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.

Burma Red Hilltopper Infield - UW Madison Softball - Madison, WI

Keep Your Ballyard from Getting Muddy Or Dusty

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Kafka Granite only has one thing to say; “Let’s play ball!” Kafka is proud to manufacture a variety of premier ballyard, warning track and clay mound materials. We have helped create stunning fields for every field from little league to the majors. Visitors can view Kafka ballyard materials at Yankee Stadium, Northwestern University, and the Buffalo Grove Sports Complex, to name a few.

Our top-quality ballyard materials are made of decomposed granite mixtures that have been crafted to withstand a variety of environments. From torrential rains to blistering heat, our ballyard mixtures can take a beating and still performs at their highest level. With our wide range of ballyard products, we are able to work with your budgetary requirements and deliver a top-quality finished product. At Kafka Granite, we offer three variations of ballyard mixtures; Standard Mixes, Stabilized Mixes and Hilltopper Mixes.

Traditional mixes that are comprised of clay, silt or sand become muddy and collect standing water in rainy conditions. By utilizing a proprietary decomposed granite blend, our ballyard materials are highly durable and permeable, meaning that they allow rainwater to quickly drain. This feature will drastically decrease the number of rainouts you experience each year and will keep your ballpark mud and dust-free.

Standard Ballyard Mix at Kafka Granite

Burma Red Standard Topdressing

Kafka offers both Burma Red Standard Topdressing and Standard Warning Track Mixes. Our Burma Red Standard Topdressing is a great addition to existing fields due to its excellent drainage characteristics. With our Burma Red Standard Topdressing, you can eliminate puddles on your field and substantially reduce rain-outs.

Additionally, our Burma Red Standard Topdressing is a cost-effective way to refinish your existing ballfield to achieve safe footing, consistent ball hops, and smooth sliding. We recommend a depth of ¼-inch to  ½-inch when adding Burma Red Standard Topdressing to an existing ballpark.

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to refinish your existing ballfield while improving your field’s draining capabilities and correcting any imperfections that have accumulated over time, our Burma Red Standard Topdressing is the best option for you. Our Burma Red Standard Topdressing can be used on the infield, warning track, batter’s box or pitching mound.

Estimated Standard Topdressing Coverage Rates

 

BASEBALL FIELD

(90 bases with a 95’ arc)

Exposed Skinned Area 1/4” Topdressing 1/2” Topdressing
Grass Infield 11,550 sq ft 12.5 tons 25 tons
Skinned Infield 18,300 sq ft 20 tons 40 tons

 

LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD

(60 bases with a 50’ arc)

Exposed Skinned Area 1/4” Topdressing 1/2” Topdressing
Grass Infield 3,850 sq ft 4 tons 8.5 tons
Skinned Infield 6,700 sq ft 7.5 tons 15 tons

 

SOFTBALL FIELD Exposed Skinned Area 1/4” Topdressing 1/2” Topdressing
55’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 10,443 sq ft 11 tons 22 tons
60’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 11,190 sq ft 11.5 tons 23.5 tons
65’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 11,974 sq ft 12.5 tons 25 tons

Standard Warning Track Mixtures

Our unique Standard Warning Track Mixtures offer a highly durable warning track solution for those looking to replace their current warning track. Our Standard Warning Track Mixtures come in three vibrant colors: Burma Red, Red Cedar and Ruby Red. With its signature crunch, Kafka Standard Warning Track Mixtures help players know when they are approaching the outfield fences to prevent injury.

Our Standard Warning Track Mixtures are durable and are created to withstand the abuse of maintenance vehicles and harsh weather alike. Due to its coarser nature, our Standard Warning Track Mixtures require less maintenance than other traditional Warning Track Mixtures. We recommend that our Standard Warning Track Mixtures be installed at a full depth of 3-4 inches around the entire perimeter of your ballfield. Our team of experts can help you estimate the amount of Standard Warning Track Mixture that you need for your next ballfield project today.

