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

Basic Principles of Commercial Landscape Design

Commercial properties are often large, sprawling expanses that may be the site for a corporate campus, warehouses, office buildings, or more. Despite not being a small or cozy area, expansive commercial landscapes don’t have to remain barren or boring. Kafka Granite is familiar with making large-scale projects look beautiful inviting, as can be seen by our work on the Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, and Loyola University. We understand trying to strike the right balance between creating a good-looking space while maintaining its functionality.

By providing landscaping materials that are both beautiful and incredibly durable, Kafka is able to offer the product you need to make your commercial landscape architecture stand out from walkway to retaining wall. Whether you’re starting with a blank slate or have some pathways or parking lots in place, let us help you with designing your commercial landscape. Not only will we help you to transform or complete your project, but with our green alternatives you can take your project one step closer to obtaining a SITES or LEED certifications.

Combine Form and Function

The very first step to ensuring your commercial landscaping is stunning, and logical, is to make a plan. How extensive or simple this step is may depend on the size of your lot or the scope of your project; the larger the lot or project, the more planning you may have to do. If you’re sure of what your property needs when it comes to the landscape, then you might be able to do this part by yourself. If you’re uncertain about how you want the layout of your landscaping to “flow,” then the eyes of a professional landscape architect may be necessary.

Draw a map of your property and make note of where structures and trees already exist as well as where the sun hits during the day as this could affect where you plant certain types of sun-loving flora. Once permanent items are marked, the next step is to play around with where you envision things like parking lots, outdoor seating, pathways, gardens or courtyards. Remember that pathways and courtyards don’t have to be so linear or square—make sure to test out different curving lines or shapes, and see what feels best. Additionally, consider how you truly want the space to be used. Can you see your staff wanting to sit outdoors for lunch? Do you envision guests walking along an especially scenic part of the lot? Is there a steep grade that would benefit from a retaining wall? By thinking about how the space will be used, you’ll be better able to plan for what you build in it.

This initial phase is also a good time to try and tie your landscape architecture to the design of your building. You can complement the colors or textures of existing structures by using different colors of granite or flowers within your gardens. Create a tentative color palette for your overall design to serve as an inspiration for the rest of your project.

Make a Good First Impression

The landscape architecture of your business is also important in that it can make or break a visitor’s first impression. If your business is one that sees a lot of visitors, who are clients or otherwise, focus on making a good first impression. This means making the entrance a focal point so that it’s easy to find and is welcoming. Establish a clear path from the parking lot to the entryway.

When it comes to essential elements like trash bins outside the entry, consider using tasteful and good-looking alternatives to the plastic garbage can. By using alternatives like a crushed granite decorative precast waste receptacle, you can make garbage go away with an aesthetically pleasing container. What’s more is that decorative precast features can be made using any color of granite to match or complement materials used elsewhere, and they can include outdoor furniture like benches, tables, and more. Kafka Granite for example, offers over 50 different colors of decorative precast aggregates.

 

Choose the Colors and Materials of Your Landscaping Material

Now that you’ve decided what features you need from your landscaping and how you’ll make a welcoming first impression for your guests, it’s time to figure out what materials you’ll want to use to make your plan a reality. Questions to ask yourself to help figure out what materials you’ll need include:

What will your pathways be made of?

Do you prefer cobbles, pavers or decomposed granite? Each material will have a different aesthetic appeal and one may match the look of your building’s architecture more than the others.

What color will your pathways be?

Color is always a tough decision whether you’re painting a wall or choosing an aggregate. Do you want a natural look? Perhaps you want a look where the pathway truly pops? When you come to Kafka Granite for crushed granite walkways, you’ll be met with over 50 color options. With variety like that, you have your pick of neutrals, greens, reds and more.

What kind of traffic will be on your pathways?

Something you may have considered in your planning stage is how your pathways will be used—are you expecting just foot traffic or will there also be bike, golf cart, ATV or light vehicular traffic? By measuring the wear and tear that will be taking place on your paths, you can choose the best material available whether it’s standard, stabilized or wax polymer. We’ve spoken extensively about the difference between these three pathway materials on our blog.

