What is Hardscaping? | Unilock

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What is Hardscaping?

A “hardscape” refers to solid materials that are used in designing outdoor spaces, such as natural stone, tile, brick, wood, asphalt and concrete pavers. Each of these products may be used to construct a variety of different projects, including driveways, walkways, patios, retaining walls, decks, fire and water features, outdoor kitchens and more.

What is the difference between “softscape” and “hardscape”?

The term “softscape” refers to any living, growing elements in your landscape. This is anything that is soft to the touch and continually growing in your space, including trees, shrubs, grass and flowers. This differs greatly from a hardscape, which involves inorganic elements like natural stone and concrete pavers, which will retain their form and are hard to the touch.

What are the benefits of hardscaping?

Hardscaping carries a number of significant benefits. Unilock pavers in particular require very little maintenance in order to keeping them looking as beautiful as the day they were installed. A beautifully designed hardscape can help increase the value of your home while adding extra layers of dimension to your outdoor space.

Permeable pavers are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional pavers that can help with stormwater management on your property. By absorbing excess rainwater back into the subsoil, permeable pavers help prevent pollutants such as pesticides from being carried back into lakes, rivers and oceans. Our extensive line of Unilock pavers also come in a variety of styles, colors and finishes to make any outdoor project aesthetically pleasing and highly durable.

Does hardscaping add value to a home?

Absolutely! Regardless of your home’s size or market value, designing an outdoor space with Unilock pavers will enhance the overall curb appeal of your home. As with any outdoor project, prices may vary depending on the size and scope of the job. While the cost of investing in concrete pavers may be a deterrent for some, it does pay great dividends over time. We encourage you to work with a Unilock Authorized Contractor who can assist you in choosing products that are practical from a budgetary standpoint.

What is the best hardscape material?

Concrete is widely considered the perfect material for virtually any hardscape design project. For instance, concrete can be imprinted with different designs and textures to resemble natural stone. Concrete pavers do not require sealing, unless you appreciate the look of a sealed paver, in which case you may need to re-seal every 3-5 years.

Unlike asphalt, whose surface wears and cracks over time due to foot traffic and seasonal changes, it is much easier and cost-efficient to install a concrete paver installation. This way, damaged or worn pavers can be replaced individually rather than having to rip up an entire asphalt patio or driveway.

What is the cheapest hardscape material?

Poured concrete is one of the most popular materials, and the cheapest material you can use to build a hard surface patio. While poured concrete patios are initially cheap, they do require a lot more upkeep and will wear, fade and crack overtime.

Concrete pavers, on the other hand, are a little pricier than traditional poured concrete, depending on the style and finish you choose. However, Unilock pavers are highly durable and aesthetically pleasing, and can be easily replaced in the event that a paver is damaged or worn. Unilock also offers a Transferable Lifetime Guarantee on the structural integrity of pavers, slabs and wall units. Any materials installed and maintained to our guidelines, and subject to normal wear that prove defective, will be replaced at no cost to you. Color matching cannot be guaranteed and replacement labor is not included.

What can you use instead of concrete for a hardscape project?

There are several other ways to build a new patio or driveway without using concrete pavers. These can include:
Poured concrete or asphalt – Poured concrete is the most common and cheapest alternative when it comes to hardscape design. Poured concrete can also be stamped to resemble any number of paving materials. The most common place you will see asphalt is in driveway applications.
Natural Stone – Unilock produces a number of Natural Stone slabs that are aesthetically pleasing, but also offer low water absorption, freeze-thaw durability and flexural strength. Natural Stone is suitable on pool decks, patios, step treads and coping for vertical features.

Porcelain Tile – Unilock offers an impressive line of premium Porcelain Tile, available in unique colors and designs. These products are suitable for wood deck and concrete overlays, and should not be used on driveways.

Dirt or Gravel – Depending on your location and weather conditions in your area, dirt or gravel can be used to build impressive low-maintenance driveways or patios. Gravel can be considered a semi-permeable, durable and affordable solution. Dirt, on the other hand, may require a bit more upkeep as rain or snow may cause puddling or freezing on the surface, which can be dangerous.

Permeable Pavers – Permeable pavers are highly durable, stylish and eco-friendly. Aside from their obvious sustainability benefits, permeable pavers are a cost-effective paving solution. Some municipalities may even offer tax-saving incentives to encourage the use of permeable applications.

For over 50 years, Unilock has been setting the standard as a leader in the North American hardscape industry with cutting-edge paving products and innovative technologies. Now that you have an understanding of hardscaping, we encourage you to check out some of our wonderful projects that were completed using Unilock paver and wall products. There’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to tackling a hardscape project!

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