A "hardscape" is any exterior landscaping element made from brick or stone. This includes everything from sidewalks and to patios and retaining walls. There are a lot of benefits to having a hardscape installed in lieu of a wooden deck or landscaped beds. In this article, we'll be going over those benefits as well as some drawbacks.
One of the main reasons your average person chooses to have a patio or brick paver installed is simply because they
like the look. When properly installed they look very crisp, with clean lines and a uniformity and symmetry that’s tough
to match with more natural options. Once a hardscape is installed, it’s finished and there’s no waiting for it to
“fill out” like there can be with landscaped beds with shrubs and perennials.
Hardscape is very versatile in that there are a ton of different options for color, shape, size and even texture of the individual bricks that make up a walk or patio. Many of these can even be customized and combined with other styles to make your design your own. Some people prefer flagstone, which is irregular in shape and creates a more natural look while other prefer brick or stone pavers which create a more symmetrical appearance.
Hardscapes can also be sealed. Sealing a patio/path will darken it and produce a glossy finish, giving it a “wet” look even when it’s dry. Sealing also has a practical effect that we’ll discuss more in the next section.
A very attractive aspect of paver and stone patios and walks is how low-maintenance they are. Once a patio or paver has
been installed they only need maintenance every 2-5 years at most. Maintenance generally only consists of replacing any
damaged bricks or stones and placing more sand within the joints to prevent the bricks or stones from moving so it’s
pretty inexpensive and low-impact.
A popular joint sand for pavers and patios is polymeric joint sand. Polymeric sand is called such because it contains polymers, which when dampened act like a sort of grout between the grains of sand and the paver bricks/stones. This is usually considered to be better than regular sand because it doesn’t shift and isn’t removed from between the bricks by' wind or water as easily.
Another way to further lessen the already low-maintenance aspect of a walk or patio is to seal it. Not only (as mentioned in the previous section) does it look great, but it reduces the maintenance required by holding the sand in the joints by sealing the top layer.
The only real drawback to installing a patio or paver versus something like naturalmulched landscaped beds is the initial cost, but depending on your starting point it couldbreak even with more traditional options. Another thing to consider when deciding if you want a patio or paver is that it will add value to your home in a way that less permanent options don’t.
Whether or not to choose a paver or patio is largely up to taste, but as you can see there are plenty of advantages to having them. If you’re interested in hardscape, give us a call today!