Landscape – Hardscape

Hardscape

Fences and Gates

These are “landscape walls” used to separate and protect outside spaces from neighboring properties. They are also used to divide an existing lot into distinct areas. Materials of almost any type can serve as fencing. The most common is to use redwood or cedar planks with preservative treated posts to create a solid board wall.

Gates are lockable passageways through a fence.

There are many kinds of fences including solid fences, picket fences, chain link fences, and wrought iron fences.

Wood posts have a life of about 10-12 years. Replacing rotted posts when they occur can greatly extend fence life.

 

Maintenance

  • 1x per year: Inspect for broken or loose fence posts and fence boards, and make repairs as needed.
  • 1x per year: Check gates for operation and make repairs as needed.

Hardscape
Whimsical gate


 

Retaining and other walls

Walls are more durable, solid and permanent than fences. Stacked stone, block, brick or stucco make great hardscape walls.

To hold back soil or create terraces on the site you can utilize retaining walls. Retaining walls over 36″ require an engineers design because tall walls must resist much more pressure.

Unique wall designs can be made with concrete, masonry, stone, steel or combinations.

Stone gabion retaining wall
Gabion retaining walls

 

Walks

Flat exterior walkways or paths are used to connect and provide access to key areas of the landscape. Walks should be designed with their intended purpose in mind. For instance, entry walks should be durable to hold up to heavy use and should be clean and flat to avoid trip hazards and prevent tracking dirt into the home.

Hardscape walks can be made with almost any tough, reasonably flat materials. The material used should be nice looking, prevent erosion and provide a clear, safe walkway avoiding mud and obstacles. See: concrete

Precautions

Walks made from pavers, stone or concrete are vulnerable to stains. Fertilizers containing iron for instance will stain the surface with marks that look like rust.

Garden walks should be made so that water cannot flood or undermine them. Construct walkways with mud resistant surface materials as much as possible. Some materials will allow plantings to grow through the surface of the walk. The function of a walkway is to connect the house with somewhere else. Usually walks lead to the street, or to the landscape and garden. The flow of the walk should allow you to experience the things in your garden you enjoy the most. A sidewalk doesn’t need to be fancy. An informal walk can simply be a path worn in the ground

Dimensions and specifications

The minimum width of a walkway is determined by the available space mixed with some common sense. The average human shoulder width is 18 inches. Allowing an extra six inches, the walk should be a minimum of 24 inches wide for one person and 5’ wide for two people walking side by side.

Construct stone walkways with larger dimensioned materials. Walks with small flagstones for instance  can become a trip hazard when loose. Good walk materials include decomposed granite, bricks, cobblestones, gravel, sand, or pavers. Walkways  b be free of overhanging shrubbery making it safe and easy to move along without getting whacked.

A great walk will provide areas for rest, and perhaps a bench for sitting and contemplating the universe.

hardscape
Flagstone patio
Multiple walkway styles

Patios

These are larger flat entertaining areas that are made out of concrete or various types of stone or pavers. Patios tend to be built on the ground level.  Decks on the other hand, are usually elevated off the ground or are extensions to upper rooms. , Like walks, patio material should be selected to endure the intended use. See: concrete

Patio entertaining areas can become integral extensions of your homes square footage. By throwing open large sliding doors to hardscape patio areas off of bedrooms, kitchens or living rooms, those rooms can effectively swell in size. This helps bring in the outdoors when the weather is fine.

Handrails

Architects have lately been designing stainless steel into some of the more contemporary hardscape architecture. Stainless steel, especially when used for outdoors applications needs to be of a grade capable of withstanding the elements. These can vary depending on the local environment so selecting the grade is important. Outdoor applications in a humid or marine environment should be passivated or “pickled” .

