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Ahh, hardscaping. The more obstinate and frustrating brother to landscaping. Many new homeowners get excited about the prospect of planting flowers and vegetable gardens in their new backyard, but they falter at the thought of building a patio, a Cast stone pathway, or a garden wall. But even if you decide to keep your yard completely au natural, you should at least consider hardscapes such as patios, fences, pathways, or fire pits, as these elements can often enhance – rather than detract from – the natural beauty of your landscaped garden.

Here are some hardscaping ideas you may want to consider for your home!

A Space for Outdoor Entertaining

Call it a patio if you want, but many homeowners are getting so much more creative with this combination barbecue-sitting area -outdoor-dining space. Patios are becoming increasingly more elaborate and exciting, with fire pits or fire places, tiered seating areas, and beautiful outdoor furniture that could just as easily belong inside the house. Think of building your patio as an outdoor living room, instead of just a concrete slab where you can put your grill.
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A Space for Tranquility

If you’ve never before considered hardscaping for fear of taking away from your yard’s natural beauty, think about the benefits of creating space for a small pond and sitting area. This is a fantastic way to incorporate hardscaping into your land, while at the same time enhancing what is already beautiful about the place. Ponds not only look beautiful, they help to attract wildlife to your yard, and they provide a pleasant place to relax and unwind at the end of a long day. It’s like bringing a piece of the forest into your home.

A Space for Cooking

Have you thought about the excitement of being able to step outside your back door and have a separate kitchen space available to you? Okay, so maybe a full kitchen is a little outside of your budget, or you just don’t have the space for such a large setup. Even so, think about building a wood-fired pizza oven, or a smoker for creating delicious smoked salmon or pork. We are instinctively drawn to the outdoors when it comes to eating and cooking; there’s something primal about preparing your food over an open fire. Why not channel some of the raw instinct when you’re thinking about hardscaping your yard? Take a survey from among your friends and family – I’m sure they’d be thrilled with the idea of sharing some of your fresh smoked salmon.
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Whether you’ve decided to tackle a DIY project by installing your own patio or you’ve hired a contractor or landscape designer to do it for you, you’re going to have to select the materials you prefer. There are many choices to consider.

Between Cast stone pavers, concrete, gravel, and even wooden decking, it can be difficult to determine the materials that are most suitable for your patio. How can you make the right decision? There are several factors to consider when making your choice.

Usage

Above all, you need a product that’s going to meet your practical needs. Sure you might like the look of wooden decking, but does it have the same longevity as Cast stone?

Naturally, your personal taste and the style of your home will play some role in your decision, but first and foremost you need patio materials that suit a functional purpose. For example, if you plan to place furniture on your patio, you might prefer a smooth surface like concrete or Cast stone pavers instead of, say, gravel or uneven rock surfaces, so that your furniture doesn’t tip every time it’s touched.

Do you want your patio to double as a sport surface where your kids can shoot hoops? In this case a concrete surface might be your best bet. Before you even start looking at patio materials, take the time to consider planned usage to ensure the end product meets your needs.

Climate

Materials designed for use in patio surfaces should have features that allow them to hold up under a variety of weather conditions. After all, they’re meant for outdoor use. That said, certain materials are bound to be more durable than others when faced with extreme weather conditions.
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Wooden decking can be lovely, but even with weather protection in place, it’s only a matter of time before exposure to the elements takes its toll. Over time you could be dealing with rot, mold, warping, and a variety of other issues that make your patio surface unusable and even dangerous.

Even in a relatively temperate climate this might still be an issue as even rain and sun can wear down certain materials.

Maintenance

Every patio surface is going to need some kind of maintenance to avoid damage and keep it looking good for years. The question is how much. What will it cost you in time, effort, and money?

When considering materials, it’s best to ask about appropriate maintenance so that you have an understanding of the relative difficulty and cost of upkeep.

Cost

The cost of materials and installation is always relevant when it comes to home upgrades. Your patio isn’t likely to show much return on investment, but attractive outdoor spaces can definitely make your home more appealing.

Regardless, you likely have at least some idea of a budget going in and you’ll need to find materials that meet functional needs, suit your aesthetic, and come in under budget.

Expert Advice

Most people don’t know the first thing about patio materials. But purveyors of pavers and other patio surfaces can offer a wealth of knowledge and experience. Come prepared with questions and you’re sure to get the expert advice you need to make an informed decision.

Add a wow factor to your landscaping project by adding hardscaping components to complement and enhance living elements.

Posted by & filed under Cast stone Hardscape, Customized Concrete.

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In case you haven’t heard the term before, hardscaping is any part of your outdoor landscaping that is manmade, including items made from Cast stone, brick, concrete, metal, or wood. This is as opposed to living plantscape, which generally consists of the flora in your yard.

A modern outdoor design project will incorporate both hard and soft elements working together to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that acts as an extension of your home for your family and friends to enjoy. If you do it right, your hardscaping could even transform your outdoor space from a traditional yard with pretty flowers and plants to an exciting and unique living space.

Here are a few helpful hardscaping tips that will allow any homeowner to make the most of available outdoor space.

1. Measure Your Space

You can’t really get started planning your hardscaping project until you know what kind of space you’re working with. This knowledge can help you to put together a design and create a budget before starting your project.

2. Plan Ahead

There are two things to consider in the planning process: budget and design. You don’t want to start any hardscaping project if you’re missing one or both of these elements.

If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional to put together a design for you. There are programs you can use to dream up your outdoor spaces on your own, but without a background in design you might end up with a major disaster in your yard.

3. Comparison Shop

Even with a design in place that sketches out the basic layout of your yard, you might not have a firm handle on the hardscape materials and elements you want to include.

Your best bet is to comparison shop, learning about the differences in cost, construction, durability, and aesthetic appeal associated with a variety of materials. Even though you might like the price point of concrete, the look may not appeal to you as much as, say, natural stone. So shop around before making any decisions.

4. Functionality

In design, form follows function. Before you start perusing planter boxes and pavers, you need to make sure that you have considered how you want your yard to function, as well as the role that your intended usage, regional weather, and other environmental factors will play.

5. Aesthetics

Finally, it’s time to think about the element of beauty in your yard. Hardscaping, when done right, can transform your yard into an attractive retreat.

Think about how every paver, planter, and piece of furniture will work together to create a cohesive whole and provide visual appeal, in addition to functional value. You’ll end up with a hardscape that perfectly compliments your living landscape and makes your home more attractive overall.