What is your parking lot going to be made of?

Not every parking lot has to be an endless sea of asphalt. Don’t be afraid to incorporate your parking lot into your grand landscaping architecture design. In lieu of asphalt, imagine using permeable paverss with environmentally friendly permeable paver grit.

What surrounds your gardens?

Depending on your landscape architecture, the gardens or foliage in your design may be natural and unenclosed, or they may require a bit more structure from distinct edging and retaining walls. Retaining walls can be made from boulders or more angular decorative rip rap if you’re looking for a unique and beautiful option. And when it comes to your flowerbeds, will you be using decomposed granite landscaping stone or mulch as your base? These options may seem small but they can make all the difference when it comes your project’s end result. 

How much money or time can you put toward maintenance?

If the answer is, “Very little,” then perhaps high-maintenance gardens aren’t the solution for your landscape. Crushed stone-based xeriscapes can are becoming more popular as they require less maintenance and water, and they are a beautiful alternative to thick gardens. Consider this factor when ultimately deciding how much hardscape to incorporate into your design.

Get Started on Your Commercial Landscape Architecture Today

If you’re looking to get started on a commercial landscaping project, make sure you do it right. Coming to Kafka ensures you get the best materials and the best selection on the market to achieve exactly what you envision. Call us today to find a dealer near you or to speak with one of our expert consultants. If you’re a landscaping materials dealer searching for a way to carry a great selection, chat with us to find out about our dealer program. With so many colors and materials to outfit every part of your landscape’s design, you’ll be thrilled you chose Kafka Granite.

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

Healthy Landscaping: Exercise Parks and the History of America’s Parks

In People Places: Design Guidelines for Urban Open Space, Galen Cranz (1982) identified four major periods of development in the American Park System: the pleasure park, the reform park, the recreation facility, and the open space system. The four listed park systems accurately reflect the wants and needs of the American public through the years. Now a new park system has evolved – the exercise park. In an effort to create more healthy landscaping across the country, more and more cities are turning to exercise parks for their public outdoor spaces. Kafka Granite is well-versed in the art of creating parks that excel in both form and feature. Our stone aggregates can be found in many outdoor spaces across the country. From paver grit to pathway materials, Kafka Granite can create custom stone blends that fit any criteria.

Pleasure Parks

Midnight Blue Granite Stabilized Pathway - Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation - Dundee, IL

Midnight Blue Granite Stabilized Pathway – Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation – Dundee, IL

In pleasure parks, aesthetics were of the utmost importance. SPUR defines pleasure parks as a “vast landscape of alternating trees and meadows, undulating hills, slowly meandering waterways, and broad reflecting ponds.” Pleasure parks were meant to be enjoyed at one’s pleasure, usually in the early morning or after a meal. Pleasure parks utilized broad areas of rolling hills and natural beauty while pointedly leaving out some of the most common features we see in today’s parks. For example, pleasure parks rarely included flower beds or sculptures, and they had few to no buildings in the park.

Frederick Law Olmsted was one of the foremost pleasure park designers of the time (1850-1900). Olmsted was said to have believed that the greatest compliment to any city’s urban development was pure wilderness. This belief is responsible for the rolling nature of pleasure parks. Olmsted didn’t want any elements in his parks that would remind people of the city, or look to have been placed there by man. Of course, there were some structures in pleasure parks, such as pergolas and performance areas, but these constructions were made to be light and airy – allowing for shade while still offering an unobstructed view of the surrounding area.

Circulation paths were also a common sight in pleasure parks. Several circulation paths and their subsequent pleasure parks can be seen in paintings by the famous artisans of the time. A beautiful example is Women In The Garden by Claude Monet which he painted in 1866. The scene depicts four women conversing while enjoying some sun on a circulation path in a pleasure park in Paris.

