors. In Kafka Granite’s home turf, for example, vibrant reds, browns, and golds are most prominent. Other regions may be known for their tans or greys.
Mining Decomposed Granite
Decomposed granite is usually gathered from a quarry or, in Kafka Granite’s case, multiple quarries. Wisconsin, where Kafka is headquartered, is teeming with quarries as a reminder of glacial movement after the Ice Age. Quarries may have different methods of acquiring the rock from the land, but decomposed granite is most commonly dug up like soil. Once excavated, the next step for the granite is getting sent through the screening process.
Kafka Granite hones state-of-the-art crushing and screening technology, which adds impeccable customization to your project or needs. Decomposed granite formations are naturally fragile due to their weathering (which is what makes it a decomposed granite). The fragile nature of true DG renders it somewhat easier to acquire than solid slabs of stone, and therefore, more economically and environmentally friendly to mine.
Because of the demand for DG in a variety of colors, Kafka Granite also crushes natural stone to mimic the qualities of decomposed granite, and therefore Kafka Granite is able to offer more than 40 different colors—a rare offering by most suppliers. Our natural decomposed granite and crushed stone alternatives are crushed and screened to size and can be used interchangeably for decorative and practical applications.
What Is Decomposed Granite Used For?
Many would assume that granite and all of its derivatives are primarily used for countertops and architecture, but you may be surprised to hear that once granite has been transformed into decomposed granite, its applications take on a multitude of uses. Despite its name, decomposed granite is still very strong. In fact, DG is harder than marble, and its unique composition allows it to compact firmly for patios, ballparks, driveways, pathways and trail systems, and landscapes, or for more high-traffic applications such as roads, while maintaining drainage characteristics not found in most other hardscape surfaces.
Caramel Quartzite Stabilized Pathway – Grande Cheese Headquarters & Research Center – Fond du Lac, WI
Kafka Granite is an industry leader in DG and offers both standard, stabilized, and polymeric wax decomposed granite mixtures. These innovative mixtures are comprised of various colors of granite, quartz, marble, and in some cases, recycled materials such as porcelain. Thanks to the care we take in creating attainable, eco-friendly products, Kafka Granite has been able to assist many designers and architects receive LEED and SITES Certifications. Decomposed granite is a versatile and robust material that can be used in everything from the trails and Erin Hills Golf Course to the Downtown East Commons at the U.S. Bank Stadium.
How Can You Stabilize Granite Aggregate?
Sometimes, DG alone just isn’t right for your project. You may require a product that offers more stability and durability. Your pathway might need to be able to withstand heavier traffic, or your ballyard may need the moisture-retaining properties of an organic binder to minimize dust and mud. Kafka offers several crushed granite mixes that have been engineered to support high traffic areas, such as our stabilized and wax polymer pathway mixtures. Whatever the reason, crushed granite can be stabilized with natural binders such as Organic-Lock and Stabilizer Solutions. These binders help create a durable surface that resists the erosive powers of weather or heavy traffic—all while maintaining the natural aesthetic you may have been going for in the first place. This means stabilized decomposed granite is an excellent alternative to obtrusive or less-natural looking asphalt or concrete pathways, driveways, etc. while still remaining permeable.
Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway – Erin Hills Golf Course – Hartford, WI – Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley
For the highest level of erosion resistance and durability, the Kafka Granite wax polymer pathway mixtures is an optimal solution. This hearty mixture can withstand intense erosion and be laid on the steepest of hills, due to its completely sealed, impermeable surface. However, this surface yet retains a natural aesthetic and can be easily maintained and manicured over time, unlike traditional hardscape materials.
Where Can You Buy Decomposed Granite?
Decomposed granite can be purchased in a variety of ways. Depending on the size and scale of your project, we’ll be able to assist you with finding your ideal decomposed granite mixture. It is usually easier for smaller-scaled operations to source our aggregate mixtures from a member of our expansive dealer network. With dealers spread out all over the Midwest, finding a Kafka Granite supplier near your next project is easy.
