Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix - Akron Art Museum - Akron, OH

Complete Your Project with Today’s Landscaping Trends

As we head into 2018 landscaping season, so should your landscaping design. The trends for landscape design change slightly from year to year, and now more than ever is a growing emphasis on bringing facets of green living—living more environmentally friendly—to the great outdoors. When designing the ideal outdoor space for your next project, there are quite a few elements to keep track of on your landscape checklist.

Kafka Granite is a premier manufacturer of architectural and landscape aggregates in the heart of the Midwest, so keeping our thumb on the pulse of landscaping trends is crucial. We work with landscape architects to perfect the materials used in green outdoor spaces for large-scale projects. Whether it’s the ideal material to complete a walkway, a supply of boulders for retaining walls or water features, or the perfect aggregate for decorative precast concrete  pavers, flower beds, trash cans, and more, we take pride in creating the best of the best when it comes to crushed aggregates for landscape projects.

Things to Consider for the Perfect Landscape

You might have a dream landscape in mind, but before you start digging and plotting, there are a few things to consider. When you begin a project, one of the first constraints you have to work within is a budget. Especially small budgets mean you need to get clever in terms of materials—and maintenance costs. A design outfitted with several seating areas, fire pits, pergolas, and sprawling gardens is going to be substantially more costly than wide-open lawns. Considering cost every step of the way will force you to prioritize the goals of the project and better plan for features to include.

In relation to cost is function. How will this space be used? Does it need to be fit for large crowds, heavy foot traffic, vehicular traffic, etc.? The functionality needs of your landscape architecture often dictate where the budget absolutely needs to go. For example, while having an impermeable wax polymer pathway through the project isn’t exactly what you want, it may be what the project needs in to eliminate erosion on a very steep slope while maintaining a natural aesthetic.

You also have to work within your physical boundaries. Small, awkward areas can be complex to not only design, but install. By exploring all the different colors and textures of materials available, even the smallest of landscaping projects can be crafted into functional, beautiful areas that people can enjoy and use. However, keep in mind limitations that may occur during installation. Often times, with some creative problem solving, a quality landscape contractor, and a little extra elbow grease, solutions can be found for the tight areas where heavy equipment access is unlikely.

5 Booming Trends in Landscape Architecture

Xeriscapes (Dry Gardens)

Creating an xeriscape or a dry landscape is an excellent solution in particularly arid climates. When an area receives little to no rain and is subject to drought, consider this as it requires no irrigation. While these have become popular options in dry climates, xeriscapes can be created anywhere water conservation or minimal maintenance is desired or required. Planning dry gardens means taking into account how the sun reaches your project so you can appropriately plan where you would want to plant shade-producing trees or shrubs and where you’d plant grasses or succulents.

Low-water-use plants in conjunction with an appropriate base, such as a decomposed aggregate, make for a water-conscious landscape design that can provide ample space for gathering, walking around, and more.

Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix - Akron Art Museum - Akron, OH

Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix – Akron Art Museum – Akron, OH

Using Native Plants

One sure-fire way to have your landscape design blend into its surroundings is to use plants and flora that are indigenous to the area. It would be awkward to include a variety of palms in the heart of Wisconsin, so plan accordingly. Successfully incorporating native plants, though, requires a bit of research. Discover what plants thrive in the area, as well as call that space home, by garnering inspiration from nearby forests or nature preserves.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is exactly what it sounds like: Collecting rainwater in wells or barrels for reuse in lieu of letting it run off. Developing the right system to collect rainwater is a process that may need additional assistance. You could create very simple systems, e.g., rain barrels under downspouts, and more complex ones that include sunken reservoirs and more complicated withdrawal techniques. Harvested rainwater is ideal for watering gardens, irrigation, and groundwater recharge.This trend is booming especially in urban landscapes.

90% Starlight Black, 5% Salt & Pepper, 5% Snow White Custom Stabilized Pathway - American Greetings Headquarters - Westlake, OH

90% Starlight Black, 5% Salt & Pepper, 5% Snow White Custom Stabilized Pathway – American Greetings Headquarters – Westlake, OH

Gathering Areas

Don’t let your landscaping architecture go unnoticed. Let your beautiful space be observed and appreciated while being used to maximum capacity by creating inviting gathering areas. Especially if your project includes an open expanse of space that’s begging to be filled, a popular trend is to fill that space with areas to congregate, sit and meet with one another. Maybe it’s the perfect spot for employees to eat their lunches or for passersby to take their next phone call. It could be a gorgeous midway point for people to take a quick break when heading from point A to B.

Your gathering area may be anchored by precast concrete benches, low-lying flower beds, fire pits, or more. If your budget and space allows gathering to be a possibility, the opportunities are endless.

Efficient Irrigation

While not as outwardly trendy as a sleek and custom precast concrete planters and benches, efficient irrigation is a landscaping trend that’s hard to ignore. An irrigation system is simply one that waters your landscaping at regular intervals. Efficient irrigation systems will only provide plants, trees, and shrubs with water when and where they need it. It’s also important to have rain sensors so that your irrigation system won’t kick in before, during, or after rainfall. Efficient irrigation is a way to conserve water as well as ensure you won’t have to worry about flooding from over-watering in the future.

Get Started on Your Next Landscaping Project

So, what will your next landscaping project shape up to be? These trends aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so utilizing these tips now will put your project in the limelight for years to come. If you’re a landscape architect searching for the right aggregate, pathway material, or decorative stonefor your next project, call or chat with us today.

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

How to Use Your Landscaping to Manage Water

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

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.

Furthermore, an incredible amount of water is used for the outdoors, especially in regions that experience droughts or very hot, drier seasons. The amount of water used to preserve landscapes is staggering. For example, in North Carolina the average amount of water used for the outdoors is 20–30 percent of a facility’s total water use annually. For environments that have notoriously hotter weather, this water consumption for the sake of lush lawns could be even higher.

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.

