Rumford Fireplace

The Rumford Fireplace was invented in 1796 by Count Rumford. He designed them to be the most efficient residential wood burning fireplace in the world, and for 200 years the record still stands.

Count Rumford’s success in this fireplace design, along with several other inventions including a new naval signalling strategy, earned him a knighthood and position as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

These beautiful wood burning fireplaces live either inside the home, or as an element of an outdoor entertainment area. Heavily depending on masonry skill for assemblage, Genesis loves installing these fireplaces. Take a look at some of the photos below to see why. It’s a classic style, colonial ingenuity, and expert craftsmanship in a trinity of wood heating.

[Figure 1] Rumford fireplace via rumford.com.

[Figure 2] Rumford fireplace closeup via rumford.com.

[Figure 3] Rumford fireplace via rumford.com.

What makes the fireplace “work” is the idea of increased airflow through the chimney. Conventional fireplaces leave wide open space above the flame, allowing cold air to mix with the hot air from the flame. This creates turbulence and back-flow, and smoke begins to leak from the chimney into the room or living area.

A Rumford fireplace solves this problem by reducing the space above the fire to a narrow opening, which does not open until the top of the chimney. The hot air from the fire heats the clay chimney bricks, creating even more air flow. The shallow base brings the back wall closer to the fireplace, and the radiant heat from the flames disperse into the room more easily. Not only do Rumford fireplaces burn cleaner, they also burn hotter.

Gas burning Rumford’s also work like a charm, capitalizing on the style of the masonry and efficiency of natural gas. The principles behind the wood burning stoves hold true with natural gas, fumes from the fire stream through the efficient chimney system, while heat radiates throughout the space. The only question left is which stone patterns and colors to choose!

Pre-manufactured hearths guarantee that quality standards are met, while also cutting installation costs.  Genesis takes pride in the outdoor entertainment area’s we’ve created over the years, and highly recommend the use of pre-manufactured Rumford fireplaces for outdoor heating. Allow us to create a Rumford stove and surprise you with its efficiency and style.

To view more examples of beautiful Rumford fireplaces, visit rumford.com. Jim Buckley is an expert in these stoves. Then come on back and get your free estimate on installation and design by Genesis!

Call us today for a free in-home consultation at 888.389.5533, fill out our free estimate form online, or email us at info at genesisstoneworks.com. We’d love to design your outdoor paradise.

Driveway Pavers Installation

The difference between a professional construction team, and an amateur ‘weekend warrior’ is obvious. Detail.

Consider the photo depicted in figure 1. When there’s limited access to install a back patio or walkway, sometimes the only solution is a straight line. The straight line can lead right through the front and rear exits of the home.

When Genesis consults on a project, access represents a key concern. Pricing and the time-table of the project depend heavily on the distance between crew vehicles and supplies and the paved area. Our goal is to get your home back to 110% as soon as possible, and sometimes this means unconventional measures.

Special Access Project

[Figure 1] This project required special access through the home to reach a back patio.

In figure 1 left, the crew’s only access leads right through the home. To protect against damage and dirt, Genesis developed a specific technique for through-the-home access. In figure 1, notice the tarp covering the floor, nearby cabinets, and furniture. This ensures not dirt, dust, or pebbles touch the residence. Temporary plywood flooring above the tarp further protects from grime and scratches.

Upon project completion, the crew rolls up the tarp and reveals the spotless condition of the pathway. It’s like Genesis was never even there, except for the beautiful new outdoor feature that neighbors will envy for years to come. This writer recommends inviting the neighbors over to gloat, I mean dinner.

For all your outdoor remodeling visions, contact Genesis today. Many members of our design team have been with us for 15 years or more, so we have the experience needed to raise your expectations of your property. Allow us to surprise you. For a free estimate, call toll free 888.389.5533 or visit our free estimate page.

Pool Fill: Remodeling with Purpose

In the world of home investment, swimming pools are a questionable feature. While useful for family get-togethers and outdoor excursions, many consider pools to be a liability which lower the value of the property. Many home owners and property investors choose to fill swimming pools, eliminating the need for maintenance and liability concerns.

Crews can remove a pool using several different techniques including semi-permanent pool covers, partial removal, and complete removal of the concrete or fiberglass structure. Figure 1 shows a Genesis crewman filling a swimming pool with clean dirt, completing a partial pool removal.