Outdoor kitchens

Patios can be equipped with eating areas, built-in kitchens, including sinks, BBQ, refers and cooktops. Fireplaces or fire pits and entertainment centers including special weatherproof televisions can also be installed. See: “Outdoor Kitchen Mistakes to Avoid”

Shade

If the sun is too intense, trellises with retractable shade elements or giant folding umbrellas are available to help your patio stay cool. If the evening is chilly, patio heaters are available to take the edge off. At night landscape and accent lighting can intensify the beauty of the area and bring in a romantic atmosphere. Hardscape water features, fountains, ponds, pools and spas can also add to the experience and essentially turn the entire lot into part of the equation.

Herb gardens

Kitchen-side patios with herb garden planters are my favorite kind of hardscape. Even the SF Giants have installed one of these organic garden areas to the outfield patio of one of the stadium restaurants.

hardscape
Teak dining set on flagstone patio
hardscape
Read our article on “Outdoor Kitchen Mistakes to Avoid”
hardscape
Herb garden at the SF Giants ballpark

Trellis

These are wood, or metal exterior structures used to create support for vines or shade over walks and patios.  If you have nice wooden trellises in your hardscape, you should expect them to last for a reasonable length of time. Adding simple metal flashing to the tops of trellis members to protect them, will more than double the expected life.

Maintenance

  • Every 2 years: Trellises require regular maintenance. Apply a protective coating to the structure or tough up the existing coatings at least every other year to help shed water and protect the wood.
  • 2x per year: Also trim any vegetation or climbing vines so that tendrils cannot find their way into joints and destroy the structure.
  • 1x per 2 years: Metal versions also require repainting when needed to prevent rust.

Hardscape
Trellis with protective metal caps


Help me to help you

Thank you for taking time to use this free website. I hope you find the junk-free information here fun and useful? Please send me your comments and feedback.

Writing and maintaining the information in this manual is a lot of hard work. By sharing these pages with your friends, you help me to continue the effort.  You can easily share these pages to all your favorite social media sites via the shortcut buttons on the sidebar. You can also simply email the page link to your friends. Please share often.

The very best way to help me happens when you use the embedded links to buy things. Using a link is easy and free, yet it provides a great source of support for this site. The vendors I’ve chosen to link to have proven to be trustworthy and are the very best resources available. That is why I recommend them personally.

HomePreservationManual.com is the place to visit if you want information on

  • maintaining your home
  • how to improve air quality
  • ways to improve the real value of your home
  • what are the best housekeeping services
  • the problems with handymen services
  • how to plan and execute home renovation and home improvement projects
  • tips for spring cleaning; tidying up a messy house
  • and generally how to be a better homeowner.

Make sure you download your monthly maintenance checklist for this month.

Linking to this site

Do you want to link to anything on this site? Please do! Go right ahead. Always feel free to link to anything you find helpful. Of course, please never copy anything (everything is copyrighted and registered), but link away and thanks!

Thank you!

Copyright and permission to use information.

If you have questions or just want to say hi, please send me a note. If you are looking for help performing the work described and you are in the San Francisco area, go to HPS Palo Alto Inc.and request a free evaluation.

As a reminder, it is unlawful to make copies including cut and paste or especially in the form of making printouts for reuse. If you wish to make a print for personal use, I will happily grant you one-time permission if you will kindly send me a request in writing.

Thanks again!

More on Hardscape...


