Technically anyone could do hardscaping, but should they?


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     If you are considering adding a hardscape project to your home, you may have begun to notice that there are many factors to consider.

     Of course, there are a few obvious factors that come to mind: the materials, the size, the design—but the most important decision that can often be overlooked, is the team that will make your outdoor vision a reality.

     “Overlooked” may seem like a strong word to some, but sadly it’s true. Money is usually the number one reason why, because hardscaping projects are expensive. Depending on the project, the materials alone can cost around $5,000 or more. So, for anyone who is trying to stick to a project budget, it can be hard to hand over an extra $2,000 to a hardscaping company when their landscaping crew said they could do it for $2,000 less.

     Which when looking at it initially, that’s completely understandable why people would consider other companies and individuals that don’t specialize in hardscaping. Why hire a hardscaping company when you could hire your landscaping company, an independent contractor, or even a friend or family member who enjoys home improvement work? It would seem to anyone to be the best deal, because technically, anyone can lay out pavers or pour concrete, and the best part is it also saves you money, right?

     It may seem to save you money on the surface. At Kansas City Hardscapes, we unfortunately see many home owners who struggle with the aftermath of choosing the wrong company or individuals to install their hardscapes. $10-20,000 projects that are only a year or two old need repairs due to issues with the foundation, water pooling, and retaining walls that are bowing. Now their $20,000 project needs $5,000 of repairs, and they are having to spend $3,000 more than they would have originally spent had they used a specialized hardscaping company from the beginning.

     We understand this can be hard to swallow and adding more money to a project is difficult, let alone when you there is a way to initially bring the costs down with someone who expertise isn't in hardscaping. However, this is one of those scenarios where the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true. When you pay a lower price in certain industries, such as home improvement, you will get exactly the level of quality that you pay for. What level of quality you want all depends on personal preference, but let us ask you this—Do you want something that just works or do you want something that exceeds your expectations?

     We feel like it’s a no brainer. If you already are spending a large sum of money on a project for the quality of the materials and design, why not give the same amount of quality to the work that goes into the craftsmanship and creation of the project? That way its completed exactly how you envisioned and you know that you won't have any worries with it down the road!

     So when adding on that extra project cost for using a credible hardscaping company, think of it as an insurance investment. Take our company for example. At Kansas City Hardscapes, you are spending that extra money on the quality of craftsmanship, on a team of seasoned hardscaping professionals who know the ins and outs of hardscaping from construction to completion, and the peace of mind that your hardscaping project will look as good as new even 10, 20 years down the line. So that way, in a couple of years when issues would typically start to arise from poor installation, you can look at your beautiful hardscape project and thank yourself for saving yourself more money in the long run by going with a specialized hardscaping company.

     We will finish this post with this final piece of advice: Just because anyone could do a hardscaping project, it does not necessarily mean that they should. Do thorough research and make sure the company or individual you hire is credible. A good way to do this is to ask them their experience level with hardscaping. If they don’t know typical hardscaping terms, or don't have any client credentials, or they don't have a portfolio of images for you to view of past work, that is a major red flag. That tells us that they do not typically work in this field and that your project could likely be their first. We can’t speak for others, but if we are putting $10,000 or more into a project for our home, we would rather put our money in good hands that we can count on and trust to do the project correctly. The only thing harder than having to spend a lot of money on a project is having to spend all that money and having the project come out wrong and then having to pay more in the long run to fix it. Spending a little more on the experts now will save you the stress, time, and money of doing the alternative, and you will have a beautiful project to love for years to come!


Breaking Down the Basics: A Beginners Guide to Hardscape Terms


Patio Pavers and Walls Edition


We know that looking through catalogs and visiting suppliers can be overwhelming and a lot of new information to digest for someone new to the hardscaping world.

In this blog edition, we will briefly be going over the main hardscaping terms and popular styles of patio pavers and walls. We hope that this information will make the selection process easier and will help give a deeper understanding of basic hardscaping terms and options. With that, let's get down to the basics!