[Figure 1] Pool Fill Process: Compaction

 Several factors to consider when deciding whether to fill an in-ground swimming pool:

Evaporation. Uncovered pools constantly lose water through evaporation, which increases the water bill.

Chemical Reduction. Most swimming pools require the use of hazardous chemicals (when concentrated) to keep the pool clean.

Injury Liability. If someone becomes injured in the pool, insurance companies usually hold the home owner responsible. Remove the pool, and remove the liability.

Leaks leading to failure or repairs. If the pool develops a crack and leaks into the subsoil, erosion could cause the pool to fail. If the leak is caught before an accident occurs, a repair can still be costly.

Partial removal, as in figure 1, means the demolition of the pool floor, while leaving the side walls intact. This allows water to pass freely to the water table and avoid flooding. If the home is sold after the pool filling project, the partial structure in the yard should be revealed to the buyers. Future construction and landscaping in the area may depend on the knowledge of buried structures.

Complete removals involve the demolition of the pool floor, side walls, plumbing, and pool motors. This most costly option takes the property back to square one. While the hole gets filled with clean dirt, also consider adding nutrients to the top soil. This aids in plant health for future landscaping. Starting from scratch (literally) allows home owners to create a landscape to match their tastes and styles, a genuine expression of pride in ownership.

Whether transformed into a Japanese garden, or play area for the grand-children, the gained square footage from filling a pool can add both monetary and intrinsic value to the home. We’re sure you’ll love the results.

Contact Genesis today for a free in-home consultation. We’d love to help you traverse this important decision which affects your property. Reach us toll free at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.

Showcase: Bishop’s Hat Paving Pattern

Bishop's Hat Paving Stone

[Figure 1] Bishop’s Hat Paving Stone

In today’s product showcase, we focus on Bishop’s hat stone. A unique block with five sides, the angular stones create striking patterns and brilliant contrasts. This versatile stone posses an integral part of the designer’s handbook. The asymmetrical stone opens design possibilities, is readily available from most major manufacturers, and offers a long history of design and installation use. This article outlines why bishop’s hat pavers will be around for years to come.

In Figure 2 below, we see several alternate patterns for bishop’s hat stone. Often combined with an 8″x8″ square block, the asymmetrical symmetry of this stone stands apart from other rectangular bricks. The running bond pattern on the far right doesn’t utilize 8×8 stones to complete the pattern, but the two patterns on the left are only 2 of the options available when subsidizing with differently shaped stones.

Bishop's Hat Patterns Graphic

[Figure 2] Bishop’s Hat Pattern samples

Each manufacturer offers alternate installations specs and patterns for bishop’s hat stone. For designers and home owners, this opens a wide range of highly unique patterns. Rather than reinvent the wheel, designers can pick a pattern which meets their guidelines and client taste. There’s a reason why manufacturers offer pattern schematics, because they work.

[Figure 3] Bishop’s Hat Stone on Pool Deck

The many pattern combinations of bishop’s stone exceed the options provided in Figure 2 above. Unique color combinations further extend the options of this diverse product. When designing with 8×8 squares, consider accenting with alternate high contrast colors for the squares. Figure 3 below demonstrates one possible combination for a beautifully designed pool deck. Many manufacturers offer unique color blends and finishes for bishop’s hat stone, just another benefit of high competition in the concrete block manufacturing game.

Bishop’s hat pavers prove time and again a crux for hardscape designers everywhere. With wide support from the manufacturing community, replacement stones will be readily available in the unlikely event of cracking or stains. Give us a call and see how we can use bishop’s hat to beautify your property. Remodeling outdoor spaces since 1993, Genesis excels in bringing visions to life. Call 888.389.5533 for a free in-home consultation, or visit our free estimate page.

Paving a Steep Driveway

Steep Driveway Paving Graphic

[Figure 1]
Steep Driveway Paving Graphic

Steep hillsides pose some of the most difficult challenges to driveway paving installers.

If not installed correctly, natural forces and seasonal weather could cause the driveway to fail. These failures not only damage the driveway, but also any structures or vehicles down-slope of the failure.

Several construction techniques ensure the driveway lasts for years to come. Figure 1 above outlines several of the features including reinforced concrete headers, geo-textile, and drainage mats to protect against erosion from seasonal rains.

