Hardscaping elements are a vital part of your overall landscaping design, and often serve a functional purpose as well as adding beauty and curb appeal to your home.
If you’re planning to work with a professional landscaper to install a driveway or walkway, there are some important questions you should ask yourself—and your landscaping professional—before getting started. Here are the top three to help you get your project off on the right foot:
1. What function will this element serve? In order to design a piece of hardscaping that will be attractive, useful, and cost-effective, you’ll need to first be clear on its purpose. Is this a walkway that people will use to get from one section of your outdoor space to another? Will it be a high-traffic area used by the whole family (and pets!) frequently, or a little path between different sections of your garden that will be more gently used? Will it have trashcans rolled over it, or other equipment? Is it meant to be driven over by vehicles, or be a place for them to park? Knowing who—and what—is meant to be traveling over the surface you’re installing will help you determine how durable it needs to be, and narrow down your choice of materials.
2. What type of materials will match my home and my design aesthetic? Your outdoor space is an extension of your indoor space, and your hardscaping should fit the overall style of your home to present a cohesive look that is pleasing to the eye. Do you live in a home with some historical appeal? The classic and traditional look of brick may be a good fit for you. Are you a fan of natural elements in design? Stone may be your material of choice, providing an aesthetically appealing segue from your outdoor space to the beauty of nature. Do you prize versatility and durability—and maybe want something the kids can draw on with chalk? You may wish to explore the many options modern concrete offers.
3. How easy is it to clean and maintain the type of material I’m considering? Some materials are more porous than others, requiring the regular application of a sealant to guard against damage. Some can be cleaned effectively with a garden hose, while others may need a bit more care. It’s also important to look into what your options are if damage—a crack, chip, or other problem—does occur. Will the hardscaping need a costly and extensive repair, or will it be as simple as pulling out and replacing one brick or paver?
While there are other factors to consider when undertaking a hardscaping project like installing a walkway or driveway, knowing how to answer these top three questions will set you on the path to a space that will meet your needs and your style preferences. Consult your trusted landscaping professional today to get started!