Title:
Landscaping block and system for use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An “L”-shaped landscaping block provides a ledge for supporting concrete slabs used to create landscaping structures such as walkways, stairs and the like. A ridge or openings with protruding members on the bottom of the block engage a lower slab when used as a riser to create steps and prevents shifting of the riser and slabs relative to one another. Stands are provided which are pinned into the ground and support the landscape blocks from beneath to prevent shifting, heaving or sinking with the ground. Angled or curved landscaping blocks are used to created angled or curved corners. Profiled landscaping blocks and slabs are used to create lowered curbs at driveway accesses.



Inventors:
Mansour, Sami (Jaffray, CA)
Application Number:
10/900179
Publication Date:
08/25/2005
Filing Date:
07/28/2004
Assignee:
MANSOUR SAMI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01G9/28; E01C3/00; E01C5/00; E02D3/02; E02D5/00; E02D17/00; E02D29/00; E04B5/04; E04C1/39; E04C2/04; E04F11/02; E04F15/02; (IPC1-7): E02D3/02; E02D5/00; E02D17/00; E02D29/00; E04B5/04; E04C2/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WENDELL, MARK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parlee McLaws LLP (CGY) (CALGARY, AB, CA)
Claims:
1. A landscaping block comprising: an elongate body being substantially rectangular in cross-section having an upstanding portion extending along an outer and upper edge of the body for forming an inset ledge along an inner and upper edge of the body for supporting at least a portion of a first substantially flat member thereon; and restraining means for engaging between a bottom edge of the body and an adjacent lower structure for restraining movement of the body relative to the lower structure, when engaged.

2. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the restraining means further comprises a downwardly depending ridge formed along the bottom inner edge of the landscaping block for engaging an edge of lower structure.

3. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the restraining means further comprises at least one opening formed in the bottom of the body for accepting a protruding member therein for engaging an edge of the lower structure.

4. The landscaping block as described in claim 3 wherein the restraining means further comprises an opening in an upper face of the lower structure for receiving the protruding member therein and engaging the lower structure thereto.

5. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the first substantially flat member is a sidewalk slab.

6. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the lower structure is a second substantially flat member.

7. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the landscaping block is curved.

8. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the landscaping block is formed having an angle.

9. The landscaping block as described in claim 1 wherein the inset ledge is profiled from a first end to a second end for supporting a profiled member thereon.

10. A method of forming a landscaping step comprising the steps of: providing a least a first and a second substantially flat member for forming at least first and second treads; and positioning a landscaping block between the at least first and second steps for forming a riser, the landscaping block comprising an elongate body being substantially rectangular in cross-section, having an upstanding portion formed along an outer and upper edge of the body forming an inner inset ledge and restraining means on a bottom inner edge of the body for engaging between the landscape block and the second tread, the first tread supported on the inner inset ledge for forming an upper tread and the second tread engaging the restraining means for forming a lower tread.

11. The method as described in claim 10 wherein the restraining means further comprises a downwardly depending ridge formed along the bottom inner edge of the landscaping block for engaging an edge of the lower tread.

12. The method as described in claim 10 wherein the restraining means further comprises at least one opening formed in the bottom of the body for accepting a protruding member therein for engaging an edge of the lower tread.

13. The method as described in claim 10 wherein the restraining means further comprises an opening in an upper face of the lower tread for receiving the protruding member therein.

14. The method as described in claim 10 wherein the at least first and second substantially flat members are sidewalk slabs.

15. The method as described in claim 10 further comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of stands for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks thereon from beneath, the stands having a surface upon which the landscaping blocks are supported; a positioning means connected at about a center of an underside of the surface; and a pin; driving the pin into the ground; engaging the positioning means with the pin; and supporting a landscaping block on the stand's surface after which the substantially flat members are supported on the inset ledge of the landscaping blocks.

16. The method as described in claim 15 wherein the positioning means is a tubular member forming a socket.

17. The method as described in claim 10 further comprising the step of arranging landscaping blocks having opposing inset ledges for supporting opposing sides adjacent the riser of each of at least the first and second treads.

18. The method as described in claim 17 further comprising the step of notching the inset ledge of the riser to permit insertion of the riser between the opposing inset ledges of the landscaping blocks.