Stabilized Ballyard Mix At Kafka Granite

Stabilized Infield Mix

If you are tired of puddles that just won’t drain, our Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix is the perfect solution for your ballfield. Pre-blended with a stabilizing organic binder, our Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix is one of the best permeable infield mixes available. By utilizing an organic binder, our infield mix provides a firm, resilient playing surface that results in minimal mud or dust accumulation. Our Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix has an excellent water-bearing capacity and load-bearing strength.

Even after heavy rains or high traffic, our Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix will stay in place while retaining its flexibility and cushion. Stadiums can drastically cut down on wind and water erosion damage by utilizing a Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix. All of the previously mentioned features combined result in near immediate play after rainfall, and fewer hours will be needed for ballyard maintenance.

Stabilized Warning Track Mix

Our Stabilized Warning Track Mix offers the same great features as our Standard Warning Track Mix, but requires less maintenance and can withstand heavier traffic. The Stabilized Warning Track Mix is ideal for larger projects, or areas that receive excess rainfall. With the addition of the stabilizing binder, the Stabilized Warning Track Mix retains water longer, requiring less manual watering. This Stabilized Warning Track Mix is ideal for universities and large sports complexes.

See How Kafka Granite Stabilized Infield Mix Stands up to the Elements

Estimated Stabilized Infield Coverage Rates

 

BASEBALL FIELD

(90 bases with a 95’ arc)

Exposed Skinned Area 3” Compacted

Depth

4” Compacted

Depth

Grass Infield 11,550 sq ft 165 tons 231 tons
Skinned Infield 18,300 sq ft 262 tons 366 tons

 

LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD

(60 bases with a 50’ arc)

Exposed Skinned Area 1/4” Topdressing 1/2” Topdressing
Grass Infield 3,850 sq ft 55 tons 77 tons
Skinned Infield 6,700 sq ft 7.5 tons 15 tons

 

SOFTBALL FIELD Exposed Skinned Area 1/4” Topdressing 1/2” Topdressing
55’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 10,443 sq ft 150 tons 209 tons
60’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 11,190 sq ft 160 tons 224 tons
65’ arc with 25’ foul territory skin 11,974 sq ft 172 tons 240 tons

Kafka Granite Stabilized Infield Mix and Warning Track Installation Instructions

Before you begin installation of your new Warning Track or Stabilized Infield Mix, make sure that you are familiar with the field’s drainage patterns and how the surrounding areas affect the field during heavy rains. Both infields and warning tracks should be sloped at ½% to drain laterally off the field.

  1. Measure and layout infield or warning track according to field dimensions.
  2. Flag sprinklers if already installed.
  3. Excavate future infield or warning track area to allow a minimum 3-inch depth. Complete drainage construction if desired.
  4. Prepare native soil to use as a base. Sand is not an acceptable base. Level, preferably with a laser grader.
  5. Water native soil base. Allow time for drying before proceeding to next step. Soil should be damp, but not muddy.
  6. Compact native soil using a one-ton drum roller. A plate compactor can be used in tight areas.
  7. Spread Kafka Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix with a front end loader. Lay down loose material to allow for a minimum of 3-inch compacted depth. The estimated coverage for Kafka Stabilized Infield and Warning Track Mix is 70 square feet per ton for a 3-inch depth and 50 square feet per ton for a 4-inch depth.
  8. Level with laser grader to achieve ½% slope.
  9. Thoroughly water to activate the stabilizing binder. It is better to over-water than under-water. Wait 24-48 hours, depending on the climate and the amount of water used. The field should be damp, but not muddy.
  10. As soon as the field allows, compact with one-ton roller. Do not use a vibratory plate or the compactor or vibratory setting on roller drums, as it may cause the binder to separate from the aggregate.
  11. Check for low areas, add additional infield or warning track mix as needed, and compact.
  12. Install base anchors and home plate.