  1. What is the natural habitat of the area?
  2. What are some native plants and animals currently residing on or nearby the project?
  3. What will the pedestrian or vehicular traffic be like once completed? Is this a recreational area?
  4. Will I need automatic irrigation systems?
  5. How will I create a suitable hydrozone for the space?
  6. What type of ground cover should I be utilizing?
Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

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!

Rustic Granite Stabilized Pathway - Downtown East Commons - U.S. Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN

A Short Guide to What You Need to Know about Decomposed Granite

While decomposed granite (DG) might not be on your radar, it’s a common material you 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 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 forming 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.

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 all 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, vibrant reds, browns, and golds are most prominent. Other regions may be known for their tans or greys. 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 50 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 it’s applications take on a multitude of uses. Despite its name, decomposed granite is still very strong. In fact, DG is harder than marble and the unique composition allows it to compact firmly for patios, ballparks, driveways, pathways and landscapes, or more high-traffic applications such as roads, while yet maintaining drainage characteristics not found in most other hardscape surfaces.

Caramel Quartzite Stabilized Pathway - Grande Cheese Headquarters & Research Center - Fond du Lac, WI

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, kiln slag, copper slag, firebrick, and more. Thanks to the care we give 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 standard DG just isn’t right for your project. You may need 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

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 overtime, 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 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.

When you get in touch directly with Kafka, you’ll be able to speak with one of our crushed granite 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.

Caramel Quartzite Stabilized Pathway - Grande Cheese Headquarters & Research Center - Fond du Lac, WI

How Much Aggregate Do I Need for My Pathway?

When starting any new pathway project, one of the first steps when assessing your construction needs is calculating how much decomposed granite aggregate you will need to complete your project. As a landscape architect or contractor, knowing exactly how much to specify or order is somewhat of an art. If you order far too much aggregate surplus, you could have just wasted part of your budget that could’ve been put elsewhere. Estimate too little, and you’ll endure the burden and costs of shipping what little amount of material you need to complete the pathway, on top of delays on the jobsite.

With our experienced team members and innovative online tools, Kafka Granite is here to help you through the entire ordering process. Our experts can help you determine how much decomposed granite you’ll need in tons depending on the purpose of your pathway, or you can utilize our easy-to-use coverage calculator to help you find an accurate estimate according to your measurements.

Factors to Consider When Planning A Pathway

Pathway Cross Section

Standard & Stabilized Pathway                                       Cross-Section Diagram

When planning for a pathway project, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. Whether it’s color or permeability, decomposed granite aggregate pathways have quite a few variables that need to be figured out before investing in the material.

How Deep Should Your Pathway Be?

This is one of the main determinants for how much material you should use. Measurements you need to know before ordering pathway materials include the path’s length, width, and depth. While you may already know its projected length and width, which will help you determine its area in square feet, do you know how deep your pathway should be? Kafka recommends going no shallower  2″ compacted for wax polymer pedestrian pathways and 3″ compacted for standard or stabilized pedestrian pathways.

2” Deep: A 2-inch depth is only suitable for a pedestrian-traffic pathway using wax polymer pathway mix. It is not recommended to intall any standard or stabilized pathway at a 2-inch depth.

3” Deep: A 3-inch depth is necessary to create a standard or stabilized pathway suitable for pedestrian traffic. A 3-inch depth is also required to withstand vehicular traffic using wax polymer pathway mix.

4” Deep: A 4-inch depth should be used for standard or stabilized pathways that will sustain heavier traffic weight. If vehicles will use your standard or stabilized pathway, plan for this depth.

Kafka Granite most commonly sells decomposed granite aggregate by the ton. This calculator will help you determine how many tons of DG is right for your project. Simply input the square footage of your crushed stone path and discover an estimate for how much you need based on the pathway’s depth.

The most cost effective way to order pathway material is in bulk truckload quantities. If ordering in bulk doesn’t work for you, we can also ship the product in 3000-lb. supersacks. For any of our pathway color or mix options, the DG is crushed and screened to a 1/4” minus size, which always allows for a firm surface that compacts well. Each pathway material including standard, stabilized, and wax polymer mixes utilize their own sizing specifications. Architectural specifications can be found below:

Three Pathway Mixes to Choose From

In addition to the depth of your pathway, you should consider what mix of aggregate your project would benefit from the most. Kafka offers three DG pathway mix options: standard, stabilized, or wax polymer.

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material – Metropolitan Correctional Center – Chicago, IL

Standard Pathway Mix: Durable, beautiful, natural and environmentally friendly—it’s hard to beat the value of standard DG pathway mix. With a specific size of ¼” minus with fines, our standard mix is the ideal size for perfect compaction while still allowing water to permeate and recharge the earth below. Choose this option if your pathway will be serving as a low-traffic walkway, nature path or rustic garden trail.

 

 

 

 

Rustic Granite Stabilized Pathway - Downtown East Commons - U.S. Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN

Rustic Granite Stabilized Pathway – Downtown East Commons – U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN

Stabilized Pathway Mix: The core of our stabilized pathway mix is a similar mix design as the aforementioned standard mix, but a stabilizing binder is preblended to the DG. We have different stabilizers available depending on factors such as your pathway’s climate, slope, use, etc. Stabilized pathway mix is more durable than standard mix as it resists the erosive effects of weather and traffic better—all while retaining its environmentally friendly permeability.

 

 

 

 

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway – Erin Hills Golf Course – Hartford, WI – Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Wax Polymer Pathway Mix: The toughest of pathway mixes, wax polymer pathway mix combines crushed stone with engineered polymers. Wax polymer pathways require no water during installation. When looking for a dustless, sealed, non-permeable pathway material that looks far more natural than asphalt or concrete, this wax polymer pathway mix may be just what you’re looking for. Consider this option if your pathway is going to be in a particularly well-traveled area since it simply doesn’t get muddy—no matter the rainfall. Wax polymer is incredibly strong and durable, meaning it can stand up to the heaviest foot traffic.