19. A system for forming a landscaping structure comprising: a plurality of landscaping blocks, each block comprising an elongate body being substantially rectangular in cross-section, having an upstanding portion formed along an outer and upper edge of the body for forming an inner inset ledge; a plurality of substantially flat members wherein landscaping blocks are positioned on opposing sides of the plurality of flat members aligned to form the landscaping structure, the landscaping blocks acting to support the substantially flat members on the inner inset ledges therebetween; and a plurality of spaced stands for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks from beneath, the stands comprising a surface for supporting the landscaping blocks; a positioning member connected at a center of an underside of the stand's surface; and a pin for engaging the positioning member wherein when the pin is driven into the ground, the stand is supported for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks thereon.

20. The system as described in claim 19 wherein the plurality of substantially flat members are sidewalk slabs.

21. The system as described in claim 19 wherein the positioning means is a tubular member for forming a socket.

22. The system as described in claim 19 wherein at least two or more of the plurality of landscape blocks is curved and at least one or more of the substantially flat members has corresponding curved edges for forming a curved landscaping structure.

23. The system as described in claim 19 wherein at least two or more of the plurality of landscape blocks is formed having an angle and at least one or more of the substantially flat members has corresponding angled edges for forming an angled landscaping structure.

24. The system as described in claim 19 further comprising a profiled slab and wherein the inner inset ledge of opposing landscape blocks is profiled from a first end to a second end for supporting the profiled slab thereon for forming a lowered curb structure.

25. The system as described in claim 19 wherein a landscape block is positioned at an end of the landscaping structure at right angles to adjacent opposing landscape blocks, the inner inset ledge being notched to permit insertion of the end landscape block between the inner inset ledges of the opposing landscape blocks.

26. A system for forming a landscaping structure comprising a plurality of landscaping blocks according to claim 1 further comprising: a plurality of substantially flat members for forming the landscaping structure, wherein landscaping blocks are positioned on opposing sides of the plurality of substantially flat members aligned to form the landscaping structure, the landscaping blocks acting to support the substantially flat members on the inner inset ledges therebetween; and a plurality of stands for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks from beneath, the stands comprising a surface for supporting the landscaping blocks; a positioning member connected at a center of an underside of the surface; and a pin for engaging the positioning member wherein when the pin is driven into the ground, the stand is supported for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks thereon.

27. The system as described in claim 26 wherein the plurality of substantially flat members are sidewalk slabs.

28. The system as described in claim 26 wherein the positioning means is a tubular member for forming a socket.

29. The system as described in claim 27 wherein a step is to be incorporated into the landscaping structure further comprising: a landscaping block positioned between at least a first lower substantially flat member and a second upper substantially flat member for forming a riser, the lower substantially flat member engaging the restraining means for preventing movement therebetween and the upper flat member supported on the inner inset ledge for forming the step.

30. The system as described in claim 27 wherein the restraining means further comprises a downwardly depending ridge formed along the bottom inner edge of the landscaping block for engaging an edge of the lower substantially flat member.

31. The system as described in claim 27 wherein the restraining means further comprises at least one opening formed in the bottom of the body for accepting a protruding member therein for engaging an edge of the lower substantially flat member.

32. The system as described in claim 31 wherein the restraining means further comprises an opening in an upper face of the lower substantially flat member for receiving the protruding member therein.

33. The system as described in claim 27 wherein the lower and upper substantially flat members are sidewalk slabs.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a regular application claiming priority of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/539,591, filed Jan. 29, 2004, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to blocks and particularly to shaped concrete blocks and systems for use in landscaping for forming sidewalks, ramps, steps and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to use blocks, typically made from molded, poured concrete, in landscaping to form sidewalks, stairs, patios and the like.

Typically, large 2′×2′ patio blocks or sidewalk slabs are used to create these structures, by first excavating an area, laying a foundation of gravel and sand and then placing the slabs, one next to the other in the desired arrangement. For creating stairs, it is also known to use a smaller cement riser which is positioned, on edge, between patio slabs which may or may not lay on the ground at the rear and are supported one from the other, at the front, by the riser.

Substantially “L-shaped” border blocks are also known and are typically used as curbs at transitions between lawns or planting beds and walkways, roadways and the like or are used to create terraced effects to transition slopes. U.S. Pat. No. 4,986,042 to Richardt and U.S. Pat. No. 6,594,959 to Whitson, teach such border bricks.

