Hard landscaping involves projects that cover the entirety of the yard and that are necessary before soft landscaping features come into play. It is the hard element in your landscaping: the walkways, the paver patio, the firepit, the decks, and the gazebos. It is the opposite of softscaping which is the green growing elements of your landscaping such as the flowers, bushes, and trees. When you decide upon a hardscape, there is no moving it, that is why you want to get it right the first time. The following will help you find how hardscaping improves your property.

Some Hardscape Design Items You Can Add To Your Yard

Hardscaping your yard can include outdoor dining, fireplaces, walkways, decorative stairs, and even water elements. Adding a hardscape design to your yard using natural materials both increases property values and spaces in your home to be enjoyed during the seasons.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • A paver driveway
  • A paver walkway
  • An outdoor tearoom
  • A patio
  • A firepit or outdoor fireplace
  • A retaining wall
  • A gazebo or pergola
  • An outdoor kitchen
  • A multi-level deck area

Hardscaping Adds Ambiance And Value To Your Property

Hardscaping increases the value of your home. Hardscaping can raise the value of a home by as much as 12 percent. Realtors consistently rank adding features like walkways, paver patios, fireplaces, or water features as great ways to increase your home’s value. The real thing about hardscaping is it creates a whole new way for you to enjoy life outdoors. It can turn your backyard into a resort-style atmosphere. Replacing a lawn with a paver patio divides and separates sections for relaxing, hanging out in a hammock, or lounging under party lights.

Why Choose A Paver Driveway

A new hardscape driveway can be lifestyle changing. When entertaining friends, colleagues, and family, an elegant driveway and pathway to your front door is an elegant way to incorporate stunning inlay design in circles and diamonds. Hardscape projects solve problems and add luxury to your property. Yes, concrete is cheaper than pavers, but it has drawbacks such as cracks, pushed-up areas from tree roots and your design options are limited. There is stamped or textured concrete, but they are not as permanent, and they have limited creativity.

There are so many reasons to use pavers:

  • Pavers flex and move as they shift, solving the problem of cracks.
  • If you have problems with tree roots, you can pick up the pavers, take out the tree root, and replace the pavers.
  • The choices for your hardscape design as far as color, texture, and style choices are phenomenal.
  • If, by chance, a paver gets chipped or damaged, it can be replaced.
  • There is no waiting to use the driveway – when it comes to the patio or driveway hardscape project paver.

Add Some Zip To Your Entry

There is nothing like a beautiful, wow-inspiring welcome every time you come home. Most walkways are boring when they are just poured concrete. Let’s make it wider, add a few curves, and then start planning the design. You can go classic with a herringbone design or choose a basic grid of squares. But if you want to show off your artistic side, use an intriguing pattern of assorted sizes and shapes. Pick a fun color and do a double border. You can even choose a contrasting color for your border. An accent paver as a frame looks great. Do not worry about all the choices, a great installation company will walk you through all of it. They will have samples you can compare, and catalogs packed with design ideas. There are paver patterns suited to any style home from an English Tudor to a sleek contemporary ranch. You can tell your guests, when giving directions, to look for your home by saying that it’s the home with the super cool paver driveway or pathway.

Paver Installation Advice

Make a list and decide what you really need. Do you entertain large groups? Is your home the go-to family setting for holidays, cookouts, and birthday parties? Or maybe you like small intimate spaces and do not want a massive hardscape project with way more space than you need. Do you need built-in seating or are you the lounge chair type? Will, you really use a firepit?

When Building A Patio, Think Beyond Flat

Be bold, create great detail, layers, and flexibility. Consider your patio an extension of your home. In spring, summer, and fall, it will be a great outdoor social space. Try to create different outdoor spaces for different purposes. Think ahead when you are planning your patio. Will there be a pool in the future, or pergolas or a garden? Always consider future plans. Be sure and install PVC sleeves under your hardscape to make adding irrigation or landscape lighting easier to accomplish.

Consider Shade: Think About A Pergola Or Pavilion To Improve Your Property

In the hot summer, think about a place to sip lemonade or a frozen margarita. You will want some shade. But if you want to have a place to sit during a soft summer rain, think about a pavilion because with the pergola’s lattice style roof you will get wet. Either look fancy or provide the instant class to your landscape. Host a party and pass around trays of appetizers or lounge under your pergola in your swimsuit and flip flops. Grow pretty fragrant vines up the posts and use some hanging plants from the roof and cover the ceiling in twinkling white lights that will make your shelter magical.

