Great weather, great products and a strong market were all enjoyed at last week’s 9th annual Hardscape North America (HNA) event held in Louisville, Ky. HNA is co-located annually with GIE+EXPO (Green Industry & Equipment Expo). Combined, these events featured the current trends in landscape design, maintenance, and light construction for the landscape industry. While most of the displays were packed with lawnmowers, horticulture supplies, and tree trimmers, masonry was also well represented.
In the past decade, masonry elements have been garnering support in the landscape marketplace. The traditional view that “masonry” being only assemblages bonded by mortar is starting to blur. During the last economic downturn, many mason contractors took any project including hardscapes and paver installation just to stay in business. And now, many contractors continue to stay in this industry segment.
The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), HNA’s producer, reported a 4% increase in attendance at HNA over the 2015 numbers. David Smith, ICPI’s technical director, told me that the HNA exhibit space was sold out forcing ICPI to position its booth in the conference hall’s lobby. Plans are underway to expand the HNA footprint for the 2016 show.
HNA is playing an important role in educating landscape contractors about masonry. This year’s HNA featured outdoor fireplaces and retaining walls, along with pavers. One of the exhibition’s key events is the HNA Awards Reception. ICPI recognized outstanding hardscape projects and the contractors who built them in residential and commercial applications. The winning projects showcase the industry’s best-of-the-best in hardscape design and construction. The 75 entries were judged on design, construction, craftsmanship, innovation, and overall excellence. The winners are posted on the ICPI web site, www.icpi.org.
Several key masonry associations provided seminars and live demonstrations on how to use masonry products. ICPI conducted their installer certifications programs. Additionally The Brick Industry Association (BIA) and the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) had key technical staff on hand to answer contractor and designer questions.
Contractors were also invited to participate in a competition that tested their knowledge, craftsmanship, and endurance. This year’s HNA Installer Championship had 12 teams battling in the outdoor pavilion at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Each team was challenged to demonstrate its creativity, skill, and efficiency in paver and segmental retaining wall installation. D and B Contractors earned the title of 2015 HNA Installer Championship.
Deck subfloor for pavers: With this all-weather modular system, outdoor decks and walkways can be converted from wood to stone, pavers, or brick. Applications include decks, roof tops, and stairs. Silca System. www.silcasystem.com