The use of slabs to create walkways and landscaping structures is particularly problematic in northern climates where freezing and thawing of the ground may result in heaving and sinking of the foundation beneath the structure. Alterations in the foundation typically create uneven structures which, as soon as any amount of weight is place on the slabs, may crack as the slabs become unsupported from beneath. Further, and particularly in the case of stairs, the slabs and risers may be caused to shift, resulting in unstable and unsafe arrangements that are not only dangerous, but are also aesthetically unpleasing.

Clearly, a stable system is required which supports the slabs regardless whether there is disruption in the foundation due to heaving and sinking and which permits the creation of stairs and the like which remain intact over time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a is a perspective view of an embodiment of a block of the present invention, illustrating a restraining means formed along a bottom inner edge for retaining a sidewalk or patio slab or the like therealong;

FIG. 1b is a perspective of an alternative embodiment of a block of the present invention, illustrating an alternate restraining means of a dado formed adjacent the bottom inner edge for inserting a protruding means therein;

FIGS. 2a-c are side views of a step formed using embodiments of the block adapted for use with sidewalk or patio slabs and the like and more particularly,

FIG. 2a is a side view of the step formed using the block according to FIG. 1a;

FIG. 2b is a side view of the step formed using the block according to FIG. 1b; and

FIG. 2c is a side view of the step formed using the block according to FIG. 1b and having corresponding openings formed in an upper face of a second slab;

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of a block stand according to an embodiment of the invention, the block stand adapted for engaging a landscaping pin and supporting a sidewalk or patio slab or a portion of a slab thereon;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the block according to FIG. 1a supported on the block stand engaged with a landscaping pin, according to FIG. 3, and adapted for supporting a sidewalk or patio slab thereon;

FIG. 5a is a partial perspective view of a sidewalk formed using the block stand and block according to FIG. 4 and supporting sidewalk or patio slabs, the surrounding earth and grass being removed from the foreground to better view the system;

FIG. 5b is a plan view of a sidewalk formed using a plurality of the blocks and stands according to FIGS. 1a-2b and FIG. 3 respectively, the blocks forming an edge and supporting sidewalk or patio slabs thereon;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a set of stairs formed using the system according to FIG. 5a;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an end block for supporting an end edge of a walkway or the like, the inner inset ledges being notched for insertion;

FIG. 8a is a plan view of an arrangement of a combination of landscaping blocks according to FIGS. 1a-1b and a right angle corner landscaping block embodiment for forming a right angle corner in a walkway;

FIG. 8b is a plan view of an arrangement of a combination of landscaping blocks according to FIGS. 1a-1b and a curved landscaping block embodiment for forming a curved corner in a walkway; and

FIG. 9 is a partial side view illustrating an embodiment of the invention wherein a combination of landscaping blocks according to FIGS. 1a-1b and a profiled landscaping block embodiment are used such as for forming a lowered curb at a driveway.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A substantially “L”-shaped landscaping block provides support for concrete slabs such as patio or sidewalk slabs for creating landscaping structures such as walkways, stairs and the like, at least a portion of the slabs being supported on an inner inset ledge of the landscaping block. Restraining means acting between the landscaping block and the slabs is particularly useful for creating a step or stairs which resist shifting as a result of a disturbance in the ground or foundation. Further, a system, incorporating stands pinned into the ground, provides additional support for the landscaping blocks to prevent shifting, heaving or sinking.

In one broad aspect, a landscaping block comprises a substantially rectangular body having an upstanding portion formed along an outer upper edge of the body for forming an inset ledge along an inner edge of the body for supporting at least a portion of a first substantially flat member thereon; and restraining means for engaging between a bottom edge of the body and an adjacent lower and rearwardly extending second substantially flat member for restraining rearward movement of the body relative to the second flat member, when engaged.

The restraining means, which may be a downwardly depending ridge unitary with the block or a groove or dado or plurality of openings which correspond with a protruding member such as a metal strip, pegs, wafers or the like, is particularly useful when the landscaping block is used as a riser in creating stairs or steps. The restraining means engages between the treads in the steps to prevent outward shifting of the riser and the slabs relative to one another. Further, stands can be used to support a portion of the landscaping blocks from beneath to provide additional support and resistance to shifting, heaving or sinking.