 

 

 

What Color Works with Your Design

Lastly, consider the color of crushed stone that would go best with the pathway’s surroundings. Kafka offers nearly 50 colors of crushed stone and recycled materials, so you aren’t restricted to only a few common colors. Make your pathway pop or blend in; modern or rustic. The choice is up to you.

Find Out What You Need to Get the Job Done

Your project is important, so making sure every checkpoint along the way goes as planned, including ordering the right amount of material, is crucial. By simply plugging in the square footage of your pathway, you’ll be able to create an estimate for how much material to order using our calculator above. This crushed stone pathway coverage calculator can help you determine your budget and overall needs. Assess what type of traffic your pathway will endure, determine what pathway mix will work best for your project, pick just the right color and there you have it—the perfect decomposed granite pathway mix for your project. Contact us today and let’s start building.

Wheelchair Accessible Pathway

Kafka Granite’s Guide to Wheelchair-Accessible Pathway Materials

Every year we help hundreds of clients create stunning outdoor spaces. From ballparks to city parks, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the areas that we assist in creating, that’s why offering commercial wheelchair accessible materials is so important to us.

Providing accessible pathways is a federally mandated priority for all designers and architects. In 2010, the Department of Justice published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. These regulations set minimum requirements for newly designed and constructed State and local government facilities, public accommodations and commercial facilities.

Firmness, Stability, and Slip Resistance In Wheelchair Accessible Walkways

Under the 2010 ADA regulations, accessible outdoor flooring and ground surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip-resistant. The ADA regulations define a stable surface as something that resists movement, while a firm surface is something that resists deformation by applied force, and an accessible surface is something that remains unchanged by external forces, objects or materials.

Exceptions to the ADA Regulations:

  • Animal Containment Areas
  • Areas for Sports Activities
    • This does not imply that sports arenas and sport viewing areas do not need to meet the ADA standards, this exception only refers to the physical area when the sport shall be played. An example would be a football stadium. The stadium itself must have accessible entrances and accommodations, but the actual field does not need to exhibit these traits.

Wheelchair Accessible Pathway Specifications

To be classified as an accessible route, pathways must meet or contain one or more of the following requirements and attributes:

  • A running slope no steeper than 1:20
    • The cross slope of walking surfaces can not be steeper than 1:48.
    • Changes in level with a maximum of ¼ inch are permitted to be vertical.
    • Changes in level between ¼ inch and ½ inch need to be beveled with a slope not steeper than 1:20.
    • Changes in level greater than ½ inch must be ramped.
  • Doorways that provide a clear width of 32 inches
  • Curb ramps excluding flared sides
  • Elevators with accessible features
  • Platform lifts

The width of your pathway must be at least 36 inches; you are allowed to narrow your walkways to 32 inches wide for a length of 24 inches every 48 inches. An example would be if you wished to have planters that protrude onto your pathway, those planters can only stick out 4 inches onto the pathway and they must be spaced 48 inches apart.

Two additional features your pathways must contain are passing space and turning space. An accessible route with a width less than 60 inches must provide passing spaces at intervals of 200 feet. Additionally, if your pathway contains any 180º turns, your turning space must be either 48 inches, or 60 inches, depending on the width of the pathway.

pathway diagram

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself after you have finished designing your structure’s new accessible pathways.

  1. Is there a route available that does not include stairs?
  2. Is that route firm and slip resistant?
  3. Are your pathways at least 36 inches wide?
  4. Can all objects that protrude onto the pathway be detected from the vantage point of someone in a wheelchair or by someone with a visual impairment?
  5. If your walkway is lined by curbs or raised edging does that edging drop off at entrances and exits on the path?
  6. If ramps are present is their slope less than 1:20?
  7. Do ramps that are longer than 6 feet have railings on both sides?
  8. Are any railings present sturdy and between 34-68 inches high?
  9. Are all public spaces on an accessible route?
  10. Is there a 5-foot circle or a T-shaped space for a person using a wheelchair to reverse direction?
  11. Are all signs mounted with their centerline 60 inches from the floor?
  12. If there are restrooms available on the property is at least one restroom fully accessible?

Kafka Granite Commercial Wheelchair Accessibility Materials

Common materials for wheelchair accessibility include asphalt and concrete. However, what happens when a natural look and feel is desired but wheelchair accessibility is required? Kafka Granite has a solution with their stabilized pathway mix.

Decomposed Granite as an Asphalt Alternative

Botticino Marble Stabilized Pathway - Midwest Palliative & Hospice - Glenview, IL

Botticino Marble Stabilized Pathway – Midwest Palliative & Hospice – Glenview, IL

Stabilized decomposed granite pathways are an excellent alternative to asphalt and concrete pathways. Not only does decomposed granite traditionally cost less than asphalt and concrete over the span of its lifetime due to its limited maintenance, but our Stabilized Pathway Mix made with Organic-Lock has been tested for ADA accessibility and has met the maneuverability performance requirements of ASTM F 1951-09b.

Kafka Granite is an industry leader in natural pathway products. Our stabilized pathway mix is comprised of decomposed granite or crushed stone screenings crushed to spec and blended with a stabilizing binder called Organic-Lock. This combination binds and locks the pathway mix to provide a durable, permeable, and natural aggregate surface. Kafka Granite’s Stabilized Pathway Mix resists the erosive effects of weather and traffic better than traditional gravels or limestone screenings, and when installed correctly, can qualify as an ADA accessible pathway surface. With a natural look that is much less obtrusive than concrete or asphalt, our stabilized pathway mix blends in well in natural settings, making it an attractive option for use in botanical gardens, green roofs, nature paths, greenways, golf course cart paths, trails, or any environment where a more organic feel is desired.

Kafka Granite offers Stabilized Pathway Mix in over 50 colors. The pathways are easy to install, require little maintenance and offer various edging options such as pavers, concrete, sod, natural grasses, or wood chips.