Reinforced concrete headers hold up-hill pavers in place, while reducing forces on downhill soil and pavers. The entire driveway is set on a layer of compacted subsoil and class two base, but these concrete headers extend below both these foundations. An independent layer of base supports this rebar-enforced header. This crushed granite foundation ensures water or moister won’t affect the header, and also protect against soil movement.

On the uphill side of this header is a drainage mat to protect against erosion from seasonal rains. A combination of geo-textile and plastic matting. This feature directs water away from the driveway towards a drainage gutter. If water is NOT directed off the driveway, the flow can accelerate and wash joint sand from driveway stones. Once the joint sand is washed away and water begins flowing under stones, driveway failure is eminent. Drainage mats, along with a few installation trade secrets, protects the driveway from destructive water flow. Furthermore, this water runoff can be collected and used for landscaping in the future. Some technologies that collect this runoff are rain barrels and detention basins with water safe plants.

Geo-textile materials also increase the endurance and lifespan of steeply sloped driveway installations. While air and moisture pass freely through the material, soil, roots, and pests have difficulty passing through this barrier. This ensures the pavers remain level years after installation. The geo-textile also helps prevent soil movement and keeps silt out of the crushed granite base.

[Figure 2] Steeply sloped driveway installation by Genesis

Genesis prides itself in displaying it’s technical success in steeply graded paving projects. Licensed heavily enough to build cities (see list below), Genesis is more than prepared to take on challenging projects like the driveway in Figure 2. With the experience, man power, and certifications to serve, we’d love to bid on your project! For a free in-home consultation call us at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.

Lic# 758056:  A-General Engineering, B-General Building, C29-Masonry, C27-Landscaping, C53-Swimming Pools, C61-Interlocking Paving, C1-Electrical, D06-Concrete Related Services.

5 Concrete Patio Designs that Rock (Literally)

We searched our image database to bring you some of the most interesting patio designs that incorporate natural stone designs. Natural stone, while very beautiful, can also be more expensive than manufactured stone. To provide the best service to our customers, we often suggest natural appearing stone or using natural stone as an accent to concrete pavers.

Take a look at these photos and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Hope you enjoy!

Patio #2

Patio #2, river stone wall-bench combo with grey bull-nose wall cap.

Patio #1

Patio #1, incorporates natural stone in garden retaining wall.

Patio #4

Patio #4, rustic pavers framed by natural field stone and green shrubs. A stack stone water fall finishes the ensemble.

Patio #3

Patio #3, this flagstone patio looks warm and inviting, makes a great evening getaway!

Patio #5

Patio #5, neutral hue pavers accented with split face fire-pit. The stone cap of the fire-pit adds a sharp finish!

Genesis is a home remodeling specialist serving Southern California since 1993. For a free in-home consultation call us at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.

Vinyl Fencing: The New White Picket Fence

For decades the American Dream demanded white picket fences, green lawns, and gentle rays of sunshine behind dripping glasses of icy lemonade. That’s day number one. On day number two, a neighborhood kid runs a bicycle into the fence and scratches it. Day number three, termites move into the exposed wood under the scratch. Day number four finds you out in the scorching Summer sun replacing segments of wooden fence just to wait for the next repair. Dreams become nightmares far too easily. That’s why Genesis recommends Vinyl Fencing for high traffic areas.

Alternative: set up a white picket fence, without ever worrying about maintenance. Scratches, fading, pests, and even water won’t destroy these panels.

This relatively young innovation, first created in the 1960s, preserves the classic American look so many people enjoy without problems of wood fencing. Options range between perimeter fencing, privacy fence, and even sophisticated gate segments. Each fence can be topped with lattice, post caps, and other decorative elements. The most prominent benefits of the synthetic fence panels are the material’s ability to resist fading and scratching. Through-color construction and UV resistance mean the panels retain their original colors even in the event of a deep cut or scratch.

