Revitalize Your Agricultural Education, Horticulture, or Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs by Using Concrete Pavers to Teach Patio Designs

Article excerpt

A strong and exciting secondary agricultural education, horticulture, or SAE program is a necessity in all schools. Consequently, the agriculture teacher must possess a variety of knowledge, skills, and expertise. The agriculture teacher also needs appropriate curriculum and instructional aides to support the secondary program. Depending upon your program, agriculture teachers are responsible for many disciplines including animal science, horticulture and plant science, mechanics, biotechnology, and environmental science. One more discipline to add is that of landscape design. Although landscape design technically falls under the scope of horticulture, many schools offer a class solely in landscaping.

Why Concrete Pavers?

The concept of tightly fitted paving units on a granular base is very old. The first segmental roads were built in 5000 BC by the Minoans on the island of Crete. With free labor and a military dominance, the Romans built the first interstate system with segmental pavement over 2,000 years ago. Since then, practically every culture continues to use segmental pavements.

Using concrete pavers for hardscaping is one of the fastest growing trends in the landscape industry. People are spending more time outside through indoor and outdoor space transitions and they want their outdoor space to look aesthetically pleasing. Concrete pavers offer the customers many choices in the areas of color, shape and design. This high demand has created another opportunity for landscapers to pursue.

The term hardscape is used almost exclusively by the landscape industry and it may never appear in standard dictionaries. Even among landscapers, the term only recently entered the industry jargon. Simply stated, hardscape is everything that is part of the landscape composition other than plant materials. Much of it functions to enclose or surface portions of the landscape, but there are other important functions as well. One point is indisputable: when hardscape is part of the composition, a landscape will never be perceived as being totally natural. Whether the landscape is then seen as being marred by human intervention or improved by it depends upon the artistry of the designer and the craftsmanship of the installer.

Hardscaping - Working in the 21st Century

Landscaping is one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture, with hardscaping emerging as one of the brightest spots in landscaping. Again, hardscaping involves all the features of the landscape that are not living. Some examples would include decks, trellises, fences, boulders, water features, patios and walls. In the past, patios, walks, and walls were designed using poured concrete and cement blocks, but that is changing. Patios are increasingly being designed using concrete pavers. Concrete pavers are blocks that come in many shapes and colors and are very durable and pleasing to the eye. The trend today is to connect your indoor rooms with outdoor spaces through hardscaping and concrete pavers are a great way to do this. With this increasing demand for a skill comes an increasing demand to teach these methods correctly to our students.

There are many texts to use as resources and several lessons online. But, there is a need for a thorough curriculum on constructing patios using concrete pavers. This has led me to design a curriculum using concrete pavers to construct patios that will be available through the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at Penn State University. …

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