Stabilized Pathway Installation Instructions

  1. Prepare the subgrade and spread the base course material to the approved depth and compact with a 1-3 ton roller. Allow for 20-25% compaction. A crushed, angular road base such as a ¾” minus is an optimal base material. For pedestrian applications, base should be 4-6 inches compacted; for vehicular applications, base should be 8-12 inches compacted. To assist in the bonding of materials, pre-soak the base course before placement of the stabilized pathway mix.
  2. Pre-hydrate the stabilized pathway mix at the job site — this activates the stabilizing binder. Turn the pathway mix until a moisture level of 10-12% has been reached. If you can easily make a ball out of the aggregate with your hands, there is too much moisture.
  3. The stabilized pathway mix must be spread and compacted. Screed if possible. For large installations, using a paving machine for this step is highly recommended to ensure the material is evenly spread at the specified depth.
  4. Compact the stabilized pathway mix using a 1-3 ton double drum or single static drum roller. Do not use a vibratory plate compactor or vibratory setting for this step. When no further visible roller marks can be seen on the surface, compaction of the pathway is complete.
  5. Ensure the pathway is level. The pathway should rest true to elevation and shouldn’t vary more than ¼” at any spot when tested with a straightedge. The surfaces should be crowned at a minimum of 2% and be flush with adjacent materials or edges. The pathway should also be sloped at least 1% to drain away from structures.
  6. After the pathway has been compacted and leveled, apply a light spray to the surface to give it a clean appearance. Once the water begins to run off the surface, stop spraying the pathway.
  7. Once the surface of the pathway has visually dried, light pedestrian traffic can take place on the new surface. However, the stabilized DG pathway should fully cure before vehicle traffic is allowed. Depending on the path’s moisture content, time of installation, climate and depth of installation, curing times vary.

Creating Accessible Pathways for All

Make your outdoor pathways accessible to all with Kafka Granite. Our experienced team of experts is here to help ensure that every visitor will be able to thoroughly enjoy your next outdoor pathway project. Our stabilized pathway mixes are perfect for both green spaces and commercial locations alike. Let us help you make your next pathway project accessible to all.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Erin Hills Golf Course: A Kafka Case Study

Just over two hours away from Kafka headquarters in nearby Hartford, Wisconsin, sits a beautiful picturesque golf course. Carved from glacier movement thousands of years ago, Erin Hills is a golf venue that cannot be rivaled by many. The 652-acre course still maintains some of the streams that were carved by the last glacier to cover Wisconsin, and it offers visitors exquisite vistas composed of rolling hills and swaying grasses.

Erin Hills is so breathtaking that it has been chosen to play host to the 2017 U.S. Open. The 2017 U.S. Open will host 156 players from all over the world. With so many players coming to the course to play along it’s stunning route, Erin Hills decided to replace their existing walk paths with new highly durable paths that could withstand the harsh Wisconsin winters and the course’s hilly terrain.

Kafka Granite was called in to replace Erin Hills’s highly erosive existing pathway system and replace it with a custom blended aggregate color of both stabilized and wax polymers pathways. With a long history of working with various aggregate binders for these purposes, we at Kafka Granite felt confident that we could deliver a pathway system that would complement the natural beauty of Erin Hills and reduce the maintenance for their grounds crew.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

WHEN: Fall of 2012 to Spring of 2017

WHERE: Erin Hills Golf Course, 652 acres of property in Hartford, Wisconsin.

WHY: Erin Hills desired natural looking cart and walking paths that blended in with the course, but there were issues with erosion due to the hilly terrain. Their grounds crew was spending far too much time maintaining their walking paths when their valuable time could have been spent maintaining the course. Refusing to settle for obtrusive hardscapes such as asphalt or concrete, they opted for a natural aggregate path blended with wax polymer thanks to Kafka Granite. On flatter terrain, they chose to combine their aggregate with a stabilizing binder. With the first ever U.S. Open to come to Wisconsin to be hosted at their course in 2017, pressure was on to update all of the walking paths with Kafka Granite materials before the June 2017 event.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

WHO: Our product is designed to be simple to install and maintain, so for this project the Erin Hills ground crew was able to install their new pathway system themselves.

WHAT: Erin Hills decided to use both stabilized and wax polymers pathways. Our stabilized pathway mix consists of decomposed granite or crushed stone screenings blended with a stabilizing binder. This mixture binds and locks the pathway mix to create a durable, permeable natural aggregate surface. Our stabilized decomposed granite surfaces are crafted to better withstand forces that would otherwise lead to erosion, which was the issue with the previous pathway mix that Erin Hills had been using.

Our wax polymer pathway mix combines natural crushed stone screenings or decomposed granite carefully pre-blended with an engineered polymeric wax in an entirely waterless process to create a unique paving alternative. This wax coated aggregate mix creates a dustless, sealed, non-permeable, but yet natural-looking surface that is perfect for use on a golf course as it can stand up to extensive wear and tear and the hilliest of terrain.

Erin Hills was looking for a natural solution that would blend in perfectly with their gorgeous scenery. At Kafka Granite, we offer over 50 different colors of pathway solutions. It was no problem to create a specialized blend for the Erin Hills golf course walking paths that was a perfect color match for what they had envisioned. 

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

HOW: One hurdle that we had to overcome while working on the Erin Hills project was finding the correct binder for the pathway mixes. We choose our binders based on local climate, pathway slope and individual aggregate type. With a property as large as Erin Hills, our dedicated team members worked hard to derive the proper binders needed. During this process our team was able to devise and implement a brand new wax polymer binder that was cleaner and performed better than the planned original binder.

Custom Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI

Joe Sell (North Shore Superintendent), Chris Zugel (Whistling Straits Superintendent), Glenn Kafka (Kafka Granite Owner), and Zach Reineking (Erin Hills Superintendent) during installation at Erin Hills

The wax polymer pathway mixes present much less of a challenge as our wax polymer pathway is pre-blended for easy installation and maintenance. No water is needed for the installation of this product. Crews chose not to compact the new pathways with a one to two ton roller. Since Erin Hills desired a more natural looking pathway system, it was decided to let foot traffic compact the new pathways naturally. Wax polymer pathways were a great alternative for the Erin Hills project because these pathways do not get muddy or dusty like more traditional walkway options. This will help keep all golfers and observers dry and clean during the U.S. Open and will make the pathways ideal for local golfers all season long. Additionally, the Erin Hills grounds crew will no longer be spending large amounts of time maintaining the pathways and will now be able to focus on the course itself. Our wax polymer pathways are easy to maintain and can be easily manipulated if subtle changes are needed. These new pathways won’t have a problem standing up to the harsh freeze/thaw cycles that the course is subjected to in Wisconsin due to their nonpermable composition.

