Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Retaining Walls: 4 Reasons Why They Fall

What goes up must come down…or does it? When it comes to building a retaining wall, you want to be 100% certain that what goes up, stays up! So how can you be sure your retaining wall will last? Avoid these four pitfalls…


Working with unqualified contractors. If you’re settling for a low-end bid, you’re sacrificing product and service quality. A cheap retaining wall that “saves” you money now will cost you money later (typically, the only resolution for a failed retaining wall system is to remove it and rebuild). You also want a contractor who has plenty of experience working with Pittsburgh’s landscape and climate. Our advice for choosing a quality contractor will point you in the right direction.

Ignoring industry standards. If your contractor is ignoring the National Concrete Masonry Association’s (NCMA) regulations for retaining walls, you can expect problems in the future…and maybe sooner than you think. Educate yourself and ask questions. You can find NCMA standards here or request them directly from wall unit manufacturers.

Choosing the wrong material. Make sure you’re using the right material for your project. Some wall units are meant only for aesthetic applications like garden walls and sitting walls, while others are designed for reinforcement or large commercial use.

Skipping the gravel backfill. Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes’ experienced team knows gravel backfill and a drain system are essential components of a lasting retaining wall—they work together to alleviate water and gases that accumulate behind the wall. Still, many contractors will skip this step, compromising the wall’s longevity.

If your landscape or project plans include a retaining wall—and you want that wall to last—call Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes’ experts first! See a variety of our projects with retaining walls here. We’re also available for consultations if you’re having problems with an existing retaining wall.

Our experienced team is ready to design and build a better backyard that’s perfectly matched to your lifestyle. Call us at 412-319-7524 or contact us here to get started, and don’t forget to check out our Project Showcase for inspiration!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

3D Virtual Designs: Your Dream Backyard Starts Here


Were virtual reality devices at the top of your wish list this past holiday season... just ahead of a new swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, and patio with fireplace?

Then you definitely need to know about Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes’ 3D Virtual Designs for your backyard projects!

What are 3D Virtual Designs?
The outdoor space you’re going to ADORE has to start with a plan you LOVE. And lines on paper just aren’t enough. 3D Virtual Designs bring our vision for your project to life so you can “step into” that new space long before any construction begins.

Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes’ 3D Virtual Designs give you a realistic view of the finished project in context. That means you’ll see the project’s elements in accurate colors and textures, along with existing components like the home and surroundings.

Why do clients love 3D Virtual Designs?
3D Virtual Designs make it easy to visualize exactly where your project is headed—and what changes you might want to make. With your input, Pittsburgh Stone & Waterscapes’ architects can revise your design before or during the construction process.

Our 3D Virtual Designs also make it possible for you to see how the project will look from inside your home. You want to know—from the start!—what the view will be from your dining area, kitchen, great room, and bedroom. After all, enjoying your waterfall or pool area while you’re outside is just part of the picture... don’t forget about the experience of sitting in your dining room and seeing that magnificent waterfall or pool through the window.

Clients also love our nighttime renders! Our backyard projects are designed to be part of your life 365 days a year, day and night. In the nighttime virtual designs, we carefully place lighting so you can see not only where lights will be, but also how they will illuminate the rest of the project and surroundings. We also do interior views, allowing a precise rendering of what you’ll see when you look out your windows after dark.

How do I get 3D Virtual Designs for my project?!
Work with us! Every Pittsburgh Stone & Waterscapes project uses 3D Virtual Designs. We know how important it is that you fully understand your project—from start to finish and top to bottom. Because 3D Virtual Designs give everyone from the client to our field crew a complete and accurate visual guide for the finished project, we are able to limit construction issues and ensure client satisfaction. (And that’s exactly how we like it!)

We can’t wait to get started on your 3D Virtual Design! February is the perfect time to begin planning your outdoor living space and landscaping projects. Call us at (412) 319-7524 and we can build a better backyard together.