Posts Tagged ‘Permeable’


Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Porous concrete has been a passion of mine ever since the second job we did with it failed in 2006.  The surface had raveled, it became loose like gravel, starting a couple of months after it was installed.  At the time I was unaware just how sensitive this product can be.  I take some comfort these days now knowing that I wasn’t alone in my underestimation of how tricky pervious concrete is to install.  As it turns out around 50% of pervious / porous / permeable concrete installations are considered failures.  This is true in spite of the fact that it has been used in the U.S. for over 30 years now.

Since that initial failure I have dedicated myself to making our porous concrete installations more reliable.  We certainly can’t afford to go replacing half of our jobs.  In the process too, I decided it should be better looking.  Regular pervious concrete with its chunky, rice crispy treat looking appearance may be acceptable for certain industrial applications, but it isn’t a realistic aesthetic option for most of our residential clients.

The result of this dedication incorporating years of research & product testing, is what I call’PrettyPervious’.  PerkTop™ is more of a process than an actual product.  The process has to do with overlaying a thin layer of a finer, colored pervious concrete over regular pervious concrete, as it is being laid and is still in its plastic state.  The aggregate in PerkTop™ is so fine that from just a short distance the concrete looks like regular concrete and it certainly doesn’t look like it has the permeability that it has.  Our clients are always surprised at how much water just flows right through that tight, smooth surface.  Sometimes they even break out their 9″ stiletto high heels and parade around on it or don their roller skates and glide across it, because they can do these activities on our very ADA compliant version of pervious concrete!

By the way, the job that failed, we were able to make good on.  In the process of creating PerkTop™, we discovered that we could also make a version of it that was capable of overlaying on cured pervious concrete.  Therefore we removed the loose, raveled stone to get to the solid base and applied our modified PerkTop™ on top.  We now have a solid, attractive expanse of pervious concrete, without having had to remove and replace all that material.


EarthCare Landscaping

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

EarthCare Landscaping was founded in Cupertino, CA in 1994 by Ryan Marlinghaus. Since its inception EarthCare has been dedicated to preserving the environment including people & their pets. We have performed over $15 million in landscaping work over these last 15 plus years. All this work has contributed to a sizable savings to the environment, go to How We Do It for more specifics.

We are a small company, currently employing 12 full time dedicated landscapers, go to EarthCare Team to learn more about us as individuals. We have had our share of ups & downs, but have always stood behind our word on the rare occasions when things didn’t work out right. We feel this approach is a major contributor to our large, continual base of loyal customers. We deeply appreciate all the relationships that have happened over the years and the trust & respect our clients have shown us.

We endeavor to treat our employees with the same respect afforded us by our clients, which is probably why our employees tend to stick around. The average length of employment for an EarthCare employee is over 6 years. Most of our employees already came to us with landscaping experience as well, so combined we have an awesome amount of landscape know-how. We pay our employees livable wages and share the profits of EarthCare with them as well.

We have primarily done residential remodel work, but we are interested in doing more commercial scale pervious concrete work. Our installation jobs vary in scope considerably, between $1000 & $150,000 in cost, with $40,000 being about the average these days. We have gained a reputation for providing very thorough & detailed bids, go to an installation bid to see why. We do not negotiate on our bids, only on the scope of the work. It doesn’t matter where you live, your age, gender, ethnicity, etc., we charge fixed costs that vary only due to site conditions & materials chosen.

Despite our commitment to sustainability and its sometimes more labor-intensive approach, we are able to keep our prices very competitive. On average this extra labor burden only adds 3% to the total cost of a project. We strive in all aspects of our business to keep our overhead down and our operations running efficiently so that our costs to you are minimized. It is a thin margin business.  We hope to make 10% net profits for the year & when that is achieved, half of it is shared with EarthCare’s employees.

EarthCare values its place in the community, so thank you for taking the time to visit our site and considering us for your next landscaping project!