The stabilized pathways used at Erin Hills were chosen for their affordability, permeability, and design. With 50 different color variations, Kafka Granite was able to duplicate the custom aggregate blend already used for the wax polymer pathways that allowed for a seamless transition into the stabilized pathways. The stabilized pathways were used in flatter areas of the course, as the use of Stabilized Pathway Mix is not recommended on slopes over 10%. Kafka Granite stabilized pathways are made to withstand heavy foot traffic, reduce mud, dust, and erosion, while still remaining permeable. Following installation recommendations, Erin Hills installed 3 inches of prehydrated stabilized pathway mixture over a DOT approved base course for proper stability and drainage.

Kafka Granite’s stabilized pathways are a more affordable option than Wax Polymer Pathways, which helped Erin Hills to conserve costs. Because of its affordability and versatility, Erin Hills utilized our unique stabilized pathway mix whenever the more durable wax polymer mix was unneeded. Through a combination of both wax polymer and stabilized pathways a truly remarkable pathway system was created.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Instead of going with a high-maintenance, easily eroded option, Kafka Granite helped Erin Hills find the perfect pathway mixture for their one-of-a-kind golf course. Thanks to the hard work performed by our team in conjunction with the groundskeepers from the Erin Hills golf course, these new walkways can be enjoyed by all for years to come. Zachary Reineking, Director of Course Maintenance for Erin Hills had this to say about their new pathways at the end of this project,  “Over the years Erin Hills has tried an array of products for our undulating walk paths. The wax polymer and stabilized crushed granite from Kafka Granite provides a superior combination of ease of installation, durability, limited maintenance, and great aesthetics.”

With over 60 colors of specialty crushed aggregates for manufacturing, architecture and landscaping available, we are able to create customs products that will perfectly reflect your design vision. Our knowledgeable sales representatives are eager to help you find the ideal Kafka Granite solution for your next project.

Rustic Granite Stabilized Pathway - Downtown East Commons - U.S. Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN

Great Landscaping Ideas: Different Ways to Edge Your Decomposed Granite Paths

When it comes to your landscaping, the possibilities run as far as your imagination can. Whether you’re planning an entire landscaping overhaul or simply want to improve upon existing landscaping architecture, Kafka Granite can help with inspiration and the ideal landscaping materials for your project. One of our specialties is our broad variety of pathway materials. When creating a decomposed granite pathway, choosing your color, binder, width, and route are only a few things to consider. Another element that will affect the overall look of your pathway is the edging. Luckily, there are several different viable options available. From blending into the natural surroundings to creating clean, crisp lines, choosing the proper edging for your project will help keep your pathway design looking sharp for years to come.

Why would you want edging for your pathway?

There are many reasons why edging your pathway is not just an additional design element, but is actually a very functional feature. Aesthetically, edging your decomposed granite pathway will give it some more structure. Edging enables your pathway to have a precise look instead of a more natural finish. If you have an especially winding pathway, edging provides a crisper curve, especially when using a metal edging.

While edging will help your pathway’s structure look precise, it will also help keep everything in place. When you construct a decomposed granite pathway, although compacted, the top layer of stone is meant to be a loose, natural layer. Some of the loose aggregate may migrate with heavy foot traffic or natural causes such as wind and rain. While some are okay with this natural migration, others but may want to prevent the loose top layer of pathway material from shifting to the surrounding landscape.

That’s the beauty in edging options – whether a nature path through a forest or a well manicured courtyard, your edging can play a significant role in the design to take your path from natural to sophisticated, or anywhere in between, depending on your client’s preferences.

Beige Blend Marble Wax Polymer Pathway - Deer Grove Forest Preserve - Palatine, IL

Beige Blend Marble Wax Polymer Pathway with Natural Edging – Deer Grove Forest Preserve – Palatine, IL

Natural Edging

Natural edging is a good choice when your landscape design calls for a rustic solution. While there isn’t a definitive barrier between the pathway material and the surrounding area, keeping a natural edge with clear delineation between the pathway and its surroundings is possible. Considering your surroundings is important for a natural edge: A wooded surrounding may be more fitting for this edge since it won’t matter as much if some material scatters.

Pewter Granite Stabilized Pathway - Walgreens Corporate Headquarters - Deerfield, IL

Pewter Granite Stabilized Pathway with Sod Edging- Walgreens Corporate Headquarters – Deerfield, IL

Grass Sod Edging

Using grass sod as your pathway’s edging material is a popular option if your goal is to maintain a natural look, but want the path surrounded by a manicured lawn. It’s a great looking edging alternative that butts pathways right up to the grass.

Wisconsin Granite Boulders - Max McGraw Wildlife Reserve - Dundee, IL

Midnight Blue Stabilized Pathway with Wisconsin Granite Boulder Edging – Max McGraw Wildlife Reserve – Dundee, IL

Cobble/Stone Edging

When you’re looking to strike the perfect balance between structure and nature, Kafka’s cobbles could be your ideal solution. Available from smaller sized solutions, 3- to 6-inch cobbles, to large boulders, you have a variety of options to suit the needs and scale of your pathway. If your project is being built into a natural environment—a pathway through a park, a woodsy clearing, or other natural terrain—using cobbles as edging could be just the right transition from pathway to nature’s surroundings while keeping people on the right track. The mix of materials also creates visual interest. If looking to create more of a barrier between pathway and surroundings, consider larger boulders. They will create a clear demarcation of the pathway while appearing less obtrusive and restrictive than a fence would, for example.