Reform Parks

Wineberry Granite Stabilized Pathway - LaSalle II Magnet School - Chicago, IL - Project Credit: Site Design

Wineberry Granite Stabilized Pathway – LaSalle II Magnet School – Chicago, IL – Project Credit: Site Design

Next up came the reform parks, these parks became popular during the progressive era of the 1900-1930s. It was during this period that urban development was booming. Factories were being constructed, and more families were moving into the city to find work. During this period of construction there seemed to be a few groups of individuals being left unconsidered, one such ground was the children.

It was here in the 1900s that people first started campaigning for playgrounds to be constructed in the city. It was decided that children needed more daily exercise because at the time children only had the opportunity to play when their families went to the country on the weekends. Families wanted more than pleasure parks, they wanted areas for their children to run and play and the current neighborhood parks tended to be flat areas that were only one or two blocks wide. These desolate parks usually only contained straight walking paths and a few benches. The much needed change in the city park landscape was ushered in with the invention of the field house. These new field houses were built into the city parks and contained gyms, showers, meeting rooms, and communal rooms for events.

The new field houses were flanked by playing fields and playgrounds, and the parks themselves underwent a large transformation. No longer was it desirable to have parks look untouched by man, now grass gave way to sand and asphalt, and natural tree groupings gave way to flowerbeds and shade structures. With the evolution of the reform parks came organized sports and activities. Reform parks quickly became an integral part of a neighborhood’s composition.

The Recreation Facility

Ruby Red Stabilized Warning Track Mix - Buffalo Grove Park District - Buffalo Grove, IL

Ruby Red Stabilized Warning Track Mix – Buffalo Grove Park District – Buffalo Grove, IL

You’ll see that parks turned into facilities between 1930-1965, this change was prompted by the realization that parks needed to serve everyone, not just small children. Whereas the reform parks were created to give children a place to play by building playgrounds, recreation facilities were built to serve the greater public. It was in this era that adult public sports became acceptable in culture; today you probably know someone who plays on an intramural sport team of some kind. Back in the 1930s organized adult sports such as football, baseball, and basketball became very popular among working class adults.

Something else that became widely popular in the 1930s – bulk ordering. Recreation facilities were a huge success; with the addition of swimming pools these facilities saw thousands of visitors year round. As the suburbs developed people’s homes had less and less green space, facilitating the need for large community provided green areas to play. And so standards developed for park design and community programs. But with all progress comes errors, in the case of the recreation facilities their success was so great that communities wishing to create similar structures and programming rarely considered their individual needs or situations. Here is where bulk ordering came in.

If you produced picnic tables, fencing, gym equipment, or bleachers from 1930-1965 you were in a very good place. To say that sales boomed who be an understatement. Anyone who lived through the great Tickle Me Elmo Christmas rush of 1996 will understand how once something becomes hugely desirable everyone will want one and will pay anything to get one. Such was the case with recreation facilities, and sadly like your Tickle Me Elmo that is probably sitting in a closet somewhere, recreation facilities became so common that they lost popularity. What was once viewed as revolutionary and fun was now seen as ordinary and lackluster.

Open Space

After the 1960s it seemed that every bit of available land was being snatched up for development. Giant parks had been created that had everything from basketball courts and swimming pools to running tracks and outdoor theaters. It was in this time that people started to ask themselves “is all this development too much development?” Unlike the days of the pleasure parks, cities no longer had ample green space to relax in. One could go to the community recreation center but with all of the activities offered it became hard to find a quiet moment.

It was during this period in history that people started viewing undeveloped land as ready to use. Instead of wondering how many structures could be built community members were now ready to leave green space as it was – green. More unique and available forms of play sets were conceived using materials that were readily available, such as tires and railway ties. People were done with cookie cutter playsets – they wanted an opportunity to create a play structure that was unique and suited to their community’s needs. These structures were called adventure playgrounds.

Tot lots also became popular; these were usually made of smaller items, such as one or two tires and sand pits. These tot lots traditionally took up a small portion of the greater park. Aside from the tot lots and adventure playgrounds the rest of the park was left open in what was called an urban plaza. What Frederick Law Olmsted thought would take acres could now be accomplished in a mere block with these new open spaces. The plazas were almost everything Olmsted wanted – large open spaces that appeared to have been untouched by man.

