The Koester House Museum and Gardens has been a unique, historic local attraction for decades and recent works on the ground look to keep it that way for years to come.
The old brick walkway on the west side of the Koester House recently was replaced with an enlarged brick walkway that leads to the grounds’ new zero-step entry. The entry will allow easier access to the museum for disabled and elderly visitors, the community band, maintenance vehicles and mowers and deliveries, said museum foundation board member Sharon Kessinger.
Grimm’s Gardens, Hiawatha, did the work with help from some local volunteers including Steve Scheele and Rick Cudney, both of Marysville. Tim Grauer, William Nelson and others helped the museum foundation save on the cost of the project by volunteering to remove old bricks.
According to Grimm’s Gardens landscape designer Paul Kiekhaefer, bricks used for the project had been salvaged from previous Marysville street projects. He said the new walkway is sloped to drain away from the house and will provide a smoother walking surface than the previous walkway, which had settled unevenly.
“The newly laid (bricks) off the southwest corner of the Koester House will be approximately 10 inches higher than the height of the previous pavers,” said Kiekhaefer. “This will allow for soil to be filled in the low area that had become a temporary and sizable puddle after a rain.”
Much of the brick walkway around the museum grounds also settled unevenly. Grimm’s Gardens used methods to prevent the new brick walkway from settling unevenly.
“None of the older sections of path on the grounds have any polymeric joint sand in between the pavers, which over time allows the water to carry away some of the sand below the pavers. This in turn creates the uneven settling of the pavers,” Kiekhaefer said. “The newly laid (bricks) have this polymeric joint sand installed, creating a surface of low permeability, this also minimizes the number of weeds from growing between them.”
Kiekhaefer, who has done landscaping work all over the U.S. and overseas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and China, said he has learned that drainage is a major component of any construction project.
“Whether it is an office building, park, golf course, or even the grounds of a historical home, surface drainage is important,” Kiekhaefer said. “With the exception of our younger years, most of us prefer to avoid puddles.”
Kiekhaefer said Grimm’s Gardens has completed a wide variety of brick projects over the past 20 years.
“We have completed larger projects, like the relaying of (brick street) around the historic Humboldt, Neb., Square to smaller patio projects,” he said.
Locally, Grimm’s Gardens paved and landscaped the Seventh Street corridor’s brick walkway and gardens several years ago.