In another broad aspect, a method of forming a landscaping step comprises: providing a least a first and a second substantially flat member for forming at least first and second treads; and positioning a landscaping block between the at least first and second steps for forming a riser, the landscaping block comprising a substantially rectangular body having an upstanding portion formed along an outer upper edge of the body forming an inner inset ledge, and restraining means on a bottom inner edge of the body for engaging between the landscape block and the second tread, the first tread supported on the inner inset ledge for forming an upper tread and the second tread engaging the restraining means for forming a lower tread.

In yet another broad aspect, a system for forming a landscaping structure comprises: a plurality of landscaping blocks, each block comprising a substantially rectangular body having an upstanding portion formed along an outer, upper edge of the body for forming an inner inset ledge; a plurality of substantially flat members wherein landscaping blocks are positioned on opposing sides of the plurality of flat members aligned to form a walkway, the landscaping blocks acting to support the substantially flat members on the inner inset ledges therebetween; and a plurality of spaced stands for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks from beneath, the stands comprising a surface for supporting the landscaping blocks, a positioning member connected at a center of an underside of the stand's surface, and a pin for engaging the positioning member wherein when the pin is driven into the ground, the stand is supported for supporting at least a portion of the landscaping blocks thereon.

When a stair or step is to be incorporated into the landscaping structure, such as in a walkway, the restraining means on the landscaping block engages the lower tread as previously described providing additional resistance to shifting of the slabs and landscaping blocks, relative to one another.

Curved or right-angled landscaping blocks are used for creating corners in sidewalks. Specially shaped or cut slabs sized to fit between the opposing angled or curved landscaping blocks are used to complete the corner.

Further, profiled landscaping blocks may be used to form a ramp and may be further used in combination with correspondingly profiled slabs. Profiled slabs and blocks may be used to create a lowered curb in a sidewalk at a driveway to permit cars to readily access the driveway over the sidewalk.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in FIGS. 1a-b and 2a-c, a unitary “L”-shaped landscaping block 1 is formed having an elongate body 2, substantially rectangular in cross-section and an upstanding portion 3 formed along an outer and upper edge 4 of the body 2 for forming an inner inset ledge 5. The inner inset ledge 5 is adapted for supporting a substantially flat member 6 thereon, such as a sidewalk or patio slab or the like. Further, the landscaping block 1 comprises restraining means 7 in a bottom 8 for engaging between the landscaping block 1 and an adjacent lower structure such as an outwardly extending sidewalk or patio slab 6. The restraining means 7 is particularly useful when forming a step (FIGS. 2a-2b). As shown in FIG. 1a, the restraining means 7 may be formed as a downward depending ridge 9 formed along a bottom inner edge 10 of the landscaping block 1 or, as shown in FIG. 1b, the restraining means 7 may be formed as a dado, groove or a plurality of openings 11 formed along the bottom 8 adjacent the inner edge 10 and into which a protruding member 12, such as a metal strip, wafers, discs, pins, tabs or metal pegs, is placed.

As shown in FIGS. 2a-b, embodiments of the landscaping block 1 are particularly useful for forming a riser 13 in a step 14. In each case, at least first and second slabs 20, 21 are provided for forming a first upper 23 and a second lower tread 24 of the step 14. The restraining means 7 acts to engage the lower tread 24, while the inner inset ledge 5 engages the upper tread 23. Typically, little excavation is required to position the slabs 20, 21 and landscape blocks 1. Should the ground heave the slabs 20, 21 remain supported as the landscape block 1, acting as the riser 13, remains engaged between the slabs 20, 21 by the restraining means 7 and by the outer upper edge 4.

In another embodiment, (FIG. 2c) a corresponding dado, groove, opening or plurality of openings 11 is formed in an upper face of the second slab 21 forming the lower tread 24 and the protruding member 12 or a plurality of protruding members 12 is inserted therebetween to engage both the landscaping block 1 and the slab 21.

Preferably, the landscaping blocks 1 are formed having a length that is different than the slabs 6, or the landscaping blocks 1 and the slabs 6 are offset so as to position joins between abutted landscaping blocks 1 away from the joins in abutted slabs 6, thus increasing the strength of the landscaping structure.