Exercise Parks

Parks have always served as a means to get exercise. From young to old, parks were created to give all a way to exercise with friends and family. Other countries have been incorporating more direct means of exercise into their public parks for years, and in the early 2000s the U.S. joined in. Previous iterations of parks served the general purpose of getting people active; exercise parks are the first form of parks to be created with a specific purpose – to get people to exercise.

Studies have shown that people prefer to exercise outdoors as opposed to indoors and with the rise in obesity the importance of having accessible exercise opportunities cannot be understated. Kafka Granite is passionate about making aggregate blends for these special parks. Outdoor fitness parks are traditionally created in one of four styles.

  • Composite Fitness Station
    • A single piece of equipment, a composite fitness station is ideal for smaller parks.
  • Fitness Trail
    • A long pathway network that moves through the park naturally. This is a great option for parks with long walking paths.
  • Fitness Cluster
    • A collection of equipment that is set up to be used in a collaborative manner.
  • Joint Use Fitness Zone
    • Typically arranged in a semi-circle, a joint use fitness zone is set up so that adults using it can keep an eye on their children.

It is important for exercise parks to allow users to work their total body in something that Playcore calls Total Body Fitness. To achieve Total Body Fitness, an exercise park must offer:

  • Aerobic fitness via cardio endurance activities
  • Muscle fitness via strength, resistance, and endurance training
  • Core fitness via abdomen, lower back, and pelvic exercises
  • Balance and flexibility training to promote stability, coordination, range of motion, posture, and more

Let Kafka Granite Help You to Create an Exercise Park in Your Community

Exercise parks are quickly gaining popularity across the United States. Kafka Granite is proud to offer various products from pathway materials to decomposed granite mixtures, that can be utilized in the creation of these new-age parks. Kafka has been contributing aggregate blends for the construction and restoration of parks for years. Our state-of-the-art crushing facility allows us to create custom tailored aggregate blends that can be used in pleasure parks, reform parks, recreation facilities, open space parks, and exercise parks. If you are ready to either revamp your communities current park or create a new destination, contact Kafka Granite today.

Stabilized American Heritage Pathway Mix - University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame, Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park : A Kafka Granite Case Study

At Kafka Granite, we take pride in having provided materials for a number of sizeable projects throughout the years. From Yankee Stadium to Navy Pier, we have been proud to have helped city planners, corporations, and universities alike revitalize their interior and exterior spaces through innovative projects and initiatives. One such opportunity to help reinvigorate an established space was the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park project at The University of Notre Dame.The University was looking to reclaim their once great sculpture garden and transform it into a green living space that could be enjoyed for generations to come and we were only too happy to assist.

With the generosity of Charles B. Hayes, the University of Notre Dame was able to acquire the funds needed to restore this once great park to its former glory and beyond. The park originally opened in its phase one iteration in December of 2012 with five sculptures comprising the collection. A portion of the park was then closed after the last 2014 University of Notre Dame home football game to provide a space for materials to be stored during the Campus Crossroads Stadium Expansion. It was at this time that dirt excavated from the stadium project was stored in the then closed sculpture park. After the fill was removed, contractors were then sent in to excavated coal ash that had been generated by the University’s power plant. Additionally, the fly ash that had accumulated underground due to the presence of a landfill which previously occupied the same lot had to be excavated.

With the site cleared it was time for the University of Notre Dame to being phase two construction in an effort to create the sculpture garden.

WHEN: August 2017

WHERE: The finished Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park spans an impressive eight-acre swath of land all the way from the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to the corner of  Angela Boulevard and Eddy Street. With the addition of the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park the University of Notre Dame has been able to complete their “greenbelt” vision; a green space highway that encompasses the Compton Family Ice Arena, Irish Green lawn, Notre Dame Avenue, and Cedar Grove Cemetery, creating a gracious and natural southern entrance to the campus.

Kafka Stabilized American Heritage Pathway Mix, made with Organic-Lock, can be found dispersed through the entirety of the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park. These pathways connect each section of the park and give a cohesive and natural look to this vital feature of the park’s functionality.

The Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park can be found at the University of Notre Dame campus on the NE corner of Angela/Edison and Eddy St. in South Bend, IN.

WHO: Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA) were tasked with creating this modern sculpture garden. They faced many challenges along the way, but with the help of the Snite Museum of Art, the finished Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park is something to behold. MVVA knew that they needed a high-quality pathway material that could withstand all four Midwestern seasons while preserving the natural, sacred-inspired aesthetic. With success working with Kafka Granite on past projects such as the Kenyon College Middle Path and Brooklyn Bridge Park, MVVA felt confident that Kafka Granite Stabilized Pathways would be a solution for Notre Dame as well. Kafka was able to offer the park a high-performing pathway in the desired color. The product was a natural fit.

WHAT: Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates had quite the task ahead of them when taking on the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park project. This park posed some unique challenges that every aspect of the finished design would have to overcome and complement, including the finished pathway system. When searching for an aggregate provider, MVVA would only consider products that met the following requirements:

  1. The final product needed to complement the religious aspects of the park.
  2. The pathway would need to match the indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees utilized in the park.
  3. The overall theme of the park needed to reflect what the site would have looked like prior to the University of Notre Dame’s founding in 1842, meaning that the pathway system chosen had to be natural looking.
  4. Every material used would need to be able to stand up to the test of a four-season Midwestern year.
  5. The final pathway material selected would need to be permeable to help with water management.
  6. Any material chosen needed to work together with the rest of the park to reflect the inaugural installation’s theme: Reclaiming Our Nature
  7. The products needed to be able to seamlessly flow around the concrete bases of the park’s installations and be easily amended should the layout change.

But apart from the physical demands of the pathway, there were broader objectives that the overarching project needed to meet, and the pathway that would eventually lead through the exhibition would play a large role in accomplishing the University’s goals. Overall, the finished park needed to:

  1. Assist the University in creating a true arts district for all to enjoy.
  2. Serve as a literal gateway to the local community.
  3. Create a “greenbelt” for the southern campus entrance.
  4. And lastly, create a sacred place that could be enjoyed at any time of day, every day of the year.

HOW: Kafka’s Stabilized American Heritage Pathway played a role in the final vision of Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates. It was clear to MVVA that Kafka Granite was the best choice for this project. After verifying that Kafka had the material that the park needed there were still several challenges that the contractors had to overcome while getting their new pathway system into place. First, the layout of the park is somewhat undulating, meaning that the final pathway mixture needed to be pliable but have enough rigidity to maintain its form once placed. And second, the final pathway chosen needed to be able to survive in a harsh outdoor setting and withstand heavy foot traffic. The aggregate mixture that was ultimately chosen, the Kafka stabilized pathway mixture in the color American Heritage, utilizes patented Organic-lock technology that addressed both of these needs. It was this advancement that set Kafka Granite apart from its competitors.

The binding agent used in the stabilized pathway mixture is the strongest organic aggregate binder on the market and is made from 100% naturally occurring materials. The finished material drastically reduces erosion compared to other natural crushed stone pathways and is wheelchair accessible. On top of its ability to resist erosion, the stabilized pathway mixture remains flexible and has self-healing properties so the surface will not crack or crumble over time like traditional hardscape materials. Organic-Lock™ is designed to create a stabilized surface that reduces maintenance while maintaining a natural look and feel.

Once Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates narrowed in on Kafka’s Stabilized American Heritage Pathway with Organic-Lock, they decided to install a mock up. Due to the site’s history as a landfill and later a storing facility during construction, there was no clean pad to hydrate the stabilized pathway mixture on prior to installation. To overcome this obstacle, crews laid down 4×8 sheets of plywoods to hydrate the decomposed granite mixture prior to installation. This may have been an unorthodox mixing and preparing method, but in the end, it ended up being the perfect solution to this challenging installation.

