Some homeowners are choosing pavers, patios and popular stones to expand their living space outside the home.
If one of your home improvement projects includes increasing your curb appeal, then hardscaping may be an option for you.
What is hardscaping?
Hardscaping is constructing landscape features and elements using hard materials such as natural stone, brick, or concrete products. Hardscapes can liven up any landscape through the addition of paved walkways, stairs, retaining walls, garden walls, rocks and patios.
What are the benefits of hardscaping?
- Low maintenance: A patio may require a bit of re-sanding every four or five years, but hardscaping requires no watering.
- Several design options: With more options than ever for hardscapes, it’s not unusual to blend different styles together to create a customized look.
- Makes outdoor entertaining easier. Hardscaping extends the living space outside with items like manufactured block and fire pits.
- Permeable pavers are an environmentally friendly option. They help reduce the amount of storm water runoff entering natural waterways, which can carry with it contaminants and pollutants. Instead, the water is allowed to naturally drain into the ground.
Hiring a company to design your hardscape:
Hardscaping projects can be challenging for do-it-yourselfers. A lot of soil needs to be hauled off to get the sand and stone in. Homeowners don’t have the compaction equipment needed to properly prepare the base. Check reviews of landscaping companies on Angie’s List.
- It’s important to research information specific to your area’s climate; to account for storm water runoff and to follow proper drainage procedures. Consult with a contractor who has knowledge in hardscaping. They will know how material will hold up in a particular climate.
- Regardless of the type of hardscape products you use, properly preparing the base of any project is critical. The most important thing to remember is that you want it to last, so it’s very important that you not create problems as you build it. Making sure it’s draining the right way and checking that it’s level.
- A qualified professional landscaper should have the training, tools, equipment, and quality products necessary to do the job right the first time. Before you hire, check the company’s work history, look at photos of their work and make sure the landscaper is certified in concrete paver installation by the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute. Ask for references from prior clients who have projects that have been in place for more than a season or two to see how they’re holding up.
- A professional can also advise on maintaining your hardscape after installation to protect your investment, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the project.
- Check with local agencies to see if permits are required to do the work.