Hardscapes are the solid, built surfaces in an outdoor space like patios, pathways, fire pits, pool surrounds, decorative walls, even outdoor kitchens and living rooms. A hardscape can add immediate value by improving the aesthetic and/or function of your home and also by increasing the actual property value of your home.
A few things to consider when incorporating a hardscape into your property:
Take your landscape into account. You might want to hire a professional to help you with this step. While it seems simple to decide whether you want a patio here or a pathway there, factors like how much turf you’d like to keep (or add), what focal points you might like, where the sun rises and sets, traffic patterns and day-to-day functionality for your family should be considered.
Preserve greenery. Grass, plants, flowers and other vegetation provide a nice contrast to the stark, solid surface of a hardscape. Consider a stone wall with tall flowers or trees behind it, or a patio that abuts a grassy area. An area of turf provides a pleasant playing area for children and pets and also can be a cool relief on hot days.
Understand water and drainage patterns. Nothing can be more damaging to a hardscape than drainage problems. Especially in Massachusetts and other areas in the northeast where snow and ice can leave an impact, you must plan how drainage will be affected when you add your hardscape to your property. Even if you don't think there are any water drainage issues, it’s prudent to level out any surfaces where you might put a hardscape or have the grade as a decline away from your house.
Choose materials that work for you. Your home has a style that you’ll want to extend in your hardscape. You also have your own sense of style that you’ll want to incorporate. Consider these styles when looking at stones, bricks, pavers and other materials. Don’t feel limited to one color or one texture. Having a variety of two to three colors and textures tends to provide most homeowners with an overall look and feel they enjoy. The size of your property and the hardscape your considering should influence how many different materials you choose as well.
Hire help. Even if you typically do your own landscaping and gardening, it’s a good idea to call in the experts for a hardscape project. Professional landscape designers can offer suggestions for a hardscape design that works with your current property landscape, provide advice on appropriate materials, and help identify any issues that could cause trouble. They typically have the complete knowledge of the many steps involved in hardscape installation. When you're hiring a pro, ask for references and to see examples of their hardscape work.
Check out our photos to see some of the hardscape design and installation Gardenin’ Angels has done throughout the South Shore!
Rodrigo Dos Anjos