With a finished pathway system that seamlessly blends through the entire sculpture garden, everyone that comes to visit the newly completed Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park can enjoy the magnitude of the finished destination. The newly renovated Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park has already had an enormous impact on the community surrounding the site. With breathtaking sculptures, lighted walking paths, a natural stone amphitheater, and captivating native flora, the finished Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park will be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Photo courtesy of Unilock

4 Recycled Crushed Materials to Start Using in Your Design

Kafka Granite has always taken measures to help the environment. After all, we pride ourselves on the environmental benefits of naturally occurring decomposed granite in comparison with concrete or asphalt. Permeable paver grit, which contributes to groundwater recharge, and white roof options to reduce urban heat islands contribute to our portfolio of eco-conscious aggregates. Using sustainable materials in your next big project could give you points toward a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Creating a LEED-certified project is a reflection of your project’s minimal stress on the environment. It shows you’ve taken the environment into consideration from the design of your project to the material you used. One way to help earn LEED certification (and the trust of many earth-adoring people) is to use recycled materials as often as you can. This means using insulation from recycled jeans, rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires, or even pathways or precast concrete fixtures made from recycled porcelain and fire brick —think outside the box for where recycled materials can be used in your project.

 1. Rejected Toilets and Sinks

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Kafka Granite has teamed with Wisconsin-native businesses Wausau Tile and Kohler Corporation to stick to an impressive recycling initiative. This three-way relationship started when Kohler noted that its landfills were becoming saturated with brand-new toilets and sinks. These fixtures simply didn’t meet the high-quality standards of inspectors, so off to the landfill they went. Wausau Tile took interest in the discarded porcelain goldmine and approached Kafka Granite for its impeccable crushing facility. The crushed porcelain was to be used for a new product line that Wausau Tile was going to create, but another world of benefits was also unlocked.

Companies like Wausau Tile can use recycled crushed high-quality porcelain in terrazzo flooring and as a unique component to decorative precast concrete. Its potential has also been explored and makes a great material to use in exposed aggregate architectural panels, pathway materials, and epoxy overlay streetscapes. Whistling Straits, the famous Kohler Company owned golf course, is even using their recycled porcelain as bunker liners using the Better Billy Bunker Method. Recycled porcelain is incredibly durable and absorbs minimal water, which makes it especially ideal for climates where continual freezing and thawing is common.

 

 

2. Old Electronics Glass and Mirrors

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Other materials adding an element of smoke or sparkle to quartz countertops everywhere are electronics glass and discarded two-sided mirrors. Thousands of outdated boxy TVs are tossed to the curb every day, but now the thick smoky glass could see new life by being crushed for other purposes. Two-sided mirrors are also seeing new life as they can add a reflective glimmer to be used in terrazzo flooring, countertops, or anywhere else crushed recycled mirror could add a unique touch. The depth added by these crushed materials gives new life to old, useless glass.

 

 

 

 

3. Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka also recycles some less obvious materials for crushed aggregate, such as copper slag. Recycled copper slag is a unique option that you can use as a recycled aggregate in your next project. Durable, attractive, and recycled, these options could help push you toward a LEED certification. But what exactly is copper slag?

Copper slag is a byproduct of copper smelting. Smelting is the refining process that copper ore goes through. Copper ore is what’s mined from the earth, usually from quarries, and is a mix of minerals and rock. In order to extract the usable ore from the mineral and rock blend, the mixed deposits undergo smelting; the process during which the deposits are heated with an agent that triggers a chemical reaction that forces the desired metal end-product out of the ore deposits.

The non-metallic dust, soot and rock are what make up copper slag. Copper slag is friendly to both the health of people, as oppose to alternatives like silica sand that is harmful when inhaled, and the environment. It also has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, making it a durable, long-lasting option for different projects. Copper slag is primarily black in color with flecks of red and lighter greys, resulting in a pleasant and versatile aesthetic that is mostly used as aggregate in precast concrete to increase its recycled content.

Many prestigious projects have utilized our copper slag recycled materials, such as Chicago’s Navy Pier. The designers on the project were looking for a material that could stand up to the test of thousands of visitors and rapidly changing weather, all while being made using recycled content. Our copper slag ended up being exactly what the project called for, and ended up being a large contributing factor that helped the final Navy Pier project received a gold SITES certification.