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway with Paver Edging – Metropolitan Correctional Center – Chicago, IL

Paver Edging

These manufactured concrete pavers are built to connect with one another so that installation is relatively easy and foolproof. Depending on the product you choose, this landscape edging option can be a great budget friendly option, or offer a high-end decorative finish. While manufactured pavers add a great texture and natural feel to a space, it isn’t as rustic as natural granite cobbles. These stones are also a more substantial and durable option to cheap plastic edging. Be aware that bricks and pavers are not all made equally – and both the decorative finish and durability will be reflected in the quality of product used. If you’re hoping to maintain the curvature and cleanliness of your pathway with a neat stone solution, pavers could be the best choice for you.

Caramel Quartzite Stabilized Pathway - Grande Cheese Headquarters & Research Center - Fond du Lac, WI

Caramel Quartzite Stabilized Pathway with Metal Edging – Grande Cheese Headquarters & Research Center – Fond du Lac, WI

Metal Edging

When your landscape architecture calls for crisp, precise lines and superior aggregate control, metal edging may be your best option. Typically either steel or aluminum, metal edging will hold its shape and its versatility enables you to create any radius you need when it comes to garden beds or pathway curvature. With its strength, metal edging won’t crack in the cold, shift with maintenance, or erode over time.

How to Find the Perfect Pathway Edging for You

Before starting your pathway project, figure out how much edging you’ll need. And as always, consider your budget and desired finish.

If you want the desired aesthetic that natural granite cobbles bring to a landscaping project, chat with Kafka Granite today. When it comes to landscape architecture and creating a natural sidewalk, courtyard, or natural trail to your environment, our variety of pathway solutions may be just what you’re looking for. We can send free samples as well as help you determine how much product is necessary for your area.

Think beyond color, binder, width, and route. The often overlooked detail in pathway edging is worth considering to put the perfect finishing touch on your next pathway project.

Chocolate Brown Granite Stabilized Pathway - Private Residence, WI - Installed by Lakeshores Landscape and Design

4 Reasons to Invest in Landscape Design

The space outside your home often takes up more square footage than the area inside your home, and it’s what most people first notice. No matter if you are in charge of maintaining an office building, a college campus or even your own home sweet home, making sure its landscape is well-designed can make a great and lasting first impression.

Creating a cohesive, unique and aesthetically pleasing landscape through a variety of flowers, plants, pathways and strategically placed water features or boulders could be exactly what you need to up your curb appeal. You can do-it-yourself, but we promise seeking out the help of a professional is well worth the investment. Here are four reasons why:

Ochre XL Rock Panels by Norstone

Ochre XL Rock Panels by Norstone featured in an Minneapolis Outdoor Kitchen

1. Create the Best Outdoor Living Space

When it comes to your home, living doesn’t have to be restricted to indoor areas. In 2016, one of the most desired features for a home to have includes prime outdoor gathering areas. Creating a functional living space isn’t simply adding a patio set and a few potted plants, though. To truly add value and create an ambient space, you may need an expert’s touch. Landscape architects or designers can masterfully curate the right materials, features, plants and furniture to make your outdoor living space not only incredibly functional, but also seamlessly integrated into the rest of your property as a whole.

Perhaps you want a great place to warm up by a fire in colder Midwestern weather. Creating a designated area to sit back and roast a marshmallow or have great conversations with family can be done through a thoughtfully integrated decomposed granite patio surrounding a stone or metal fire pit. Forget the chairs—dot the fire pit surrounding with natural granite boulders to create an outdoor living space that truly integrates with its natural surroundings. By crafting a hub for family and friends to gather outside will add immense appeal and usefulness to all parts of your home.

Midnight Blue Granite Decorative Rip Rap - Private Residence, WI

Midnight Blue Decorative Rip Rap creates stunning curb appeal at this Wisconsin home.

2. Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Most people feel better about going into a home that looks inviting on the outside instead of one that looks rundown or unkempt—this is where professional landscaping proves its value. If you are looking to sell your home, exact return on investment numbers vary as some people report a 20 percent increase in home value up to a 150 percent increase in value. It depends how much you can spend on your landscaping.

Kafka Granite has the landscape materials to add the perfect aesthetic to your space. From decomposed granite in nearly 60 colors to naturally round multi-colored boulders, we can supply the unique materials needed to put your yard ahead of the rest. Selecting the right landscape stone for your garden could be just the right feature to complement your home. With cleverly designed landscaping, including the right materials, textures and colors, your home could be the talk of the block.

Chocolate Brown Standard Pathway - Private Residence, WI

Chocolate Brown Standard Pathway Mix was a great solution for a permeable patio at this Wisconsin Lakehome. 

3. Help the Environment

When done properly, a great landscape design can also contribute to the environment. If you’re an eco-conscious person, look into a landscape architect who has specific know-how in how to make your landscape not only look great, but function better for the environment. Natural cobble retaining walls could help stave off erosion, which could stop urban soil from getting into nearby waterways.

Creating shaded areas also contributes to diminishing the urban heat island effect by helping lower temperatures in and around cities. And by considering how permeable your groundcover is, you could contribute to groundwater recharge and stormwater control. If you design a patio, driveway or walkway made from materials that offer little to no permeability, you could be harming groundwater recharge and stormwater control as the water has no opportunity to absorb into the earth—instead it runs into storm drains, which in large volumes causes flooding and pollution. If you choose to landscape with a permeable material, such as standard decomposed granite aggregate or landscaping stone, you’ll help rainwater or melting snow get right back to where it belongs; in the soil.

If you’re unsure how to create an outdoor space that functions well and looks beautiful, get in touch with your local landscape architect or nursery to start searching for eco-friendly solutions like these.

Wisconsin Granite Boulders - Private Residence, IL

A suburban Chicago residence created a tranquil water feature with Wisconsin Granite Boulders.

4. Add Peace in a Hectic City

Lastly, one of the more important aspects to having a landscaped yard, you could add much-needed tranquility. Especially if you live in or around a buzzing metro, creating a livable and peaceful landscape in your own backyard, office courtyard, etc., could be exactly what you need to clear your head. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can improve mood and memory in city-dwellers. Too much stimulation, the standard for your busy city, can weaken some of the mind’s functions.