Hilltopper Ballyard Mix at Kafka Granite

Hilltopper Ballyard Infield and Warning Track Mixes are the kings of ballyard mixes. With the help of today’s cutting-edge technology, we have been able to pair our custom aggregate blends with a water-shedding polymer coating developed by Stabilizer Solutions.

This unique technology creates a ballyard that is waterless, dustless, and completely free of mud, which will save your grounds crew hours in maintenance and watering. Our Hilltopper Ballyard Mix has been used in such exciting venues as Harvard University, Dartmouth College, University of Iowa and more. Additionally, visitors can see our Hilltopper Ballyard Warning Track Mix at Yankee Stadium!

The decomposed granite used in our Hilltopper Ballyard Mix has been crushed to the best size to provide stable footing, consistent ball hops and optimal sliding conditions. You’ll see with our one-of-a-kind Hilltopper Ballyard Mix that water beads on the surface of the field and then rolls away before your eyes. Our Hilltopper Ballyard Mix is ideal for newly constructed ballyards, where we recommend a depth of 3-4 inches for our infield mix. If you’re ready to implement a Kafka Granite Hilltopper Ballyard Mix at your ballpark our team is prepared to help you find the perfect solution.

Hilltopper Mound Clay

Save time and money with our Hilltopper Mound Clay Mix. Our Hilltopper Mound Clay Mix contains the same polymer coating as our infield and Warning Track Mix and can be used on the mound, in the batter’s box, or wherever a clay alternative is desired. With Kafka’s Hilltopper Mound Clay Mix, no water screening is necessary.

Our Hilltopper Ballyard Mixes
  • Preserves flexibility and cushion
  • Eliminates the need for watering
  • Dramatically reduces maintenance demands and costs
  • Creates firm and stable playing surface in all weather
  • Withstand rain, wind, snow and drought

Play Ball with Kafka Granite

Whether you decide to add some Topdressing to your existing field, refinish your field with a Stabilized Mix, or choose to implement a Hilltopper Ballyard Mix in your next stadium build, our specialists can work with your budget to find you the perfect ballyard solution. Our team of experts is sure to knock your next ballpark project out of the park!

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.

Announcing Specialty Building Stone by Kafka Granite

Kafka Owner and Founder, Glenn Kafka, is excited to share with his loyal customers Kafka Granite’s newest natural stone offerings. Having purchased his first 40-acre quarry in 1979, Glenn has worked tirelessly over the years to evolve and grow the Kafka name into what it is today.

Amongst his first discoveries within that first quarry was an unexpected find; an orange granite with traces of mica in it. This aggregate was discovered by accident when a large solid boulder toppled backward and broke, revealing the dazzling surprise inside. This discovery inspired Glenn to wonder “what if we crushed down this stone to make a decorative aggregate?” And the rest, as they say, was history. Once the concept of crushing decorative aggregate was seized upon, Kafka began producing over 60 unique color variants of specialty aggregates, including Dynamite Orange Granite.

And while satisfied with the results of his crushing endeavors, one day Glenn was approached by an individual looking to sell a quarry with some very unique features. Glenn wasn’t interested in opening another quarry in Canada, but it was promised to Glenn that this new quarry found in Northern Ontario contained something spectacular; multi-colored mica enriched quartzite. And so, after seeing a sample, a week later Glenn decide to venture out to go see the site. Once he laid his eyes on the quarry, he knew just how special it really was. A week later he sent trucks to the quarry to bring back raw material, and a month later he owned it!  Glenn couldn’t help but think: this stone is far too spectacular to merely crush; what other products could we make of it?

The stone found at Kafka’s newest quarry sparkles and glitters in glistening, vibrant hues, making it something that’s yet to be seen on today’s market. Glenn himself has admitted to never having seen anything quite like this new stone. Red, green, black, and more shades have already been discovered within this dazzling new resource. And while Glenn saw this potential for this product as a crushed aggregate, he also had the thought to use this one of a kind stone to make something completely new; glittering natural stone veneer.

