Take a look at your backyard and imagine meandering rock pathways leading to a beautiful flagstone patio. Perhaps a stone wall flanks a side or two to create added dimension. Add some comfortable seating and a gas fire pit and your family is set for relaxation. With the right hardscape, you can build an outdoor living space that perfectly emulates your personality.
Before you jump into purchasing stone and laying down bricks, it’s critical to build a proper hardscape foundation. In fact, about 80% of the work in creating a beautiful and durable outdoor space is spent preparing the base and ensuring good ground drainage. If you’re planning to install rock and stone in your yard, here are a few steps for proper preparation.
Hardscape Foundation Planning
- Sketch out your plan before you start. You don’t need to be an artist or have a professional degree in landscaping to do this. Simply measure your yard and note the placement of significant items that won’t be moving such as an existing koi pond. Use a colored pencil to lightly shade areas that are substantially higher or lower than the rest. Then take out your pencil and start laying out where you’d like patio space, walkways, and other features.
- Determine if our space requires grading. Land that slopes downwards towards your home can cause foundation and interior water damage down the road. Ground with high and low spots can collect water and create “swampy” zones. A professional grader can examine your space and recommend appropriate solutions to level land or create tier structures to balance and direct water drainage.
- Consider installing drainage systems. For some spaces, it may be difficult to control water drainage without the use of in-ground drainage systems such as French drains, dry wells, or drainage swales. Contact a local landscaper to learn what types of drainage systems are most effective in your specific area. Many drainage systems are relatively easy to install but should be completed or at least planned prior to installing more permanent materials.
- Select your natural hardscape materials. Visit your local hardscape provider like Hilton Landscape Supply to view your options. The sky’s the limit when it comes to textures, colors, and material sizes. Purchase a few samples and take them home to see what looks best in your yard.
- Lay the right foundation. Once you’ve decided on the materials you want to use, talk with the landscaping professionals at the supply yard to learn what foundation will be required. The right material will depend on the hardscape you’ve chosen as well as the type of ground in your yard (ie, rocky soil versus clay.) In general, most projects will require you to dig a few inches into the ground and lay a foundation of sand, crushed stone, or stone dust first. You’ll need to compact the foundation with specific tools for the job.
Once your hardscape foundation is prepared, the rewarding work of installing begins. Finally, your vision will start to form right in front of your eyes. If you’re dreaming of a new outdoor space for a little rest and relaxation but not feeling up to the work, simply contact the professionals at Hilton Landscape Supply. Their teams can coordinate and complete the work to make your yard the perfect respite for your family.