4. Firebrick

Kafka Granite Recycled Firebrick

Just like copper slag, firebrick is an eco-friendly material that can earn your project those highly desirable LEED points. But what exactly is firebrick?

Firebrick refers to the dense bricks made to withstand intense heat. These bricks are usually found lining kilns, furnaces, and fireplaces. These bricks are designed to hold even under during rapid temperature changes; such as in locations with mercurial environments. When firebricks reach the end of their application, though, they could end up at a crushing facility like Kafka’s. Crushed firebrick blends have a great blend of light tans, greys, browns and reds. Such a varied yet neutral color palette and strong compaction characteristics makes crushed firebrick a great recycled option for pathways.

Crushed Recycled Material Available for LEED Certification

Being environmentally conscious is never a bad thing, especially if it can earn your project LEED certification. Architectural customers as well as the eco-friendly consumers will benefit from using recycled materials in their next projects. Instead of clogging landfills, these materials are being crushed to exact specifications to breathe unique life into many products like terrazzo floors, precast concrete, and even pathways. Kafka Granite has been pushing the environmental envelope for years and has just what you’re looking for when it comes to recycled aggregate. To get free samples or find where you can get your hands on recycled porcelain, firebrick and copper slag, contact us today. We’re waiting to help find the right aggregate for your project, especially if helps toward LEED certification.

Standard Red Cedar Granite Pathway Mix - Cityville Dog Park - Des Moines, IA

Clever Uses For Decomposed Granite Pathway Material

We at Kafka Granite make an incredible amount of pathway material each year. Our standard, stabilized, and wax polymer pathway material options are perfect for long and winding paths through public parks, woodsy bike trails, and even golf courses. While we know our decomposed granite makes for an excellent walking, biking, or golf-carting path, we also know it’s good for a few unexpected uses.

 

Traditionally, clients come to Kafka Granite to find the perfect aggregate blend for any number of diverse projects. And with over 50 color varieties, and a custom crushing facility, we are able to meet the needs of even the most challenging of projects. Yet we do get the occasional unusual project, but we know that every project is unique and has its own special needs and demands. That’s why we offer standard, stabilized, and wax polymer pathway mixtures.

 

Standard Decomposed Granite Pathways

Standard DG pathways are all natural solutions to your walkway needs. Standard pathways perform better than conventional gravel pathways as they create a firmer surface while remaining natural and allowing water to permeate through. A standard pathway is ideal of low traffic, outdoor walkways, and spaces.

 

Stabilized Decomposed Granite Pathways

For commercial applications or in higher traffic areas, a stabilized pathway mix is the more suitable option for most. The Kafka Granite stabilized pathway mix is comprised of decomposed granite or crushed stone blended with a stabilizing binder. It’s this combination that binds and locks the pathway mix to provide a durable, permeable, and natural aggregate surface. A stabilized pathway resists the erosive effects of weather and traffic better than traditional gravels or a standard pathway mix, making it a great option for areas that receive heavy rain or snow. Stabilized pathway mixtures are ideal for firmer outdoor pathways that can withstand heavier traffic but still provide a natural look.

 

Wax Polymer Decomposed Granite Pathways

The Kafka Granite wax polymer pathway mix is a unique alternative to pavement that offers a waterless and dustless pathway solution. With our state of the art crushing facility, we have the ability to combine the aggregate color of your choice with engineered wax polymers for a sealed, non-permeable surface that does not get muddy or dusty. This unique mixture provides solutions for extremely high traffic areas, steep slopes, and other demanding pathway projects. The pre-mixed formula can be easily installed without water, and is easy to maintain. It also allows greater creativity in design applications for architects and landscapers.

 

Choosing The Untrodden Path

As aforementioned, the traditional uses for our DG pathway mixtures typically include recreational trails, resort walkways, and corporate pathways. But we always love assisting landscape architects and contractors create something out of the ordinary with any of our DG pathway mixtures. Next time you have one of these projects lingering on your to-do list, consider using one of Kafka’s decomposed granite pathway mixes!