Build A Firepit On The Patio

You can build a firepit on top of the patio. Everyone loves a firepit. If you choose to do this, it is extremely important to insulate the patio from the heat given off by the fire. You can use all-purpose sand and rock to fill in the new firepit. You can also add a concave, metal, or ceramic disk to build your fires upon, which makes it easier to clean out after use. Using sand and rock as an insulator can make the pit harder to clean. Frequent cleanings can also remove the sand and rock over time, so it is important to replace this layer to maintain the insulating properties. Firepits add a glow to your backyard life. Decide what size firepit you need. Will it be a cozy romantic spot for two, or a party-pit for roasting s’mores? Decide on a wood or gas firepit. Do you want to build a fire each time you light up the fire pit or do you just want to flick a switch? You will need to run a gas line to the firepit if you want that convenience. Add some decorative potted plants and some comfy seating around the firepit and then you can fire up the fun.

Do You Need To Consider A Retaining Wall?

If the yard slopes, it will be necessary to consider a retaining wall. The walls prevent erosion. Erosion washes away fertilizer and nutrients from your soil. It will destroy plants and can damage your foundation and can cause sinkholes. The wall can prevent flooding. Walls can be made very attractive with concrete blocks and rocks — these will hold back the soil behind them. A bonus can be extra seating if they are in a handy spot in your yard where people gather.

Wondering If You Should Tackle Hardscaping DIY Style?

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, hardscaping is not simple! A good hardscape contractor will have years of training and experience. We can’t tell you how many times we end up in someone’s backyard after a botched attempt at a DIY project. Even a small hardscaping project like a front walk may involve quite a bit of work from digging and measuring to tamping and leveling. Some of the most important parts of your hardscape project are behind the scenes, to ensure your pavers do not sink, the color doesn’t fade, weeds do not sprout and people do not trip. Be sure and use proper edging help to keep the pavers snugly in place and unable to shift. Another tip is to make sure your downspout does not pour down onto your pavers. Good hardscape design includes moving downspouts so they do not empty onto your pavers. You need good drainage. Your paver position should pitch to the side a bit so water can drain and slope away from the house. Without proper slope, you can end up with erosion, foundation damage, or a wet basement. You will need to be a very detailed person to do a good hardscape project. A hardscape designer will bring wow-worthy ideas that you as a non-professional hadn’t occurred to you.

Now Onto One Of The Most Important Things Regarding Hardscaping: The Budget

What is the cost for hardscape design and installation? Prices vary widely, based on size and material to obstacles on your property.

Here is a quick look to get you started:

Paver Driveway – The average driveway costs about $7.50 per square foot. The average 2-car driveway in the U.S. is 16 x 40 feet, or a total of 640 square feet. So, the cost would be about $5,000 for the average driveway.

Patio – The typical paver patio cost is between $7-$10 per square foot. A good rule of thumb for your patio is such: Plan on 25 square feet of space for each person you want to have on the patio. If you plan to host 50 people, that would mean you should plan for about 1250 square feet. 15 people would be 375 square feet. For comfortable entertaining, shoot for a minimum of 550 square feet. The cost would vary according to the size of the patio.

Firepit – The cost of outdoor gas firepits can range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars depending on who does the work, the materials used, and the location of the pit. While a crackling wood fire is preferred by some, you can’t beat the convenience of pushing a button and having an instant and realistic flame dancing in front of you. But, be aware that an extra cost to run a gas line can be pricey.

Outdoor kitchens – Fortunately, like indoor kitchen remodels, outdoor kitchens add value to your home. According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors, outdoor kitchens typically bring a 71% return on your investment. A budget-friendly outdoor kitchen can range from $4,500-$10,000. At just $4,500, you can build a 100 square foot kitchen atop an existing patio with stock cabinets against the wall, tile countertops, and a freestanding grill. As is the case with indoor kitchens, the kitchen can cost as little as a few thousand dollars to well into the 6-figure range. It depends on the materials, features, size, appliances, and site which all influence your project cost.

Just remember with each addition of hardscape you build, the more it will cost. You do not have to do everything at once. A good designer can help you prioritize the parts of your hardscape project. Set the stage to add more features one by one during a set time period.

Choosing Your Hardscape Designer

Hardscape projects are big investments. Do your homework. Do not trust your project to just anyone. Shop around and ask questions. You should be confident your professional will be around if you have problems or questions. Have the professional give you references to check out. Make sure hardscaping is not just a sideline for this professional. Is there a designer on staff? Check out their website. Make sure they provide educational and informative blog articles. Make sure you have a good rapport with the designer and are knowledgeable about their services. The best hardscape companies make the process go smoothly from the beginning. If you are ready to include a hardscape project at your home, this time of year is the perfect time to contact professionals to help you with your plans.

Contact Us (859-781-0677) for More Information!

About Davis Landscaping

Davis Landscape Design & Installation has been providing landscaping services to customers in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati since 1965! We know that the landscape design process can be overwhelming, so we work with you tirelessly to better understand your vision. At Davis Landscape Design & Installation, we’re on your team and we know how to listen and deliver.