March 2011

"I'm Tim Neimiec, and I'm Your Paver Guy." AMERICAN PAVING DESIGN

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. | Photographer: John Brackett

After a long day at work or play, when you head home to unwind, settle down with a cool drink and put your head back to think about the day and what tomorrow will bring, is that breeze you feel coming from a ceiling fan or rustling through the trees? Do you hear the television, or waves lapping at the shore? When you open your eyes, do you stare at the ceiling, or gaze at the stars? How about a big old South Carolina moon rising over the treetops?

Let it sink in. Remember when you used to have to travel to live this way for a week or two? Now you don’t have to leave. Now it’s your own house. Your home.

At least it can be. You live in the Lowcountry where we can hang out outdoors for most of the year, and where—recently more than ever—the outdoor environment is as critical to a home’s design as the roof and foundation.

“Everybody wants to be outside,” said Tim Niemiec, who should know because his company, American Paving Design, creates a lot of the outdoor environments that are popping up on home sites all over Beaufort County and throughout South Carolina.

He’s not talking about the backyard barbecues that you may remember, though, with a few lawn chairs, maybe a picnic table and a Weber grill… Remember the screen door slamming over and over during that endless parade between the kitchen and the patio?

American Paving Design’s business is building outdoor environments that are, in essence, seamless extensions of a home’s interior living space, a permanent “mini-resort” if you will, for which no travel is required. And the business thrives, partly due to economic factors and partly due to greater awareness of what can be done with creative landscaping and hardscapes.

“We used to do mostly commercial projects,” Niemiec said, but when the economy went soft a few years ago, commercial building projects went soft with it. There was a bright side, though. “As the economy got worse, there’s been a shift to (outdoor) lifestyle. People want to spend more time at their house. The second, third, fourth home, we’re finding, is non-existent. We find more people remodeling and creating outdoor spaces that they can enjoy.”

For his part, Niemiec is happy with the shift to more residential projects for American Paving Design. The commercial work is admittedly more profitable, but he finds rewards in the personal, emotional connection between contractor and client in residential work. It’s more of a people business.

That means you don’t have to know paver shapes, colors, and patterns when you show up. Who knows anything about that stuff anyway? Just have an idea. Have a vision of how your home should appear from the curb, or an image of friends and family gathered ’round the fire pit on a cool fall evening.

“It can be a driveway, front entrance, patio, pool deck, seating area…whatever,” Niemiec said. “Outdoor kitchens are very popular.” (No more of that screen door slamming.) “People are coming to us asking for lifestyle concepts, something they’ve seen somewhere else and they want it at their own homes. We bring your hardscape ideas to life.”

Bringing those ideas to life isn’t simply installing pavers, though. “We do a lot more designing now. We do 3-D imaging so clients can see what they’re going to get,” Niemiec said. These projects have a significant impact on a home’s property value, so getting it right is critical. To make sure it gets done right, American Paving Design stays involved beginning-to-end, from design consultation to material selection to skilled installation and complete follow-up.

Niemiec started his first landscape and paver business just out of college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, then headed south in search of new markets and greener pastures when business conditions there turned less favorable.

“I really liked Charlotte,” he said, “and I was seriously considering starting up there.” But some people familiar with one of the Southeast’s most prominent paving stone manufacturers, Hardeeville’s Lowcountry Paver (LCP), suggested that he take a ride down to South Carolina to meet LCP’s president, Tom Curry, who was seeking to expand his company’s marketing channels and installer base.

On a cold January day in 2001, Niemiec drove to Hilton Head, but was unimpressed not having experienced the island’s true charm. “I told Tom, I can’t live here! He said, ‘Give me one year.’ The rest is history.”

Part of that history is that American Paving Design is now one of the top Lowcountry Paver Certified Installers (LCPI). That means accountability for quality and service and continuing education requirements for the installer and a five-year warranty on workmanship for the client. Basically, in addition to the service you get from American Paving Design, the manufacturer has your back as well. American Paving Design has a perfect LCPI score for five years running.

Elizabeth Scott and Lois Prybis both see the results on their back patios in Indigo Run. “Tim was very hands-on and very responsive to all of my questions and concerns. It was like a partnership,” said Prybis, speaking of her patio extension project. Prybis’s patio overlooks the Golden Bear golf course, affording her a view of more than just golfers. “I love to watch the eagle’s nest that we are so fortunate to have in view, and I can’t wait to have my morning coffee out here in my rocking chair. The patio really brings the outdoors into my home.”

An interior designer, Scott brought some solid conceptual ideas to the table. “Tim’s input was very much in line with my design expectations. We created a much warmer, more welcoming environment. It really finishes the home,” she said. “He is very professional and well-priced. I would highly recommend him to my own clients.”

Apparently, the neighbors would agree. Both Scott and Prybis said that when their new patios were completed, neighbor after neighbor stopped by to find out who did the work. At least three of them ended up contracting projects with American Paving Design.

So what are you waiting for? The weather’s getting warmer, and the outdoors beckons. You’ve probably seen it at some of your neighbors’ homes; now it’s your turn to create your own personal slice of the Lowcountry Lifestyle.

It’s why you live here, isn’t it?

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For more information, visit online at AmericanPavingDesign.com, or call (843) 706-PAVE (7283). Ask for Tim—“Your Paver Guy.”

  1. Hi Tim, you guys did my backyard patio and we are really now enjoying it. I am looking to find someone who can stain concrete. Our step up enclosure patio is a concrete base and I would like to have that stained. Do you guys do this or do you know who I can contact in this area?

    Thanks, John Havlicek


    — John Havlicek    Apr 8, 04:25 pm   

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