The graphic below shows examples of Genesis’s Vinyl Fence collection. To read more about Vinyl Fencing visit http://genesiswalls.com/vinylfencing/. To schedule a Free in-home estimate (Southern CA) call 888.389.5533 or visit our contact page.

vinyl fencing graphic

Artificial Turf: The Key to Water Efficiency

Families in the United states use about 400 million gallons of water a year, 30% of which goes towards outdoor uses. That’s about 120 million gallons of water a year that nobody drinks or showers with. (via EPA.gov) In another study sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources, data shows that 54% of California households use more than the theoretical irrigation requirement (view pdf). This monumental waste factor reduces the availability of drinking water and adds to California’s water sustainability problem. (Check out this article by Time U.S.)

California instituted several programs to curb urban and residential water usage, such as the “Flex Our Water” campaign http://www.saveourh2o.org/. Many of the tips and best practices include using localized plants, creating a water plan, and maintaining water systems.

Artificial Turf represents an alternative solution to curb outdoor water use and maintain the beautiful green lawn cherished by homeowners.

Figure 1: Olive Turf by Genesis Turf Works. View the full product line at genesisturfworks.com/types

In the past, artificial turf found it’s home in sports arenas. Recent product advancements bring the synthetic ground-cover into residential spaces. Artificial turf used to create fake-looking lawns spotted from a mile away, and were not generally considered a wise design choice. Softer and more realistic than ever, it’s hard to tell the difference between artificial and real grass in a side by side comparison. For me the secret is in the thatch.

The term “thatch” describes the organic material in natural grass that builds up over time. Lawn clippings, dead grass, leaves, and sticks from nearby foliage make up this organic ground cover. Artificial turf generates no waste and requires no maintenance, but also contained no thatch. Until now.

Responding to market pressures, manufacturers began creating synthetic turf with thatch included (see figure 1). Coming in brown, green, or both, the thatch looks full and healthy.

The reader may ask, “Ok, so it looks alright. But how does it feel? Isn’t artificial turf plastic and hard?”

The reader would be right. Synthetic grass used to be hard. Advances in product manufacturing, however, make synthetic fibers softer than ever. An artificial lawn can actually be softer than a real lawn. Un-watered lawns become crispy, but artificial turf stays soft and green 365 days a year without pesticides, fertilizers, or water.

Environmental impacts of synthetic grass often concern home owners. Does this new style of turf hurt the planet?

Artificial turf excels in many areas of environmental sustainability including water runoff, protecting native soil bacterias, and recycle-ability.The perforated backing on artificial turf allows water and air to pass freely through the grass. This would sustains the natural organisms in the soil, and avoid flooding during rainy seasons. Also, the gravel and sand base which supports the grass helps maintain the flow of oxygen through air and water to the soil. The gravel absorbs water more quickly than native soil and helps reduce water runoff and flooding. Manufacturers often use recycled materials to make synthetic grass, and artificial turf can be recycled after it’s life in service. What a great list of features!

California offers big incentives for switching to artificial turf. The SoCal WaterSmart $1 /sq.ft. rebate for turf replacement includes artificial turf and permeable paver installations. Visit the site to learn about the rebate system and how to take advantage of it: socalwatersmart.com

If you’re interested in learning more about artificial turf, or want to install at your home, visit genesisturfworks.com or call 888.389.5533. We’d love to share our enthusiasm about this wonderful product!

Native Plants for Landscape Design

Posted by | Filed under Artificial Turf, Landscaping | Jun 27, 2012 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

According to archaeological evidence, the first farmers began to “landscape design” about 12,000 years ago. Yep, agriculture is a form of landscape design, and so is gardening.  The first men and women who walked the earth were  part of a complex ecosystem, one that required enhancement to supply human needs: food, shelter, and comfort.  This farming lifestyle shaped culture, defined history, and produced today’s diverse world of unique peoples.

Today the art and science of landscape design bears slight resemblance to it’s humble beginnings, surpassing our ancestors’ wildest predictions.  A variety of outdoor spaces are now designed for human needs; homes, public spaces, and vast parks are all designed and engineered for human pleasure.  These spaces are created not for food or shelter, but for enjoyment and to preserve the cultures and traditions of the past.  Integral to these landscape designs are the plants and materials chosen to define these spaces.

