Adding hardscape to your home’s landscaping is a great way to make your yard look fabulous, create an easier-to-maintain environment, and increase the functionality of the living space. Depending on the size and scale of the project, you may want to hire a professional contractor to install it for you. However, many projects are manageable for one or two people with some patience, attention to detail, and the right tools. With a few DIY hardscaping tips, you can build beautiful brick and stone yard features in your free time this summer.
What tools will I need for installing hardscape?
The right tools will make all the difference in how manageable the project is and the quality of your work’s result. You should be prepared to invest in a few tools before starting to build your project.
- Rent a masonry saw and buy a quality blade. If you need to cut tiles or bricks as part of your project, your work will go much faster, and the results will look professional if you use a high-quality masonry saw. These often use water to keep the blade cool as it cuts through stone, tile, or brick. Many landscaping rental shops have them available, but make sure you tell them the type of material you will be cutting to make sure they give you the right saw for the job. Find out what kind of blade it needs, and then stop at your home improvement store to purchase a new, sharp one for the saw.
- Buy a dead blow hammer. Dead blow hammers are essential for pounding blocks into place securely or positioning pavers accurately. The size you need will depend on the materials you’re using. The good thing is, you’ll likely find lots of various needs for a dead-blow hammer long after your project is done.
- Obtain an accurate level. Quality hardscape requires precise measurements and leveling at every stage. A slight offage can result in cracks, water drainage issues, and other damage. You may likely have one already, but check its accuracy before depending on it for your project.
- Rent a plate compactor. Even if your job seems small enough to use a tamper, you’ll be much happier if you rent a plate compactor instead. Plate compactors just do the job better. With a good plate compactor, your project will be more durable, you’ll see less shifting and settling of the hardscape, and you’ll end up with a smoother, even surface for your patio or walkway.
- Rent a skid steer for big projects. One of the most challenging parts of a hardscape project is the excavation. There’s usually a good amount of dirt to dig and move as you level the ground and create a foundation for the stone. By renting a skid steer, you can cut days out of large projects, and your body will thank you.
What are some other DIY hardscaping tips?
- You need a slope for drainage. Make sure you create at least a 2% slope away from your home’s foundation, beginning with the foundation level of your deck or walkway. This will keep water moving away from your house.
- Retaining walls aren’t a DIY project. If your yard is sloped enough that you need functional retaining walls, leave that part of the project to a professional contractor. There’s a bit of science behind the construction of a retaining wall to ensure it doesn’t fall over from the weight of dirt and water behind it.
- Driveways are more complicated than they look. Building a driveway isn’t the same as building a large patio. The weight and movement of a car on top of the hardscape structure require more foundation work and sometimes different materials. Before taking on a driveway, consult with a professional and see if you feel more comfortable hiring an expert to do the job.
Have questions about a possible hardscape project for your home?
Whether you’re looking for the broadest selection of hardscape materials perfect for our local area, or you need help figuring out where to start with your dream project, Hilton Landscape Supply is the place to go. We’ve been serving Southern Oregon and Northern California since 1956, so we know the best materials to bring your projects to life. Our team members will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take, help you select the best materials for the project, and arrange to have them delivered right to your property. Don’t let another season pass you by. Visit us in Central Point, and let’s get started on your project today!