Things to Know Before Beginning a Hardscape Project

Whether you’re designing your dream home or upgrading your existing outdoor living space, attractive landscaping and hardscaping are the jewels in the crown- drawing the eye and sparking envy amongst your neighbours. 

Every real estate agent will tell you how important curb appeal is. Sure, your front yard needs to make a great first impression but beautifying your entire property will pay dividends. You’ll enjoy your home more and have more living space and improve your home’s value at the same time. 

Before dipping your toe into hardscape design, you should know a few things before getting started. Here are a few key things to think about.

What is Hardscaping? 

Traditionally, when people think of landscaping, they are referring to softscapes like lawns, gardens, trees and other natural elements. Hardscaping, a part of the landscaping industry, refers to the “harder” parts of your outdoor living space. These are the structural elements that need to be constructed. Decks, patios, fences. Walkways, fountains, balconies, retaining walls, pool decks and rooftop environments are all examples of hardscapes. 

The most beautiful outdoor living spaces involve a balance between softscapes and hardscapes. This will prevent the area from feeling too artificially paved or too soft like a golf course. 

How to Budget for your Hardscaping Project

One of the most significant factors in hardscaping is budget. Before going any further, you need to assess what you can afford and how much you’re willing to spend. Fortunately, there are hardscaping options at most price points, so don’t feel you need to spend thousands of dollars on improving your yard. If you’re using a contractor, budget an extra 10 to 15 percent of the estimate to cover unforeseen expenses and cost overruns. Obtain quotes from at least three local contractors to understand a reasonable price range for your project. Finally, decide whether you prefer to make an upfront investment that will last for decades or even a lifetime, or if you would rather accept a lower-cost option now and deal with repairs and maintenance every year or two. 

Which Materials to Use in your Hardscaping Project

Once you decide on a project, a design and your budget, you need to decide on the hardscaping materials you want to use. Think about your project’s functionality, which will be the final determiner of most of your material decisions. For example, if you’re constructing a rooftop deck, you must plan for things like drainage, noise below, and protecting your roofing membrane. This probably rules out materials like wood and concrete. It also points to a pedestal system as the ideal way to accomplish everything you want. 

Another great example is a patio. Sure, you can dig down two feet, excavate and replace with aggregate, level and then pour concrete or install interlock, keeping your fingers crossed that the project doesn’t shift in the spring. Alternatively, you could use a soil grid system and save yourself a lot of work and money. 

Long-lasting materials like porcelain pavers offer functionality and aesthetics and are virtually maintenance-free. They are also exceptionally durable and won’t require you to sand & stain every couple of years. 

When building a pool deck, functionality comes into play in a big way. You need materials that can be cut on a curve around the pool. Slip resistance is another crucial aspect – look into porcelain pavers for this one; they’re exceptionally slip-resistant. Perhaps a raised floor built with pedestals is the right choice, one that offers an additional benefit of disguising plumbing and electrical conduits below. 

Aesthetics, durability, maintenance, functionality and cost are all essential things to consider when planning a hardscape project. Determine the look you want, how long you want it to last, how much time you’re willing to put into maintaining it, how you want it to work and how much you want to spend – now and in the future. Choosing materials that save you time, labour and money is always a sure bet. Are you looking for high-quality, durable and innovative products for your hardscaping projects? Stone Deck Innovations offers Canada’s best hardscaping materials for your outdoor projects. Need help, materials or ideas? Visit Stone Deck Innovations – Canada’s deck life experts or contact us directly.