Last year we had a small booth at the Richmond Home Show. Among the many people who stopped by was a lady who inquired if we did patio repair work. We focus on designing and creating new outdoor living areas, but I agreed in this instance to come out and take a look since it sounded like she really needed help and was unable to find it elsewhere.

When I arrived for our appointment a week or so later, my knock was welcomed by a loud chorus of howls and barks from a pack of very energetic dogs. Once the canines were sequestered in a back room, the lady lead me through the house and out the back door to the patio. Everywhere I looked I saw issues. Gaps between the pavers, sunken pavers and potholes, crooked joint lines, and more.

Resisting the urge to tell her that her patio was a disaster and that it should all be ripped up, my first question to her after taking all this in was, “So who did this?”

Turns out that there was a young man who had a small company mowing lawns and doing small landscaping jobs for several of her neighbors. She asked him if he could do her patio and he said yes. Although his work was, in my opinion, dreadful, she didn’t hold any ill will towards that young man and merely said that he was out of his depth. Like I said, she was very nice.

My team and I proceeded to tackle the worst parts of the patio and correct them as best we could. We fixed several of the worst spots where the pavers had sunk and cut the pavers closest to the edge of the patio and along the seating wall in order to install a proper border. Once we started pulling up pavers, we discovered that the young man had not even put a proper base under the patio, much less compacted it and done the other base preparation steps required to ensure the longevity of a paver patio.

Unfortunately, this homeowner is just one of many who have hired someone who didn’t have the knowledge, experience, or equipment to properly install a hardscape that will last for many years. The Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI) has taken decades of experience, engineering, and field testing to create the education and standards for proper hardscape installation. Currently, we are one of only eight companies in the Richmond, VA area who are ICPI Certified Hardscape Installers.

Appomattox River Landscapes, LLC and the seven other companies have all invested significant amounts of time and money to perfect their craft and offer a product that will last for many years. Nothing against the guy who is providing you excellent service in maintaining your lawn and plant beds, but most likely he doesn’t have the education, experience, or equipment to provide you with a quality hardscape. So when you are looking at installing your patio, make sure to ask the contractor if they are a certified hardscape installer.