Salt & Pepper Granite Stabilized Pathway - Toro Corporate Headquarters - Bloomington, MN

Salt & Pepper Granite Stabilized Pathway – Toro Corporate Headquarters – Bloomington, MN

Serene Water Feature

Want to create your own babbling brook? Or perhaps you have great ideas for a fountain in your future! Whatever watery focal point you’re looking to create, consider using our decomposed granite as the perfect surrounding material for your next water feature. We offer nearly 60 different colors of decomposed granite—including recycled materials—and it can complement practically any aesthetic you’re craving.

When you’re drawing up plans for your dream backyard pond or water feature, consider the color and material variations available to you. From vibrant and bold colors to natural hues of brown and grey, your possibilities are endless. Ensure your new pond has a serene surrounding. Adding bright pathway materials around your pond will make the entire water feature a work of art in your space.

 

Desert Spar Gold Granite Stabilized Pathway Mix - Bay Park Dog Park - East Rockaway, NY - Installed by Laser Industries

Desert Spar Gold Granite Stabilized Pathway Mix – Bay Park Dog Park – East Rockaway, NY – Installed by Laser Industries

Dog Run Done Right

Creating a great dog run can be endlessly useful yet tricky. You may leave the grass in the running area as is, but over time the lawn is going to deteriorate. The continual movement of man’s best friend is going to tear up the grass, make muddy pits, and look generally unpleasant. Cleaning it will become a hassle, and you could find yourself starting each summer off by laying new sod. To get out of sod purgatory, consider decomposed granite pathway materials instead of leaving the grass.

Dog runs don’t have to be unsightly. Kafka’s wide palette of decomposed granite colors will leave your dog run a vibrant complementary feature to your yard or an unnoticed part disguised by granite that goes unnoticed. Whatever design element you’re looking to achieve with your dog run, DG can help you with it. What’s more is that a dog run with a decomposed granite base won’t get worn down and muddy with continuous use. Dogs’ little “presents” are easy to scoop and DG allows everything to permeate into the ground. Your canine friend will be a little cleaner, too, as they won’t have sand or dirt stuck to them after a good run like they would if you went with a different substrate. For the most functional and beautiful dog run on the block, check out our decomposed granite pathway materials.

Xeriscaping

You may be wondering what xeriscaping even is. While you may not have heard much about it in the past, you’re sure to learn more about it in the near future. Xeriscaping is creative landscaping that has the ultimate purpose of conserving water. Once intended for drought-stricken areas, such as Arizona or other perpetually hot geographic areas, xeriscaping is trending as freshwater resources are depleting and people become more environmentally conscious.

Xeriscaping saves water, requires less maintenance, can achieve any desired landscape design, and doesn’t need any sort of fertilizer or pesticide to look beautiful and up curb appeal. Using decomposed granite as your topdressing for your xeriscaping project enables water to permeate to the soil while reducing weed growth — plus, your landscape is sure to look beautiful with Kafka’s color and material variety. Pick a color or multiple colors to complement or contrast your home and drought-resistant plants. While xeriscaping may seem harder than traditional landscaping using bark mulch, it really isn’t. Plus, decomposed granite topdressing won’t erode as much, which means you won’t be replacing it every year.

Bocce Ball

While decomposed granite pathway materials make great decorative and functional surfaces, they also make great athletic surfaces! What isn’t to love about that? Decomposed granite pathway material is a proven surface for bocce ball courts. It will never become muddy as water can permeate through the DG and into the ground below.

Bocce ball courts using decomposed granite as their foundation can be easily maintained and won’t take long to dry after a heavy rain, which means you can go back to playing bocce as soon as the sun is shining again.

Kafka Pathway Materials for All Occasions

As it’s plain to see, our decomposed granite pathway material is ideal for many situations. The durability and permeability make DG an excellent choice for much more than walkways! Plus, our seemingly never-ending list of color choices makes it possible to fulfill any landscaping design you’re going for. What can you think up? We can help you find the DG that’s right for you today.  

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.