Hardscape Design Trends

hardscapesThe most popular trend in Hardscape design today is paver bricks. They are durable and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes and are the perfect accessory for all around your home, from driveways and front walks to elaborate patios in your backyard living area – pavers are simply the way to go.

The old cement standby versus popular paver bricks.

Your cement sidewalk, driveway or patio is sadly becoming yesterday’s news as design trends go. Even though cement or cement slabs have been around a long time, and have served their purpose, they are not without issue. Throughout the years, as a result of the earth settling from the cold/hot weather cycles, your cement sidewalk, driveway or patio may have started sinking in some places making your property just ripe for a trip-and-fall event if someone is not paying attention. There are remedies to make the pavement sections even again, save ripping it out and re-pouring the cement from scratch. You can either have holes drilled and cement funneled in to raise the cement blocks or driveway portions to a level surface, or, in some circumstances have an overlay created to even out the concrete. In cold-weather states, like New Jersey, homeowners will always find themselves dealing with hairline cracks come Spring. These cracks or fissures must be patched up pronto so they don’t widen. Most DIY patching products will leave you with an uneven-looking sidewalk and the inevitable demarcation in the cement. Besides dealing with the regular spots or stains on the surface of the driveway, wouldn’t you know that someone had to park their car which leaked like the Exxon Valdez in your driveway leaving a large unsightly oil stain? If the cost of a new driveway or walkway is cost prohibitive to your budget, you might refresh your less-than-perfect concrete, by simply having restoration surface work done to eliminate the stains or patchwork effect of crack fillers. Stamping the concrete with designs will also detract from imperfections marring the cement, or, a concrete coloring dye may be applied if the finished restoration job is fairly smooth. These measures will leave your sidewalk, driveway or patio looking like new again.

The trending concept, however, is the use of paver bricks for walkways, patios and driveways. Paver bricks are becoming more popular and are not as costly as they once were. Most people think of paver bricks as small bricks, cut to fit a particular sidewalk, or patio, or even a large space like a driveway. The small bricks are very uniform in size and can be cut down even smaller to create winding pathways, circular drives or exquisite patios by using special cutting tools. Pavers require very little maintenance to keep them looking good – in fact their rustic look is what gives them their aesthetic appeal.

For resale purposes, a paver brick patio can bring in about 80% return on investment, which means you can make most of your money back, despite using and enjoying that outdoor living space to the max for many years before putting your house on the market.

Try paver bricks

The trend is now going toward larger pavers and slabs for patio use. Slabs give a more contemporary look and due to their larger size, install much more quickly than the painstaking and meticulous job of fitting small 4 inch by 8 inch pavers in a large area. The larger pavers have a look and feel of indoor tile, and, though they are more expensive, customers are snapping up these large pavers to achieve the streamlined look they crave. The larger paver sizes, however, are strictly for walkways or patios as they cannot accommodate the heavy weight of vehicles so are not used in driveways. An expert contractor, skilled in Hardscape design here in the Monmouth, New Jersey area, could help guide you on how paver bricks could complement your home and add aesthetic value as well.

Paver bricks go beyond being just decorative

After the recent record-setting storms and flash flood that ravaged parts of the Midwest and East Coast, you might have looked out your back window, only to find a lake, courtesy of Mother Nature. Well, now that the water has receded, it might be time to take a look at the uneven portions of your backyard, and consult with a landscape design expert as to the utilization of paver bricks as a beam or retaining wall to act as a barrier to thwart any future torrential downpours and the lake effect in your very own backyard.

More Hardscape designs

A contemporary look for any patio or backyard living space is an outdoor kitchen or bar. Now, this is not just plunking either of these items out in the middle of your paver bricks in an enclosed area. These are actual appliances, like a stove or fridge, built right into rustic boulder-look Hardscape designs. The bar, as well a large-sized grill, can be built right into the brick, or a brick wall.

Firepits

I wonder who thought of the original idea of putting a fire pit in a yard anyway. Probably someone that sat around a campfire, watching the flames leap up, the embers crackling and glowing, and perhaps toasting a few pillowy-soft marshmallows at the same time. Fire pits are very popular now; not just a small pit dug in the ground or a metal rack in the corner of your yard, but today, the trending look is designing your outdoor patio area around something called a “fire element”. Fire elements can be a fire pit or fireplace to crowd around to keep warm on a chilly evening, thus extending your outdoor season and ability to enjoy your patio area throughout the Fall. They are a beautiful, and even functional way, to spread a little warmth between family and friends. Another fire element, that is fun and funky to include in your patio area, especially if you already have an outside kitchen area, would be a pizza oven. Pizza ovens come pre-built and easy to assemble with only two to four pieces. You’ll be sure to gather a crowd while they watch you create and bake an artisan pizza, then serve it up piping hot and dripping with cheese and pepperoni … ahh, pizza is “in” and hamburgers and hot dogs are now so passé.