There are no comparable products on the market today that can hold a candle to our new stone’s brilliance and shine. At Kafka, we have always prided ourselves on the high product standards we maintain, and we knew that these specialty building stone products would have to live up to our established Kafka standards. After all, part of being Kafka is blazing the trail and setting a new bar.

Our crushing facility produces some of the highest quality, speciality aggregates on the market, and we’re maintaining that same level of quality when it comes to our thin and full natural stone veneer.

And we’re not just talking about one product; these high standards are being applied to our entire new building stone line, which will someday be comprised of a multitude of products. These new products have an endless amount of opportunity.

Naturally, when it came time to decide on the launching series that we would use to introduce our new veneers to the market, the only name that seemed fitting was the Glitter Series. Launching with a few preselected colors, the line will eventually expand to encompass a wide range of sparkling colors as we work through our new quarry. But the Glitter Series will not be our only foray into veneers, our newly released Legacy Series will likewise be comprised of thin and full veneers. These new granite, marble, and quartz building stone products will be made from the same Kafka colors that our customers know and love. This high-end building stone will be ideal for any number of applications from building facades to interior features and will be available in a wide range of cuts and colors. 
We didn’t get into this business to compete with anyone else. We came to create our own market and lead the way. At Kafka Granite, our goal has always been to offer something that nobody else has. And whether that’s through specialty aggregates or veneers, we strive to ensure that our products stand apart from the rest. When it comes to our new veneers, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Make sure to stay tuned for future updates about our new veneer lines and the exciting products we’re turning out.

Listen to how the story unfolded by watching the video below.

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!

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.

Glitter Series Raw Stone

Kafka Granite Acquires A New Quarry

Kafka Granite has grown mightily since its inception in 1979. What started as a one-man operation run by Glenn Kafka has turned into one of the top decorative aggregate providers in the country. Through sweat, hard work, and a couple of tears, Kafka Granite has transitioned from a one-man decomposed granite operation to the most diversified aggregate providers in the country (while remaining family owned and operated). Through all of our changes and growth, we’ve retained what matters most to us: our brand identity and history. No matter how much we grow, we still strive to maintain the same values that Glenn Kafka started out with nearly 40 years ago.

Currently, Kafka Granite provides over 60 different color varieties of granite, marble, quartz, and recycled aggregates, but we are excited to announce that this new quarry has been shown to yield something a little extra – sparkle. Due to the high concentration of mica intertwined with strong quartzite, this beautiful glittering natural phenomenon is something that is not commonly found among aggregates. If that wasn’t rare enough – the colors range from black, to green, to pink. With only 60 of the 700+ acres exposed, we are yet to discover all the colors that may lie beneath the surface.
We are beyond thrilled to incorporate this thrilling new product into our product lineup. With the addition of the various colors mica enriched quartzite, we will be able to provide our customers with an even wider variety of manufactured sands, accent pieces, landscape stone, and natural stone veneer. With its signature look and feel, this remarkable stone is opening up a lot of opportunities for Kafka Granite and our loyal customers and supporters.

 

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Exploring Our New Mica Enriched Quartzite Quarry

At over 700 acres, our new quarry is an abundant deposit of mica enriched quartzite. This spectacular stone develops naturally into multiple distinct colors and two different hardnesses and consistencies, making the possible applications of this rare find seemingly limitless. Geologists estimate that our mica enriched quartzite deposit was formed around three million years ago when tectonic plates deep inside the earth slammed into the Canadian Shield, heating the host rock of clear quartz and colored mica until it reached liquid form. The color from the mica then transferred into the clear quartz during cooling, resulting in beautiful, vibrant colors of quartzite laced with an abundance of mica.

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Although the deposit was created horizontally in different colored layers, it was later thrust up vertically into a 10.5-mile-high mountain with the colored layers becoming vertical bands/transitions through the deposit.  This means that now the

colors appear next to one another, not on top of each other. Overtime, the glaciers removed the mountain top overburden. With minimal ground cover to clear, this leaves the company with easy access to the different color bands of stone, and a far more sustainable approach to blasting and quarrying. According to geological estimates, the deposit runs approximately a mile below the surface; however it’s estimated to contain over 20 billion tons of material sitting above ground alone.

