Fall is the perfect time to sit out back, enjoy a beverage of choice and listen to the crickets. Finish off this scene with a beautiful outdoor space and you’ve got the perfect picture.
What’s that? You find it hard to relax when the weeds tickle your ankles, the wind hits you right in the face and you trip over the cracks in the concrete? Well, don’t just sit there … get to work.
A chosen path
These days stamped concrete has reached the peak of popularity, according to Heidi Drury, who with her husband Ken owns Diamond Central Building Materials in Placerville.
“If you get a good contractor it looks really good,” she said.
The Concrete Network, a group that educates homeowners, contractors, builders and designers on popular concrete techniques and applications, defines stamped concrete as “concrete that is designed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile and even wood.” It can be used for pool decks, driveways, entries, courtyards, patios and just about any other place.
Local customers often select designs that look natural and then add accent colors, Heidi said. Those accent colors cover the rainbow, from dark red to walnut to platinum grey.
Another popular choice for an even more natural look is a permeable path. Diamond Central Building Materials sells Ekoflo, a pour-in-place, permeable pavement that looks like river rocks … except these rocks never roll away as they are all bound together.
Homeowners with crushed stone or decomposed granite paths who are tired of wind and leaf blowers blowing away their paths also have a great option to keep their path beautiful. Pathway stabilizers pack down the dirt and eliminate dust, Heidi explained. She sells TechniSoil at the store, an easy-to-apply, EPA compliant liquid stabilizer.
Now that you have your chosen path … shouldn’t it lead somewhere?
Heidi has the perfect answer: an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Diamond Central Building Materials partners with HearthCo Inc. — a company right down the road in El Dorado that manufactures precast fireplace mantels, surrounds, wood mantels and custom built-in cabinetry. The outdoor pits burn propane and are low maintenance, which is a big selling point, Drury said.
Homeowners are also loading up their truck with river rock to create meandering “streambeds” in their yards, she added. Soon, Diamond Central Building Materials will start selling its rock in easy to carry bags for those smaller projects like landscaping around a tree or garden.
Another trend Heidi said she’s seen is adding stone veneers to the home, which give the home a natural feel and an upgraded look.
The word “natural” is used a lot by do-it-yourselfers and professionals, Heidi said. Gone are the days when red lava rock and white rock adorned outdoor spaced. These days people want their landscaping to blend in with their natural beauty of the area.
The Internet, countless DIY shows and that peek into a friend’s or neighbor’s home have opened homeowners’ eyes to the endless possibilities and, Heidi said, most customers come in with an idea of what they want.
“They say, ‘I saw this. I want this. What is it called?’”
It’s Heidi’s and Ken’s job to show customers their options and make sure they walk out the door with the right products for their climate and property. “We’re really out here to talk people out of purchases they don’t need,” Heidi explained.
Ken has been in the masonry and concrete field for more than 30 years. He and Heidi opened their store two years ago and have helped countless contractors and homeowners turn their dream projects into realties.
They also offer “how-to” advice but Heidi said she tries to steer people away from doing a big project without professional help. Sometimes experience is the best tool.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Visit Diamond Central Building Materials at 520 Truck St. in Placerville. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday. Call 530-344-1300.