Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

MAR 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Left This eco garden, located in Richmond, Virginia, features a 68' manmade stream that is lined with Alberene soapstone. The stream acts as an irrigation sys- tem for the garden, and is able to maintain an average of 2,500 gallons of water. The soapstone used in this project was quarried just 70 miles away in Schuyler, Virginia and is excellent at withstanding both the running water and the Virgin- ian weather. The landscape was designed by SG Designs from Richmond. I If you have been searching for an af- fordable, aesthetically pleasing and unique natural stone option, look no fur - ther; soapstone is a serious contender for all your hardscape needs. Whether your projects are indoors or outdoors, soap - stone can be a great choice in any home or landscape. Its dark, bold color has the potential to equip an area with an dis - tinguished elegancy that goes unrivaled. Soapstone boasts a wide range of posi - tive aspects that give it an advantageous edge over other commonly used stones, such as marble or granite. This naturally occurring stone is non - porous, meaning it will not stain and any spilled mess is easy to clean. This makes it an ideal choice for surfaces that are exposed to high amounts of water, such as showers, sinks and pools. When wet, correctly stained soapstone can even hold grip fairly well, reducing the risk of slipping. This feature allows soapstone to out compete other slippery stones, like granite, when used in wet areas. Soapstone is also exceedingly resistant to acids and bases and will usually not crack, peel or spall; making it an ideal option for countertops that see routine and messy usage from tomato cutting, wine spilling or drops of vinegar. Perhaps, one of the most attractive features of soapstone is that it conducts and radiates heat very well; well enough in fact that soap - stone can even come into con- tact with an open flame – fire pits, barbeques and flame-stove countertops all make excellent places for soapstone. Addition - ally, soapstone is able to retain and radi- ate heat for longer periods of time than other stone options. In fact, one of the early commercial uses of soapstone was for foot-warming pallets. Another advantage of using soapstone is that it is available at a relatively low cost. There are even a few types of soapstone that are quarried right here in America. Alberene soapstone is quar - ried in Virginia, from one of only two soapstone quarries in the United States. By purchasing this option, contractors will be supporting American-based busi - nesses. This specific type is a beautifully rich stone with less talc content, making it harder. Lastly, soapstone is easy to work with due to its softness. It was commonly used by Native Americans to carve bowls and cooking plates, obviously without the aid of power tools. This example serves to adequately highlight the malleability of 32 LC DBM SOAP STONE A NEW ALTERNATIVE TO MARBLE by Greg Frank, LC/DBM Right There are several advantages of including soapstone in your hardscapes located near or around pools. When it is not waxed, soapstone provides ample traction and will not become dangerously slippery when wet. Also, due to its darker coloration, soapstone is excellent at absorbing and retaining heat, making the pool deck nice and warm on sunny days. Additionally, the distinct coloration allows it to dry off quicker due to evaporation. However, it is important to remember that soapstone is nonporous, so the incorporation of a proper drainage system will help ensure there is no standing water. If the hardscape gets chipped, it can be easily fixed by hand with some sandpaper to soften the edges.

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