Hardscaping refers to paved or stone walkways, patios and other “hard” surfaces or objects incorporated into a yard’s landscaping. Fences, lawn ornaments, and rocks can also sometimes be referred to as hardscaping. It can greatly improve the appearance and overall appeal of an outdoor living space by creating a transition between a home’s interior and exterior. Once you’ve decided to create an outdoor space, you must plan carefully to meet your hardscaping goals. Here is everything you need to know before jumping into a hardscape installation.

The first thing to focus on as you start to consider hardscape is another “scape” entirely: your landscape. Consider the entire area available for your design, and then try to imagine any additions you might want over time: a patio, a pool, a fireplace, etc. Map out the area in your mind, on paper and digitally if possible—or have a pro, like us, do it for you.

Next, it’s time for some homework. Research really pays off, especially when you consider that this is an immovable object in the landscape. You don’t want to put in a lot of time and money into a project you won’t love for years to come.  Pinterest is a wonderful place to gather ideas that might help you decide the type and color of materials you want and the overall aesthetic for the entire project.  Of course, we would be remiss if we also didn’t suggest our website. Browse through hundreds of our custom designed outdoor living features and areas in our Design Gallery. It is the best place we can think of to find specific (and regional!) outdoor inspiration and hardscape design resources. You can even “pin” images from our website to Pinterest.

Once you have an idea of the look and features you want to include it’s time to get down to business. And by that, we mean the business of professional hardscaping installers. If your hardscape design is complex—and especially if it involves reforming the existing landscape (creating a retaining wall for a hill, for example)—you should call in the experts. Professional landscape designers and installers work with your design ideas but ensure that all the building is done safely and in compliance with applicable codes. PA Landscape Group is proud to have ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) certified paver installers, and NCMA (National Concrete Masonry Association) certified Segmental Retaining wall installers that are trained to get the job done right the first time. Installation includes proper excavation to create a level and firm foundation, subbase, and base and to ensure proper drainage for rainwater runoff.

Oh, and one last thing. You want to make sure your hardscaping investment lasts. We design hardscapes for the long term. Sealing pavers can be a step in protecting your investment. In addition, sealing pavers enhances paver color and adds contrast. To keep your outdoor space as good as new PA Landscape Group has teamed up with Techniseal to offer our customers a full line of paver cleaners and sealers through Techniseal’s Certified Applicator Program.

Hardscaping is an attractive feature and offers many appealing options, from a rustic stacked wall to a fully developed outdoor living room and kitchen. Whether your hardscaping is intended for purely aesthetic purposes or also to configure and organize your outdoor living space, you’re sure to find a more pleasing, proportional and easy-to-maintain space once it’s installed.