Home Zones

All
Plumbing
Climate
Electrical
Structure
Windows/Doors
Interior
Appliances
Utilities
Landscape
Emergency
Plumbing
Plumbing
Climate
Climate
Electrical
Electrical
Structure
Structure
Windows/Doors
Windows/Doors
Interior Finishes
Interior Finishes
Appliances
Appliances
Utilities
Utilities
Landscape
Landscape
Emergency
Emergency
Plumbing Systems
Plumbing Systems
Main Water Service
Main Water Service
Fittings & Fixtures
Fittings & Fixtures
Water Heaters
Water Heaters
Waste / Septic Systems
Waste / Septic Systems
Fire Extinguishers
Fire Extinguishers
Climate Control
Climate Control
Thermostats
Thermostats
Heat Sources
Heat Sources
Air Quality
Air Quality
Air Conditioners
Air Conditioners
Exhaust/Ceiling Fans
Exhaust/Ceiling Fans
Mold/Mildew
Mold/Mildew
Condensation
Condensation
High Efficiency Furnaces
High Efficiency Furnaces
Electrical
Electrical
Switches
Switches
Outlets
Outlets
Lighting
Lighting
Distribution Panels / Circuit Breakers
Distribution Panels / Circuit Breakers
Smoke / CO Detectors
Smoke / CO Detectors
Electric Water Heaters
Electric Water Heaters
Structure
Structure
Exterior Finishes
Exterior Finishes
Roof System
Roof System
Insulation
Insulation
Fastners
Fastners
Foundation
Foundation
Basement / Crawlspace
Basement / Crawlspace
Attics
Attics
Termites
Termites
Windows
Windows
Doors
Doors
Locks/Hardware
Locks/Hardware
Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping
Interior Finishes
Interior Finishes
Drywall
Drywall
Trim Work
Trim Work
Flooring
Flooring
Mirrors / Shower Door / Glass
Mirrors / Shower Door / Glass
Cabinets / Countertops
Cabinets / Countertops
Paint / Coatings
Paint / Coatings
Hardware
Hardware
Stairs/Railings
Stairs/Railings
Appliances
Appliances
Ovens
Ovens
Cooktops
Cooktops
Exhaust Hoods
Exhaust Hoods
Disposals
Disposals
Dishwashers
Dishwashers
Compactors
Compactors
Refrigerators / Freezers
Refrigerators / Freezers
Ranges
Ranges
Washer / Dryers
Washer / Dryers
Central Vacuum
Central Vacuum
Microwave Oven
Microwave Oven
Utilities
Utilities
Underground Systems
Underground Systems
Electricity / Communication
Electricity / Communication
Water-Municipal / Wells
Water-Municipal / Wells
Natural Gas / Propane
Natural Gas / Propane
Sewer / Septic
Sewer / Septic
Garden
Garden
Hardscape
Hardscape
Lighting
Lighting
Driveways
Driveways
Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor Furniture
Outbuildings
Outbuildings
Living with Fire
Living with Fire
Family Emergency Strategy
Family Emergency Strategy
Earthquake Preparation
Earthquake Preparation
Surviving Snow
Surviving Snow

Help me to help you

Thank you for taking time to use this free website. I hope you find the junk-free information here fun and useful? Please send me your comments and feedback.

Writing and maintaining the information in this manual is a lot of hard work. By sharing these pages with your friends, you help me to continue the effort.  You can easily share these pages to all your favorite social media sites via the shortcut buttons on the sidebar. You can also simply email the page link to your friends. Please share often.

The very best way to help me happens when you use the embedded links to buy things. Using a link is easy and free, yet it provides a great source of support for this site. The vendors I've chosen to link to have proven to be trustworthy and are the very best resources available. That is why I recommend them personally.

HomePreservationManual.com is the place to visit if you want information on

  • maintaining your home
  • how to improve air quality
  • ways to improve the real value of your home
  • what are the best housekeeping services
  • the problems with handymen services
  • how to plan and execute home renovation and home improvement projects
  • tips for spring cleaning; tidying up a messy house
  • and generally how to be a better homeowner.

Make sure you download your monthly maintenance checklist for this month.

Linking to this site

Do you want to link to anything on this site? Please do! Go right ahead. I appreciate it and am honored to be considered as a resource on your website. Always feel free to link to anything you find helpful. Of course, please never copy anything (everything is copyrighted and registered), but link away and thanks!

Thank you!

Copyright and permission to use information.

If you have questions or just want to say hi, please send me a note. If you are looking for help performing the work described and you are in the San Francisco area, go to HPS Palo Alto Inc.and request a free evaluation.

As a reminder, it is unlawful to make copies including cut and paste or especially in the form of making printouts for reuse. If you wish to make a print for personal use, I will happily grant you one-time permission if you will kindly send me a request in writing.

Thanks again!