Patio Pavers

 

A great place to begin is looking at the main types of pavers:

 

Next, we will look at the two main types of finishes on pavers:

Standard

 Typically a straight or smoothed edged finish for a clean look.  (as seen above)

Typically a straight or smoothed edged finish for a clean look. (as seen above)

Tumbled

 Typically rough and uneven edged finish. Gives the stone an old-world feel.  (as seen above)

Typically rough and uneven edged finish. Gives the stone an old-world feel. (as seen above)

 

Another important factor to consider is color. Each style usually comes in a variety of colors depending on the supplier. Colors can range from  deep blue-gray hues to deep red hues, all the way to light colored neutral tones to dark, rich colored neutral tones.

So no matter what color scheme you are looking for, there is sure to be one that will align to your vision!

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Last but not least to look over is paver border options. If you decide you would like a border, there are two main placement options that you can choose between:

Sailor

 Horizontal pattern  (Think like a ship) .

Horizontal pattern (Think like a ship).

Solider

 Vertical Pattern  (Think like a human body) .

Vertical Pattern (Think like a human body).

 

Borders can be done along the outside of the patio, giving it a framed look, and they can also be done inside the outer edge giving the patio a nice design or shape (as seen on the sailor image above). Many people also like to use Holland Stone for its simple design.

Right now, the most trendy border option is darker colors, such as Charcoal and Autumn.  (Vintage Stone in Charcoal is currently our most popular pick among our clients!)


Walls

 

If you choose to add a retaining or border wall to your patio, you can choose any corresponding wall that you like! Depending on the supplier, they usually have a matching set of your patio paver in wall block form, with the same and other color options. Feel free to mix and match or keep it simple and stick with the same color!

When looking at wall placement here are the main options to consider.

 

Straight

 Classic straight look, generally each wall block has a flat surface and lines up exactly with each other.

Classic straight look, generally each wall block has a flat surface and lines up exactly with each other.

Beveled

 Wall block is beveled outward rather than just a flat block surface.

Wall block is beveled outward rather than just a flat block surface.

Triplane

 Usually a beveled look, Triplane is often stacked in a staggered, inclining pattern.

Usually a beveled look, Triplane is often stacked in a staggered, inclining pattern.

 

Commonly seen on the tops of walls and fire pits are Caps. Depending on the supplier, caps generally come in many different stone materials, such as Ledge stone and Limestone, as well as even the same color and material as the wall block. Adding any caps to a wall is completely up to the homeowner and is mainly used for design aesthetic.

The two main categories of caps are listed below:

 

Rectangle Cap

 Caps can be seen at the top of the walls and columns above.

Caps can be seen at the top of the walls and columns above.

Trapezoid Cap (Often referred to as a "Trap Cap")

 Trap Caps can be seen on the Fire Pit and also lining the top of the seating wall.

Trap Caps can be seen on the Fire Pit and also lining the top of the seating wall.

 

We hope that after reading this blog, you now feel that you have an informed and deeper understanding of patio paver and wall hardscaping terms, options, and the popular trends. You may have even found some new possibilities for your space that you didn't initially consider! 

Regardless, we hope that this makes your hardscaping project and process easier, and we are of course here to help answer any further questions along the way.

Let's get building!


Special thanks to Keystone Hardscapes and Pavestone for the imagery!


Outdoors is In and Indoors is Out! Says The Hill's Magazine

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If you haven’t gotten your copy of this May’s edition of The Hill’s Magazine, here is a little overview and breakdown of their Outdoor Obsessed article, written by Cisely Thummel, where experts including Kansas City Hardscape owner, Benjie Lewis, talks hot and upcoming outdoor trends in hardscaping. 

In the above article, Thummel talks about how outdoor living is on the rise and people are finding new ways to incorporate their favorite indoor focused activities, like cooking, dining, lounging, and entertaining, into sunshine and starry night filled outdoor activities.