We have identified a plethora of color varieties at the site so far, including an enticing black, vibrant pink, and various shades of green, but have barely scratched the surface.

 

The Glitter Series

The new shimmering stone sourced from this quarry will accurately be named the Glitter Series. The Glitter Series is set to debut with five new manufactured sands. Those sands will include our newest colors Galaxy Glitter, Rosa Glitter, Mint Glitter, Aspen Glitter, and Plum Glitter. These new color variations will accompany the other 60 aggregate colors that Kafka already provides to customers across the United States.

Mint Glitter

Mint Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter

Rosa Glitter

Plum Glitter

Plum Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy, Mint, and Rosa are also available in beautiful varieties of decorative stone and large boulders for stunning accents, show-stopping water features, and unique retaining walls.

 

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Glitter - Dimensional Cut

While the product will be made available to our customers as manufactured sands, landscapes stone, and accent pieces, early on we determined this remarkable stone was far too special to merely crush. This product has also propelled us to start a new business in fabricating and supplying a unique line of building stone products in 2018. This new venture is set to include a variety of “Glitter Series” products, while also launching a “Legacy Series” of classic Kafka Granite colors you already know in love – made available in thin and full veneer.

And that’s just the start. As we dig through our new deposit we plan on unveiling additional stone colors, as well as new products; so stay tuned!

 

Experience The Glittering Beauty Of Kafka Granite’s Newest Quarry

We are beyond thrilled to be able to share our newest quarry with our valued customers and friends. Sitting on picturesque Reynolds Lake, the glittering stone from this new quarry perfectly reflects the natural beauty that can be found surrounding our latest quarry. We urge those wishing to learn more about our newest quarry or about the product that the quarry is expected to yield to call their representative or to contact Kafka Granite directly at 800-852-7415.

Photo courtesy of Unilock

Using Unilock at Navy Pier: A Kafka Granite Case Study

Kafka Granite has been supplying aggregates to some of the country’s largest remodels and revamps for years. From the Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, NY to the Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, WI, a wide range of Kafka Granite products can be found at some of the country’s most popular attractions. Such attractions include the Buckingham Fountain, Yankee Stadium, and Chicago’s Navy Pier. The Navy Pier project was one of Kafka Granite’s crowning achievements. Through hard work, determination, and collaboration with Unilock, Kafka Granite was able to help the city of Chicago restore their historic landmark.

Navy Pier was first opened in 1916 and has seen millions of visitors since. Most recognize Navy Pier by it’s glowing ferris wheel and lively family-friendly entertainment. In 2016, to celebrate the Pier’s 100th birthday the city of Chicago decided to give the beloved destination a makeover. The goal of the project was to preserve the history and integrity of Navy Pier while making it more eco-friendly and ensuring its longevity for future generations. Navy Pier is a massive venue with over 50 acres of stunning lake front property. When city officials began researching ways to revitalize this historic landmark they knew that whatever products they decided to utilize would have to withstand hot Chicago summers, wave barrage from Lake Michigan, and the harsh winters that cover the Midwest every year.

Kafka Granite has a long history of creating green alternatives that can be utilized in a variety of applications. Some of Kafka Granite’s eco-friendly projects include the white roofing materials and decomposed granite mixtures. However, one of the most common ways Kafka Granite can help projects attain a LEED or SITES certification is through the use of their recycled aggregate blends, and the Navy Pier project is a perfect example. Through a partnership with Unilock, Kafka Granite was literally a key ingredient in restoring one of America’s most iconic landmarks and achieving the prestigious SITES Gold Certification through GBCI.

WHEN:

Renovations began in 2013 in order to be complete for Navy Pier’s 100th Anniversary in July 2016. The project was awarded Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES ) Gold Certification in November 2016.

