The number one reason why most hardscape projects fail is due to a lack of drainage! Some amature contractors might believe they can get away without a drainage plan — the reality is that your project will crumble in no time. We can’t even begin to tell you the amount of phone calls we’ve received due to a drainage disaster. When water accumulates, it can cause more than mud in your yard — you could be looking at some serious foundation issues if the problem isn’t resolved quickly. Remember, when you invest in an outdoor living project, you want the space to not only be beautiful but also long lasting. Make sure your contractor is qualified for the job before signing the dotted line.
Elevation & Slope Improvements
When our designers go out to bid a project, many homeowners are only thinking about the “fun stuff” that they want such as grill stations, pergolas and fire pit areas. The reality is that many hardscape projects will require structural work as well. Many backyards have a slope and require retaining walls to compensate for the even soil. Although retaining walls are not a particularly fun purchase, they are often essential for your outdoor living space to survive the seasons. If you have a large slope in your backyard, and your contractor says you don’t need a retaining wall we’d recommend that you get a second opinion. You can never be too careful with an investment in your property!
If done incorrectly, a backyard renovation project can quickly go from a dream come true to a nightmare in an instant. This is part of the reason why it’s widely recommend to avoid DIY’ing a hardscape project. For example, say you decided to include a retaining wall in your new backyard. Our designers here at Hinkle Hardscapes love retaining walls and include them in plenty of projects. However, they do represent one of the most common failures by inexperienced contractors. Novice contractors don’t worry about poor foundations and drainage. They simply want to collect their check and never be responsible if anything happens to go wrong in the future. In the end, the designer you meet with shouldn’t just be a salesman. What they should be is an architect that understands how different elements mesh with each other, while maintaining the functional attribute all hardscape projects should possess.
On every new project, our designers always like to give homeowners the chance to bring that “IT” factor to their backyard. This is the ability to always capture someone’s attention when they first see your revamped space. Typically, what this means is getting all of the elements to blend together. One of our most common design layouts is a stamped concrete or paver patio with a fire-pit and seating wall. With this set-up, all eyes are on the space where the seating wall circles around the fire-pit. This is that core gathering spot that all successful hardscape projects WILL include. Everything from a $10,000 project to a $100,000 one should have at least one of these!
Preparation Before Production
As mentioned earlier in this post, preparation is critical for every project, no matter the scale. Quality, experienced contractors are going to approach each new property with the exact same level of care and precision. They will always ensure the appropriate materials are used with the same professional installation techniques. With this said, it is your job as a homeowner to make sure the design fits your vision 100%. Your designer will more than likely give you their opinion as to whether each meets up, but sometimes you have to do a little work pre-construction. The main thing I’m alluding to here is: laying out your patio. On countless occasions, we’ve had clients come back and say they wished they’d went with more square footage or even add on during construction. Laying out your patio is as easy as grabbing some flags from Home Depot and a tape measure, then deciding if it is big enough. In the end, it usually saves both parties a few headaches!
Don’t rush into a home renovation with a contractor who isn’t credible. At the end of the day, you want your outdoor living project to be beautiful and fully functional for years to come. When you get a bid from a hardscape contractor, don’t just think about the price and promises. It’s important for you to protect yourself by asking important questions about the structural durability of the design. If you ever need a second opinion, we’d be happy to help.
When you book your appointment with Hinkle Hardscapes, know that your outdoor living project is in good hands. We aren’t going to rush through the job, just to get to the next one. Every single project is handled with the same care and precision, no matter the size. From Overland Park to Leawood and Lee’s Summit, we’ve worked with over 3,500 Kansas City homeowners over the past decade. We’d be honored to have the opportunity to create a memory-making outdoor living space for you! Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our hardscape designers.