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    Golden Trowel Awards

    The Winning Garden

    The Winning Garden

    The 6th Annual Golden Trowel Awards took place recently, celebrating decorative concrete projects installed during 2011. It was held by PICS, who are a leading pattern imprinted concrete supplier.

    The entries ranged from standard domestic designs for driveways and gardens, to more commercial applications like theme parks, drive-thru restaurants, petrol stations and seafront promenades. The winner of the Domestic Installation category was a garden in Whitchurch (pictured above), which we think looks similar to this driveway we installed in Little Lever, and from which we received a glowing testimonial.

    The winner of the Commercial Installations category was a refurbishment of a pattern imprinted concrete drive-thru at the McDonalds in Cosham, Portsmouth. You can see our installation of a drive-thru for KFC in Walkden here. In the Individual Features category, the winning entry was an inset pin-wheel medallion feature within a driveway, similar to a compass feature which we have incorporated in some of our driveways in the past like this one in Gorton

    We don’t use PICS products, so we’re not eligible to enter any of our work into the competition, but we think that our St. George’s school Dragon installation would give anyone a run for their money!

    Installation of Your Driveway

    Following on from our blog entry ‘Preparing for a New Driveway’, here is what you should do with your pattern imprinted concrete driveway during installation, and when it is finished.

    After the concrete has been poured and imprinted, it will take somewhere between 24-48 hours to dry. We will close the area off with hazard tape or barriers, but the responsibility for preventing any damage will be yours. We will discuss the best way for you to access your home, if possible using other entrances for family or visitors. You should also make sure pets are not able to get near.

    Come on lads... Its concrete time!

    Concrete arrives

    Once the concrete is dry the release powder will be brushed off, which will cause some dust in the surrounding area. You will want to make sure all doors and windows are closed, and maybe let your neighbours know as well. After this the drive is given a thorough cleaning with a power washer, which will expose the true colour of the pattern imprinted concrete. We will need electricity and water supplies for this so please make sure they we have access to them.

    During

    Concrete sealant application

    To complete the installation we will apply a sealing coat to the concrete. We will then clean the whole site leaving it in the condition we found it (except for your brand new pattern imprinted concrete drive of course).  Do not park your vehicles on the finished driveway for at least 72 hours after the sealing coat has been applied, as the seal needs time to cure.

    Preparing for a New Driveway

    Hopefully you will be getting ready for us to install a new pattern imprinted concrete driveway in the near future. Here are some tips on how to prepare before we arrive.

    When you order we will let you know which week we will be installing your pattern imprinted concrete driveway.  This is because we can never give a completely accurate date as we need dry weather to begin work. The actual date will be confirmed 24-48 hours in advance, when we can get a much more accurate weather report.

    The first thing to do is to make sure we have full access to your driveway and any other areas we will be working on. Make sure the drive is clear of vehicles, and that any gates we will need to get through are open when we arrive. Also make sure we have access to water and electricity at all times during the installation.

    You may also want to let your neighbours know what is happening, as the process can be noisy, and can create dust which may be blown around. You will want to close your windows and maybe employ dust cloths at doors to prevent damage to carpets. Finally you may want to cover or even remove any plants in areas we will be using to protect them from damage.

    Spring lawn care guide: Dealing with bare patches; Part 4

    If you’ve been reading our lawn care article series, you’ll have picked up some useful tips to perfect your outdoor space and show off your new pattern imprinted concrete driveway to its full potential. We’ve looked at lawn mowing and edging, grass fertilisation and the removal of weeds and moss. The final step in the four stage process is to sort out any bare patches in evidence on your lawn.

    Spring is the perfect time of year to get both lawn and garden into shape

    Spring Lawn Care Part 4 - Patch up the bareness in your lawn this Spring.

    After a long winter, many lawns show bare areas that spoil the overall look, and also leave the lawn susceptible to weeds and moss. However, there are ways to tackle the problem – such as with a specialist lawn patching product.

    These clever formulations mix up natural coir, grass seed and slow release grass feeds, for rapid growth in targeted areas and thick coverings of robust grass where patches used to exist.

    You can also spot treat bare areas with fresh grass seed, water it and tend as you would any new plant growth. Patience is a valuable asset in creating a beautiful lawn, and this works well for areas damaged by prolonged snow fall or ice.

    Alternatively, cut out the bare patch of lawn, rake the soil over well to aerate it, and then patch up with fresh turf. Some brands offer specialist lawn repair kits, with lawn seed and feed preparations included.

    Other products exist for patches caused by pets – dog urine, for example, is a key cause of lawn patches. However, you can also tackle this problem naturally, by soaking the offending area with water to flush away excess salts.

    Photo by Sean Hobson

    Spring lawn care guide: Treating weeds and moss; Part 3

    Many of our customers have commented on their new found interest in lawn and garden maintenance after installing their new pattern imprinted concrete driveways. It seems that suddenly weedy garden beds and mossy lawns just won’t do!

    Spring is the perfect time of year to get both lawn and garden into shape

    Spring Lawn Care Part 3 - It's not just the grass that needs cutting, you need to keep the weeds out too.

    Certainly if you’ve spent time picking the perfect pattern imprinted concrete driveway, you’ll find your external space becoming quite a feature. So it makes sense to finish the look with an eye-catching and well-tended lawn.

    Once you’ve established a good mowing routine and fertilised the lawn well, it’s time to tackle the rogue weeds and moss which often attack garden lawns.

    Even the most beautiful garden can be ruined by these uninvited garden guests, and you’ll need to tackle the intruders quickly for best results. For serious moss or weed invasions, look for specialist lawn weed killers which will come in liquid form and give powerful results.

    Once you’ve cleared your lawn from immediate attack, build in a regular protective treatment. There are specialist combined products which control weeds and moss, whilst feeding the lawn and building up its resistance to extreme weather conditions. These products can be used from April onwards and are well worth investing in. As with so much in life, when it comes to moss and weeds, prevention is better than cure!

    Photo by Sean Hobson

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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