When it comes to large-scale projects, we most commonly assist contractors, architects, and designers by providing direct quotes for their architecturally specified projects. With a versatile portfolio comprising standard, stabilized, and wax polymer pathway mixes, we can help any project find its ideal pathway mixture.
The Price of Decomposed Granite
If you’re preparing to source materials for a project, you’ll be wondering how much decomposed granite actually costs. It’s worth noting that DG is an excellent, cost-effective alternative to cement or concrete pathways and driveways. But the short answer to the question is that the price of this material can vary greatly, due to the variety of DG available. Factors like size, color, market price, shipping, and whether or not the aggregate needs to be stabilized will affect the ultimate price of the product.
Before you begin your search for the right material, hone in on the key features that you will need, such as color and the amount of traffic or weather the product will need to withstand. Ask yourself the following questions:
How much area do I have to cover?
Does it have to withstand vehicular traffic, or just foot traffic?
What color DG do I want?
Should it be standard, stabilized, or wax polymer?
What is the cost to ship it?
How Is the Quality of Decomposed Granite Products Maintained?
If you find yourself in need of decomposed granite or crushed granite, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the best possible product for your project. Each of Kafka’s pathway products must meet certain specifications, the most important of which has to do with gradation. A sieve analysis is used to guarantee that every shipment of product contains the right proportions of stone sizes. For instance, the specifications for one pathway mix might require that 80 percent of the stones in a mix be smaller than 3/16 inch, 65 percent be smaller than ⅛ inch, and so on.
If you choose a product that does not meet specifications or other quality standards, you run the risk of installing a low-quality product. Pathway mixes that don’t contain the proper gradation, for example, may wind up failing because they do not compact properly, or the binder doesn’t adhere to the stone properly. When in doubt, be sure that your DG provider can provide an extensive overview of a product’s specifications, including sieve analysis, ADA compliance report (if applicable), and installation and maintenance instructions.
How Can Decomposed Granite Contribute to Sustainable Efforts?
There are several ways in which decomposed granite can contribute to your LEED certification efforts. By earning points to be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certified, your project can reach varying levels of sustainability. Striving to build a green, eco-friendly project will benefit the environment for years to come.
LEED certification points can be acquired through using decomposed granite in the following ways:
Compacted decomposed granite is a permeable material. Permeable surfaces lend themselves to aiding the soil and returning water to the water table. Permeable surfaces are also beneficial in that they won’t collect water and develop standing pools, which could lead to pests or other detrimental side effects.
Depending on where the granite comes from for your specific project, using a locally produced decomposed granite could earn you regional priority LEED certification points.
Since decomposed granite is a natural product, as well as organic stabilizers which can be used in conjunction with decomposed granite, LEED points can be earned for using this naturally occurring and abundant decorative material.
Since Kafka has the ability to crush recycled materials for use as decomposed granite, using Recycled Porcelain or Recycled Copper Slag, the recycled content can contribute to achieving LEED certifcation
DG Products From Kafka Granite
When you get in touch directly with Kafka, you’ll be able to speak with one of our natural stone pros who can help you determine exactly what you need for your specific project. You can also receive samples and ask questions before making a final decision. Who knows? You might discover that a stabilized or wax polymer pathway material better suits your needs, or one of our many colors of aggregates might catch your eye and take your project in an entirely new direction. The sky is truly the limit with DG and other natural stone materials, and we look forward to helping you explore the possibilities.
https://www.kafkagranite.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/DowntownEastCommonsUSBankStadiumStabilizedRustic-7-e1478029808254.jpg6621000Tiffanyhttps://www.kafkagranite.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/KG-6-Gray-Outline-CMYK.svgTiffany2018-02-06 20:55:212020-01-21 21:00:56A Short Guide to What You Need to Know about Decomposed Granite
Contact us for more information, to request a quote, or to receive samples.