If you take the time and consideration to create quiet spaces outdoors, in a natural environment, you can help make your yard more useful than ever. Block out the noise of the city and enjoy the outdoors!

Kafka Granite Can Help Create Your Great Landscape

If ever you’ve doubted the power of landscape architecture and design, these four reasons should have you considering its investment, environmental and aesthetic appeal. Kafka Granite supplies the cobbles, permeable pathway mix, landscaping stone, and thin-stone veneer you need to create an inviting and functional landscape that everyone can enjoy. Get in touch today to learn about where your nearest Kafka Granite dealer is, or, if you’re interested in becoming a dealer yourself, simply ask us about our dealer program! Why settle for a few potted plants and a lawn gnome when you could be enjoying beautiful crushed stone patios, winding pathways and natural retaining walls in a yard the neighbors will stop and awe? Make use of your valuable outdoor space now.

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

How to Make a Pathway from Standard Decomposed Granite

Our parks and common spaces can be essential relaxing oases for everybody. Whether you want to craft a beautiful sanctuary clad with meditation fountains or you simply want to improve an existing walking or biking path through a public space, we have the variety you’re looking for in decomposed granite. When it comes time to laying a path down, you want it to be functional, durable and good-looking—the last thing you need is a muddy eyesore cluttering a piece of the great outdoors.

Kafka Granite can help you find exactly what you’ve been searching for. Whether you’re a landscape architect planning your next design or contractor seeking the best in decomposed granite for the project, give us a call today. Pathways made from decomposed granite (DG) are aesthetically beautiful, durable and can be incredibly permeable—all qualities you want in a pathway.

So you’ve been tasked to create or replace a pathway. Once you’ve chosen your vibrant, natural aggregate—which can be the tough part with over 50 different colors to choose from—you might be wondering what to do next. You’ll need your aggregate, water, and a 1-ton double drum roller (minimum) to get the job done. Are you ready?

Starting with a firm base is critical to a successful decomposed granite pathway, as they achieved with the Platinum Stabilized Granite Pathway at the St. Louis Arch.

Starting with a firm base is crucial to a successful decomposed granite pathway, as they achieved with the Platinum Stabilized Granite at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

1. Setting the Base

Laying a gravel path is easier than if you were to make one out of bricks, pavers, or flagstone. A hardscape path can take on more complicated twists and turns that might prove to be too much work when making a cobblestone pathway. Aggregate paths are beautiful and functional—able to endure traffic from pedestrians, bicycles and even vehicles.

First, you should decide where you want your path to be. You can do this simply be drawing a crude sketch of your vision and pathway location or even by staking out the path along your intended route. Once you’ve completed the direction, width and design of your path, you can start with the base. The compacted base depth varies depending on the path’s purpose. Remember, the subgrade should be even and free of debris.

Your local DOT-approved road base is a suitable base material for this application. Evenly spread this base layer at a depth of roughly four to six inches (four inches for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, six inches for vehicular traffic), water until damp, and roll with a 1-ton double drum roller until compacted to 95 percent. Hand tampers are acceptable for extremely tight spaces and nooks, but it is always recommended to use a 1-ton (minimum) double drum roller for the majority of a path’s surface to achieve proper compaction. The path’s base layer is essential to compaction and drainage, and it serves as the foundation for the path itself. Creating a solid base is crucial to the success of your pathway.

Note: You can opt to lay down a weed barrier or filter fabric over this bottom layer. Landscaping fabric is made up of tightly woven plastic fibers and can greatly diminish weeds from growing sporadically through your pathway.

 

Shamrock Green Granite Stabilized Pathway - Oakbrook Center - Oakbrook, IL

Oakbrook Center in Oakbrook, IL utilized both metal edging and sod for their Shamrock Green Stabilized Pathway.

2. Edging Your Path

Another step to consider is edging. If you’re worried that decomposed granite will stray from the path upon completion and leak into the surrounding grass, edging might be the right choice for you. However, if your path is cutting through more organic arenas, such as gardens or forests, you might not be too concerned about keeping your granite within boundaries and this step can be skipped.

Galvanized steel, pressure-treated wood, cobblestones, bricks, or plastic edging are all viable options for your pathway edges. Each type of edging has its own benefits and pitfalls, and your choice could ultimately come down to cost and aesthetic. Set the edging in place after you’ve compacted your base layer and added your optional landscaping fabric. Remember that when you spread your top layer of DG, you can have the top edge of your chosen border sit one ½ inch above the top of your DG layer so not to overflow or lose some of your gravel. You can also choose to fill your pathway until the DG is flush with the top of your edging. The aesthetic and functionality of your pathway is completely up to you and your desired outcome.

Salt & Pepper Granite Stabilized Pathway - Toro Headquarters - Bloomington, IL

A 1-2 ton double-drum roller is always recommended for optimum compaction, as they used on this Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway at the Toro Headquarters in Bloomington, MN

3. Add Your Standard Decomposed Granite

Finally, add your decomposed granite gravel. Using a steel rake or heavier machinery, evenly spread your top layer throughout the entire pathway. If using an optional edging, be careful not to overflow or damage your edging. Once your DG is evenly spread, compact to 95 percent with a 1-2 ton double-drum roller, resulting in a minimum of 3 inches for pedestrian traffic and 4 inches for vehicular traffic. Multiple lifts may be required. If installing at a depth greater than 3 inches, it is recommended to install in 2–3-inch increments. Once spread and compacted to required depth and compaction, water until the pathway is damp, but refrain from making it muddy. Watering the pathway will help the rock dust settle to the bottom and allow the beautiful kernels of stone to come to the surface.