Michael Pollan, world renown author and food journalist, explores the human psychology of plant selection in his book Botany of Desire (2007).  His four categories of plant selection are:

  1. 1. Sweetness (apples)
  2. 2. Beauty (such as a rose garden)
  3. 3. Pleasure
  4. 4. Control (Pollan uses the potato and other agricultural crops for this example)

These desires drive designers and home owners to select the “best” plants to put in outdoor spaces.  Sometimes these plants are invasive species, such as apples.  Other times plants are selected for their unique abilities, such as climbing vines.  In a perfect world each home owner would select plants that are the most colorful, bear the sweetest fruit, and adapt to the environment they are placed in.  Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.

Landscape Design by Jens Jensen via AnotomicallyCorrect.org

Booming populations and drought concerns introduce conflict to the landscape design industry.  Los Angeles and Las Vegas are two cities at risk of water shortages.  Las Vegas is slowly sinking because of strain on the water table below the city.  Los Angeles, demand having already exceeded it’s natural water resources, currently pipes water from hundreds of miles away and even submitted plans to pipe water from the Great Lakes.  Statewide water concerns led California to introduce the Save our Water initiative.  The state of water usage for these cities in five years is difficult to judge.  One thing is for sure, landscape design is no longer a “bed of roses”.

Individuals seeking a soothing backyard retreat face a conflict: waste water on a lush creation, or endure scorching temperatures and prickly plants?

For the resolution let’s turn to a father of native plant selection. Jens Jensen, making a name for himself in the early 1900s, studied landscape architecture and pioneered the use of native plants and materials for outdoor designs.  He created gardens and parks that communicated meaning about the structures, open spaces, and swimming pools his work surrounded.  His secret?  A philosophical outlook and an understanding of natural beauty.  In his own words:

A true expression of native talent is not found in the pompous gardens of large estates.  For true expression you must look in the simple gardens of the common folk.  Here is found a true art that has grown out of the soil and out of the heart of those people. They belong!  They fit!  They tell the true story of the loving hands which created them.

-Jens Jensen, Siftings (1939)

Genesis maintains a list of native-friendly and complimentary plants for use in landscape design.  These plants are beautiful, conserve water, and many are drought resistant.  Here are a couple luscious examples of  native Southern California plants  proving that water savings and beauty can exist in the same backyard.  For a free in-home consultation call us at 800.287.5400, visit our contact page at genesisstoneworks.com/contact, or email us at info@genesisstoneworks.com.

Row of African Sumac Trees

African Sumac, drought resistant once established.

Bicolor Iris

Dietes bicolor (Moraea bicolor), useful in rock gardens, fire resistant.


Paver Sealant: Standing the Test of Time

Posted by | Filed under Patios, Pools and Pool Decks, Retaining Walls, Stone Pavers | Jun 22, 2012 | No Comments

Example of Paver Sealant | Ref# DW0078

Interlocking concrete pavers are beautiful and dynamic. Well designed outdoor spaces with good color and pattern selection can be absolutely stunning. This home, right, is a great example. Paving stones also endure the elements better than almost any other paving material applied today. They simply last.

However, there is one aspect of pavers that can change with time. As dust, routine traffic, and hard water work on the pavers the original colors can fade and tarnish. A quick power-washing often revitalizes the paving stones by removing embedded dust. What happens when the pavers are stained with oil or rubber? How do you keep dirt from the pavers in the first place?

Enter paver sealant.

A powerful product, solvent based sealant was used for years to protect driveways and patios. The coating enhances the color of the pavers, protects the stones from erosion, and also seals the stones from stains. Oil and rubber marks can simply be wiped away from sealed concrete stone. For years Genesis used this solvent based sealer with stunning results. Paved surfaces were left with a high gloss sheen that have stood the test of time.

However, recent EPA regulations have limited solvent based solutions in California. The VOC, volatile organic compound, rating for the solvent sealer was well above the new environmental standard. The only remaining product is a highly limited water-based sealant.  The penetration of this water-based product is far less than the solvent-based sealer, with visibly inferior results. This caused Genesis to shy away from stone sealant altogether.

Developments in recent years, however, have allowed Genesis to offer stone sealant once again, this time water based. This new eco-friendly product reduces VOC, volatile organic compounds, in the air and penetrates deeply enough to bond well and protect the pavers.

Summary of benefits:

  1. Enhance the color of the pavers.
  2. Protect stones from erosion and wear.
  3. Protect stones from stains.

Call us today to get a quote on interlocking paver sealant at 800.287.5400, or visit our contact page.

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