With reference to FIGS. 3-6, in yet another embodiment, a system is provided for use of the landscaping block 1 to create a landscaping structure. The system comprises a plurality of the landscaping blocks 1, a plurality of block stands 30 and a plurality of pins 31. The block stands 30 are supported on pins 31 and underlie the landscaping blocks 1 for further supporting the blocks 1 when used in landscaping. The system may be used regardless whether building a stair (FIG. 6), a patio or a sidewalk or walkway (FIG. 5a) or other landscape structures.

As shown in FIG. 3, each block stand 30 comprises a surface 32 for supporting the landscaping block 1. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a positioning means 33 is connected at about a center of an underside of the support surface 32 for supportably engaging a pin 31 which is driven into the ground to anchor the block stand 30. In a preferred embodiment, the support surface 32 is a flat metal plate and the positioning means 33 is a tubular member which acts as a socket to engage the pin 31.

In Use

Use of the landscaping blocks 1 and system is described herein in the context of a walkway however those skilled in the art would understand that the system is applicable to creating other landscaping structures and is therefore not limited solely to creation of walkways.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5a and 5b, the system may be used for laying a walkway of sidewalk slabs 6. Landscaping blocks 1 are supported by block stands 30 and pins 31. The stands 30 are typically spaced to coincide with joins between abutted landscaping blocks 1 used for forming edges along the walkway and for supporting the walkway slabs 6. The flat metal plate 32 is positioned to span the adjacent landscaping blocks 1, the positioning means 33 and pin 31 being positioned approximately beneath the join therebetween.

Best shown in FIG. 5a, a trench 34 is excavated into which a plurality of pins 31 are driven, each at a pre-measured interval, typically the length of a landscaping block 1. A block stand 30 is placed on each of the pins 31, the socket 33 engaging the pin 31, and are leveled relative to one another and to the terrain. A plurality of landscaping blocks 1 are supported on the block stands 30, typically placing an end of each landscaping block 1 at a mid point of each block stand 30. Corresponding and opposing landscaping blocks 1 are spaced sufficiently to support slabs 20, 21, 22 between the inner inset ledges 5 of the opposing landscaping blocks 1.

In a preferred embodiment, the trench 34 and elevation of the surface 32 of the block stands 30 is sufficient to position a top 35 of the landscaping blocks 1 at or slightly above the level of the surrounding terrain 36.

As shown in FIG. 7, at an end 50 of the walkway, a landscaping block 1 may be positioned at right angles to the opposing landscaping blocks 1 to support and enclose the end 50 of the walkway. The inner inset ledge 5 of the end landscaping block 51 is notched at either end 52, 53 sufficient to permit insertion between the inner inset ledges 5 of the opposing landscaping blocks 1. Similarly, where a step 14 is to be incorporated into the walkway, the riser 13 may be notched to permit insertion between the opposing landscaping blocks 1.

As shown in FIGS. 2a-2b and 6, and in the case where a step 14 is to be formed in the walkway, a riser 13 is positioned between the lower tread 24 and the upper tread 23, the restraining means 7 of the riser 13 engaging the lower tread 24 as previously described and supporting the upper tread 23 at the inner inset ledge 5.

Having reference to FIGS. 8a and 8b, and shown used in a walkway, the landscaping block 1 can be linear or formed having a shape such as any of a plurality of angles, such as a right angle (FIG. 8a), or curved (FIG. 8b) for use in making walkways or the like having an angled or curved corner 40. The shaped landscaping blocks 1 are formed having an outside edge 41 and an inside edge 42 with opposing inner inset ledges 5. In use, slabs 6 are cut, shaped or poured to correspond with the curved outside and inside edges 41, 42.

As shown in FIG. 9, profiled landscaping blocks 60 and profiled slabs 62 may be used in combination with linear landscaping blocks 1 and slabs 6 to form a sloped change in elevation such as at a walkway adjacent the transition between a driveway and a roadway. Preferably, the landscaping blocks 60 can be profiled from a first end 43 to a second end 44. The profiled landscaping blocks 60 act to lower the curb 61 at the driveway. A correspondingly profiled slab 62 is poured such that the profiled slab 62 rests on a profiled inner inset ledge 63 of the profiled landscaping block 60. The profiled blocks 60 and corresponding slabs 62 may be particularly useful in creating municipal or urban walkways.