WHERE:

Navy Pier needed to cover the entirety of the 50-acre pier with a high quality, yet aesthetically pleasing, concrete pavers. In the eyes of the design team responsible for the Pier’s redesign, the pavers needed to act as an organizational device that could help inspire the design aspects of the other areas of the Pier’s new design and serve as the fabric that tied the entire redesign together as a whole. The new pavers made in partnership with Unilock and Kafka Granite can be seen on the tree-lined South Dock Promenade, as well as the expansive and newly developed Polk Bros. Park and Fountain.

WHO:

James Corner Field Operations ultimately won the competition that the Navy Pier was holding to choose their next design firm. James Corner Field Operations then decided to partner with Unilock. Unilock is a leading manufacturer of interlocking precast concrete pavers. Unilock knew that they needed to partner with a local, regional aggregate provider to create the pavers that the James Corner Field Operations were looking for, and Kafka Granite was a natural fit.

WHAT:

James Corner Field Operations, the company who won the right to lead the redesign of this historic landmark, needed a paver that could function in a variety of settings. For this project, the paver ultimately chosen needed to work in areas of heavy-duty pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and in areas that were designated as heavy-duty vehicular roadways. Additionally, certain areas needed to be permeable to help direct rainfall away from the storm sewer systems and back into the natural ecosystem. If that weren’t enough, James Corner Field Operations had a few additional qualifications when it came to choosing their winning paver.

  1. The company who provides the paver must be able to provide support for the lifetime of the project
  2. Pavers must meet SITES certification standards
  3. Pavers must be comprised of at least 30% recycled content
  4. Pavers must come from and be manufactured from within the region
  5. Any aggregates used in the pavers must be regionally extracted
  6. Pavers must have a high SRI value

HOW:

The vision of the leading-edge landscape architects at James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) was brought to life in part due to an innovative partnership between Unilock and Kafka Granite. One major goal of the Navy Pier’s redesign was to establish an area that was less commercialized and more focused on uniting green space and people. The first challenge of this project was buried in trying to expand the desired green spaces and improve pedestrian access while concurrently improving stormwater management and using recycled materials in an effort to have the project SITES certified. Due to the Pier’s proximity to lake Michigan, all care and consideration had to be put forth into the design and development of the runoff system for the Pier’s vast 50-acre surface area.

Kafka Granite and Unilock responded to the call and rose to the challenge of creating this new urban oasis landscape while remaining environmentally conscious by creating a one-of-a-kind Navy Pier collaboration. As the nation’s premier manufacturer of concrete interlocking pavers, Unilock was an obvious partner when it came to creating a gorgeous surface for the improved landmark. In order to meet the rigorous specifications JCFO established for materials to be used, Unilock teamed with Kafka Granite to create a solution that would check all the boxes mentioned above.

Kafka Granite’s recycled copper slag was an imperative part of the Navy Pier redesign puzzle. With Kafka providing recycled crushed aggregate to Unilock, specifications were precisely met while environmental needs were surpassed. Not only was a portion of the pavers permeable, which will aid in stormwater management, but their clever incorporation of recycled materials made this project’s SITES Gold certification possible. In total, 30% of the materials used for the entirety of the redesign were made from recycled content.

Kafka Granite has been incorporating sustainable processes and products into the aggregate industry for years. From its state-of-the-art crushing facility to its use of recycled porcelain, kiln slag, copper slag, firebrick, glass, mirror, and more, Kafka Granite is a company that understands the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. By using recycled copper slag that would have otherwise found its way into a landfill, Kafka made it possible for Navy Pier, and various other projects, to achieve highly a sought after SITES certifications. Not only will the Navy Pier’s new design have a positive effect on the city of Chicago, but the gold certification acquired using Kafka Granite recycled aggregates rendered the redesign to be the first project to earn such a pristine level of eco-friendliness under SITES v2 requirements. Kafka Granite looks forward to helping many more companies and project become eco-friendly and be awarded green certifications in the years to come.