FAQ’s

General FAQ’s

What is Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes?
Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes is an award winning residential and landscape and hardscape  design and build firm.

What do you mean by design and build?
Design and build means that Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes will meet with you, discuss what your thoughts and needs are and then create a comprehensive plan to fit those needs.  We also build our projects. From start to finish, you are only dealing with one company – not several different companies.

What is the difference between a landscape and a hardscape?
As opposed to the plantings, hardscaping includes all the non-planting design elements of a landscape including paved walkways, retaining walls, patios, fences, firepits/fireplaces, and rocks. Hardscaping in essence represents the foundation and anchor of landscaping plans.

What are the most popular landscape/hardscape design trends right now?
We are currently seeing a large increase in clients wanting functional outdoor living spaces. This can include outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, dining areas, kitchens, and built-in grill areas.

What about our landscaping budget?
Our designers take an individual approach to each project to bring out the unique features of your home or business.  We create designs that seek to give you the greatest value for your investment.  We work within your budget to achieve the most dramatic results.

Should you do-it-yourself or hire a professional?
Professional design and installation greatly enhances the value and appearance of your home. Conversely, poor design and installation also gets noticed. A professional designer will put the proper plants in the proper spots and/or design your hardscape to best complement your home and land. You will get proper drainage and grading which prevent hidden things that could have adverse effects in years to come.

Do you just provide designs?
No, we do not just provide the design and release it. Designing the 3D virtual model of the project that we are proposing is time consuming as you can imagine and stays the property of PSW.  Please read below for how the process on becoming a PSW client occurs.

How does the process work?

1. Our office manager will obtain as much preliminary information as possible in order to connect you with the design consultant within our company that can best  help you .

2. If you are just looking for a very general idea as to cost, we can send you a budgetary slideshow to see if we are within your budget range

3. If you wish to proceed, our design consultant will meet with you at your home, take measurements, discuss your ideas and get a firm understanding of what you would like your project to include.We put together a formal proposal with all costs (For larger projects that will require a 3D virtual design, we have you sign a Design Construction Contract and have you place a deposit on your project.  Once our 3D virtual design and proposal is complete, we set up a presentation to show you the design and review the proposal and costs. We make any nips/tucks and customize to your liking. )

4. Upon acceptance of our proposal, a contract is drawn up to include all items listed in the proposal and we set you on our schedule.

 

How long will it take to get started?
We fill our schedule very early – sometimes 6-12 months ahead depending on the scope of the project. It is best to contact us as soon as you know you want to add outdoor living to your home.

Do you offer just estimates?
No. Sorry we do not offer this service.  We also do not provide insurance estimates.

Do you rent out your equipment?
No.

Do you install retaining walls?
Yes, if it is part of a larger project, we will install retaining walls as needed. If you are looking only for a retaining wall, we are happy to recommend someone who can provide this service.

Do you repair work done by others?
We do not do basic repair work on landscapes or hardscaping. We are a design and build firm. We would be happy to renovate an area or make necessary repairs if part of a larger project, but if you are looking for a simple repair work, we are happy to recommend someone who can provide this service.

Can I trust that I am working with an experienced company?
Our designers have an average of 25 years of experience.  Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes’  installation crew has an average of 20 years of installation experience.  We can provide you directly with client references, and we invite you to read our testimonials on our website!

Landscape FAQ’s

Do you mow lawns?
No, we do not mow lawns. We are happy to recommend someone who can provide this service.

Do you provide monthly landscaping maintenance services?
No, we do not provide this service, although we do provide bi-annual maintenance to our clients: spring openings (total landscape cleanup, remulch, etc.) and fall closings (final cleanup and prep for the winter months including pruning, raking, etc.)

When is the best time to install a landscape?
Generally. the best time of year for landscape installation is early spring.  However, landscapes can be installed year round as long as weather conditions allow.  In our Pittsburgh climate, the weather conditions allow us to plant right up until the ground freezes.  The summer months are also okay for planting as long as it’s not too hot.  Even in the heat, with proper care and watering, plant installation can be successful.

Does professional landscape require higher maintenance and care?
A good design will take into consideration the maintenance level and care you wish to. Landscapes do not necessarily need expensive care, but no matter how good your original design is, it will need some care to maintain its beauty and value. Staying current with pruning, plant replacement and mulch materials will extend the value of your landscape. Proper care will give you the longest life and delay costly replacement of the entire landscape.

Do you guarantee your plant material?
Yes, for the period of one year. All trees, shrubs and perennials are guaranteed to be true to name, and in healthy growing condition. We will replace one time, any plant that does not survive, provided that it has received proper care and has not been damaged.

We are not obligated to replace plants that fail to grow due to neglect, extreme weather conditions, such as drought or water restrictions, or any plant that has been overwintered in a container.