If you’re using a stabilized or wax polymer decomposed granite for your pathway, watering happens at different stages in the process or not at all. Stabilized pathways need the binder to be water-activated, so is recommended to pre-hydrate the aggregate before laying the path and compacting it in order to achieve consistent moisture content. In contrast, wax polymer pathways don’t need any watering at all as they’re made to shed water. Refer to these installation guides if you’re not using a standard decomposed granite as your pathway material:

Stabilized DG Pathways
Wax Polymer DG Pathways

Kafka Granite Is Your Decomposed Granite Headquarters

From curious landscape architect to experienced contractor, Kafka can help you find the perfect decomposed granite product for you. We offer standard, stabilized and wax polymer pathway mixes. These different varieties offer a natural look and feel, no matter where the pathway is located, but with varying levels of added stabilizing binders or engineered polymers. When trying to decide which option would be best for your project, consider how much foot or vehicular traffic your path might need to endure as well as what you need in terms of permeability and erosion control.

For samples or answers to your questions, get in touch with us today. We have the widest decomposed granite color variety in the industry and know how to make a pathway look good. Get started today and complete your pathway project this season!

Stabilized Pathway

Best Pathway Materials for High-Traffic Areas

Best Solution for High-traffic Pathways

It’s no secret that pathways are incredibly useful. They keep your feet out of the mud when you cross over damp gardens or yards, they can help you transport heavy loads without getting stuck and they can guide you through forests or parks with ease. While their functionality may be the main purpose you put in a pathway, don’t forget that they can also be beautiful. They can blend in with your natural surroundings or stand out to make a landscaping design statement. No matter the purpose of your pathway, Kafka Granite can help make it happen.

Kafka Granite has been perfecting aggregates for decades. Our state-of-the-art crushing facility has been outfitting landscaping centers, architects, landscape designers, product manufacturers, and more with nearly 60 different colors of crushed stone and recycled materials for a while now—more than three decades. This know-how has made us well-versed in pathway materials, especially what it takes to create a pathway ideal for high-traffic scenarios. Perhaps you’re searching for a solution to building a path through a mucky woods area, or maybe you want to build a winding and clear route for golf carts to navigate around your course. Whatever you’re searching for, Kafka can help you find the right pathway material for your specific products.

What Pathway Material Is Right for Your Project?

When choosing the right pathway material, there are a few factors you should take into consideration.

Things to Consider for your Pathway

1. Environment
2. Traffic load
3. Cost
4. Design goals

What is the environment you’ll be constructing a pathway in? Is there a pre-existing pathway you need tear out? Are there steep hills? Is it highly erosive? Is permeability important for the surrounding ecology? Or are you trying to create a path through a damp and natural environment like Perkins Woods in Cook County? The type of environment a path is getting placed in will determine how you build the path as well as what type of pathway will work best, e.g., stabilized, wax polymer, etc.

How much traffic will this pathway need to be able to endure? The pathway material you use, as well as the depth the material is installed, will differ depending on if it will only carry foot traffic or a combination of foot and vehicular traffic during its lifetime.

No matter what project you take on, there is a budget in place. Decomposed granite pathways are an excellent alternative to asphalt or cement in terms of cost. While initial costs may not always be lower, pathways made from decomposed granite (DG) won’t endure the same type of damage asphalt or concrete will. Asphalt pathways can dip and sag over time with repetitive wear. Concrete has the tendency to crack as it thaws and freezes in colder climates. Both types of damage require repair and maintenance time and time again. Kafka’s decomposed granite pathways can flex with freeze/thaw cycles and can be easily repaired or freshened up by adding more granite until level, watering, and compacting in place. The cost effectiveness of DG over time is a benefit anyone can appreciate. With a little TLC and no major expenses, decomposed granite pathways will last as long as you want them too.

Lastly, consider your design goals. The aesthetic you want might not be achievable with cold-looking concrete or obtrusive asphalt. Kafka’s pathway materials, on the other hand, have a natural finish and are available in a wide variety of colors. From blacks and browns to whites and greens—our pathway aggregate blends are vibrant or neutral in color, making them suitable for practically any application.

Stabilized Decomposed Granite Pathways

This is a great option for pathways that may endure heavy foot traffic throughout its life. Stabilized DG pathways are crafted from crushed stone, screened to specifications that allow for maximum compaction and drainage, and are mixed with a stabilizing binder. We offer two different binders that are organic, come from renewable sources, and don’t distract from natural environments. Both Organic-Lock and Stabilizer Solutions are pre-blended for easy installation, but to truly decide which may be best for your project, call or send a message to one of our experts today.

Our stabilized pathways are more durable than our standard pathways, which don’t necessitate any sort of stabilizer or binder. Stabilized Pathways retain permeability, unlike concrete or asphalt, and thanks to added binders, they can stand up against erosive weather and foot traffic and remain wheelchair accessible.

Wax Polymer Decomposed Granite Pathways

Unlike stabilized pathways, wax polymer pathways provide dustless, sealed and non-permeable surfaces. This option comes premixed, meaning you just have to place it and compact it—no watering needed. And if you need to tear it up to get to utilities beneath or make major repairs in the future, simply remove, replace, compact, and it will be good to go. For minor repairs or to bring new life to the surface, simply scarify and recompact. Maintenance made simple, that’s what decomposed granite pathways are all about.

Wax polymer pathways are more durable and hardier than stabilized pathways. This material can be used on hilly terrain, steep grades and flat ground. The engineered polymer is incredibly durable, adaptable and dustless, and it will never get muddy or mucky. This pathway material is a popular option for cart trails at golf courses or for plazas, patios, trails, driveways and walkways that expect lots of traffic or have highly erosive areas such as steep slopes. Just like our other pathway materials, though, wax polymer pathways still lend more design to a space than concrete or asphalt and are available in the same versatile color variety.

Decomposed Granite Options for High-Traffic Areas

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of stabilized and wax polymer pathway solutions from Kafka, let’s talk today. Our professionals can answer any questions you may still have about which option is best for your project. We can also send you free samples so you can decide between our broad palette of color options. Whether you’re on the hunt for a vibrant walking trail or a natural yet durable path for golf carts or small vehicles, we have the best decomposed options for your high-traffic pathway.