The yard of your dreams is within reach. Just follow a few basic guidelines, which we’ve outlined here for you in a simple, easy-to-follow guide that anyone can use.

A great hardscaping project can transform your property from bland to breathtakingly beautiful. It can add a sense of timeless beauty to your home, and it can extend the usage of your lawn throughout the year. The options are endless, from a customized stone retaining wall to the pool patio worthy of a five-star resort.

But any transformation takes careful planning in order to avoid costly mistakes. By following these seven tips, you can create your very own vision in stone that will bring delight for decades to come.

  1. Dream Big (Start with a Master Plan)

One of the most common mistakes people make when they’re planning their hardscaping project is to only focus on a tiny part of their property at a time. Maybe they’ve decided they want a stone fire pit. They have one built in the center of their back yard but after a few years they realize they want more. The pool area they envision is blocked by the fire pit… they haven’t thought ahead or created a master plan for the entire property.

You should create a plan that covers everything. And if that feels overwhelming, call in a professional to create a design plan that’s customized for your unique property.

  1. Create a Water Drainage Plan

Drainage is the number one reason why many hardscaping projects fail. When uninformed contractors don’t create a drainage plan, you’re left with retaining walls with weak foundations, accumulated water under your patio, constant mud in your yard, and more. You must plan for runoff. Ideally, you could capture water runoff and use it for watering your greenery. That brings us to environmental impact…

  1. Consider the Environmental Impact

When planning a hardscape project, it helps to know the lay of the land, so to speak. Do you live on a particularly wet property? Is the soil crumbly and dry? Is there enough room to keep at least a small patch of grass for cooling the landscape?

In North Carolina, it’s good to keep some shrubbery or other vegetation. It helps with drainage, cooling, integration with the natural environment, and more.

  1. Identify Your Focal Point

Every successful hardscaping project has a showpiece that serves to focus the eye. Call it the “It Factor” or the focal point. It could be a custom stone fire pit with a seating wall. I could be a patio/pool area. It could be your outdoor kitchen or a water feature. These are the core elements of backyard hardscape projects that will first capture the attention of anyone who enters the space.

To envision your design, start with your main core element and work outward. Do you see family members gathered at the seating wall that surrounds your stone fire pit? If that’s your focal point, everything in your master design plan will work around that vision.

  1. Select Materials that Complement Your Home

It’s easy to forget your house when creating your outdoor living space. Remember that it’s all part of one property and the look should be cohesive, as if the home and yard were developed together.

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Mix Textures and Colors

Stone and stone veneer come in a wonderful variety of colors and textures and the most beautiful projects combine them artistically to achieve a layered, professional look.

For example, your flagstones don’t have to match the stones in your retaining wall (but they should complement each other!). If you have trouble with the visually creative side of your project, a design expert can help you coordinate your materials.

  1. Call in the Pros for the Structural Stuff

Your backyard renovation project can either be your dream come true or a nightmare in the making. It’s fun to think about what color throw pillows you should buy and it’s easy for some to imagine the wonderful greenery they’ll install to complement the project.

But drainage? Foundations? Erosion? Slope elevation? Base material? Preparing the site to prevent settling, heaving, and sinking? That’s not exactly fun stuff to deal with, especially if you’re not trained on the principles of topography and geography.

And that’s where the nightmares can begin.

Retaining walls are often an essential ingredient in any successful backyard renovation. If your yard has a slope, chances are you’ll need a retaining wall so your renovations survive the seasons and stand the test of time. Don’t forget that, in addition to beautiful results, you want long-lasting results, too!

Most hardscape projects do actually end up requiring some sort of structural work. Hardscaping is more than an installation project. You can’t simply plop things down on your property without considering the big picture and how each of the elements affects the others. That’s why a successful hardscaping project requires the knowledge and expertise of a trained and experienced hardscaper who understands not just construction but also the architectural and environmental concepts that go into every successful project.

The folks at Clovis specialize in stone hardscaping projects right here in the Raleigh area. In fact, we focus solely on hardscaping projects and, with our custom design process for outdoor living spaces, you know your project is in good hands.

Give us a call and we’ll help make your visions come true.

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COVIS - Hardscapes Contractor