Do you install lawns?

Yes, if it is part of a project we are doing, we will do lawn work as needed.  If you are interested only in lawn installation, we are happy to recommend someone who can provide this service.

Contractor FAQ’s

What makes us different than other contractors?
We have the trade partners available so we can serve as your general contractor and you do not have to deal with several different subs on different aspects of the job. One “go to” person is all you will deal with at Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes.

What is the importance of the BBB?
The Better Business Bureau responds to complaints from consumers against any company. A company does not need to be a BBB member for the Bureau to open a file and follow up on a complaint.  A company that does not have any complaints against it but is not a member of the BBB will not show up on the website. A company that has nothing but complaints against it will show up as a problem company.

One of the biggest advantages for consumers who use the Better Business Bureau is that they can see the details of how the company responds to complaints. The website will list exactly how many complaints have been filed, the nature of each complaint and how the company responded. If you see a company with a lot of complaints that have gone unresolved, then that is not the kind of company you want to do business with.

The important thing to remember about the Better Business Bureau is that not every company listed is there because it has complaints against it. You need to read the website and pay attention to its information to get the kind of data you need to decide whether or not you want to do business with a particular organization. It can be your protection against companies that have developed a history of deceiving consumers.

Water Feature FAQ’s

What is a water feature?
This is the “newer” term to describe a water related landscape feature to your property such as a pond, pondless waterfall, and bubblers. Each water feature is a custom creation, as imagined by the mind of the professional pond artist according to your wishes as set out at your design consultation.

How long does a water feature installation usually take?
This depends on the design and the magnitude of the project. Installation could be done in as little as one day or span out over a week or two.

What is a pondless water feature?
With a pond-free system, your waterfall will fall into a receiving area of stone or gravel. Under the rocks, there will be a reservoir where the water is collected and pumped back to the top of the waterfall. You can enjoy the sight and sound of a waterfall without the maintenance of a pond!

Is it cheaper to get a pondless water feature?
No, the installation costs are generally the same with or without a pond, although overall maintenance is cheaper and easier.

Do you service and/or repair ponds?
No, we generally do not do pond repairs (with the exception of our clients). If you are looking to rebuild or have your existing pond completed renovated, yes, we do that.

Do you do indoor fountains?
No, we do not.

Hardscape FAQ’s

What is a concrete paver, and how does it differ than poured or stamped concrete?
After we evaluate your goals and means for a patio, poolside, driveway, or walkway, you will be able to decide if pavers or concrete is right for you.  Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes specializes in concrete pavers, as we believe in the longevity concrete pavers provides for the Pittsburgh climate.

Concrete pavers (or paving stones) are laid in pieces on a sand base in individual sections. Pavers are made from various materials like natural stone, concrete or brick. The process is a very flexible system that is extremely durable. Most importantly, these pavers move as the ground freezes and thaws which make for much less repairwork, and even if a paver needs repaired, it can be replaced in just the piece that is damaged.

Poured concrete slabs are a traditional, fairly low maintenance possibility. A poured slab, of course, doesn’t allow for weeds to grow in between. For a small area, this could be more budget friendly. Just remember, while a concrete slab is more affordable upfront, the long-term costs for repairs and/or replacements will almost always outweigh the initial savings.

Pavers are guaranteed for a lifetime; our workmanship on paver installation is 3 years.  We offer no guarantees for concrete work.

Regardless, Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes can work either choice into your design that best suits you and your budget.

Will the pavers be slippery?
No, their surface texture is ideal for obtaining safe traction in pedestrian, vehicular, and pool applications, even when wet.

Can I use pavers around a swimming pool?
Stone pavers enhance the aesthetic appeal around the pool. Not only is the paving stone stronger than concrete, but it can withstand large amounts of traffic. Paving stones also provide a slip resistant surface to walk on, which can be easily lifted and re-laid should any service be required under the pool deck.

Will snow removal affect my pavers?
Pavers can be plowed or shoveled just like concrete or asphalt flooring. Do not chop or use sharp objects to break away any ice on the surface of your paved surface. Although salt will not ultimately damage your pavers, non-corrosive de-icing products are recommended.

Do I need to seal the pavers?
Pavers are extremely durable, so you do not need to seal to make them last longer. Sealing, however, may enhance the colors and may prevent staining. If you choose to seal, allow a minimum of 60-90 days after completion of the installation before sealing.  Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes does not provide sealing services but can point you in the right direction.

How soon after the installation can I use my driveway or patio?
Typically, once all the aspects of proper installation are completed your project will be ready for immediate use.

My new pavers have a white film on them. What do I do to get rid of it?
The film (efflorescence) on your pavers is caused by moisture and natural salts settling on the surface of your pavers. The best thing to do is letting it naturally weather on its own.