Outdoor experts, including our owner Benjie Lewis, say if you are looking to create your perfect outdoor space and bring your favorite indoor pastimes into the outdoors, these are the most popular and upcoming outdoor trends to consider:

 

Patios

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Entertaining guests will never be the same when you have a hand-built, hardscaped patio. Pavers come in wide varieties of materials and colors, and can be laid out in many designs. Popular design layouts being Herringbone, Running Bond, and Basket Weave. You can also add borders and mix pavers to give your space more color variety, definition, and contrast. Our owner, Benjie Lewis, explains in the article that the new trend is slate, limestone, and sleeker, natural looking pavers for a cleaner, geometric look. Although, regardless whether you go with a tumbled stone paver or limestone paver, it’s sure to impress!

 

Outdoor Kitchens

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Bring your culinary talents outdoors with an outdoor kitchen. Incorporate whatever cooking elements you like: a grilling station, pizza oven, meat smoking station, rotisserie station or even an outdoor bar with built in keg coolers and wine cabinets! 

 

Fireplaces

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Who says fireplaces are only used in the winter season? Give your entertaining area an upgrade and beautiful focal point to feature. With multiple design options and materials to choose from, you can make your outdoor fireplace as simple or extravagant as you like. You can even add a built-in pizza oven—Yum! 

 

Pools and Spas

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Give your backyard a luxurious and functional relaxation element. Whether it’s for cooling off, relaxing, exercise or for aesthetic purposes, you can’t go wrong with an in-ground pool or spa in your outdoor space. 

 

Pergolas, Walls, and Coverings

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Help give yourself more control over the outdoor climate with a Pergola covered area. Pergolas help shield the sun to give you some shade as well as provide a lovely vertical structure that you can grow and hang plants on, hang other accessories on such as: hammocks, pergola canopies or screens, or simply leave it as is for a clean, minimalist look. With that, walls are also excellent tools to help level your space to give you more space to build and add elements on to and they can help add privacy to your space as well.

 

Once all these outdoor elements come together, you are sure to have an outdoor living space that is not only geared and equipped to handle all of your favorite activities, but one you are sure to enjoy and create memories in for years to come!

 

Want to read the full Outdoor Obsessed article? Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kansascityhardscapes/ and check out our Hill’s Magazine post to read more!

A special thanks to The Hill’s Magazine’s Outdoor Obsessed article!

 

Hiring for the Right Job: Why Landscaping Companies aren't a Good Choice for Hardscapes

Simply Put: For a Landscaping company, hardscaping is a subcategory for something that shouldn’t be anything but a separate company

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By nature, a landscaping company’s specialty is landscaping, not hardscaping. A perfectly fine choice if you’re looking to have your grass cut, plants installed, an irrigation system installed, but if you need a patio or deck installed, you want a company whose specialty is in these areas. You wouldn’t hire an electrician to do your plumbing work. It’s two different areas of expertise.

 

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That is what we do. We specialize in Hardscaping. We never cut grass or install irrigation systems. We focus on creating the highest quality hardscapes that will last many decades.

 

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For many landscaping companies, they will install a patio or deck if requested. However, the skill and knowledge for a lasting patio is not something that naturally coincides. Kansas City Hardscapes is full of true craftsman with licensing and experience. Our crews have been doing hardscaping year-round for 10+ years. Since the landscaping companies only do hardscaping as they come, the experience of installed projects can probably be counted on one hand.

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We are constantly working to keep up to date with upcoming and new information for how to produce the best hardscapes. We attend paver company showcases and training classes. We attend the annual hardscape convention. We are constantly working to understand how to give you the best product. Our constant diligence and focus on hardscaping allows for a quicker, higher quality installation. A quick, cheap patio can mean a product that will not last and end up costing more than doing it right the first time. If you’re buying a new car, you’re not looking for the cheapest option because you want this product to last. The same mindset should be used for a patio, or you’ll end up at the mechanic with your car and seeing your patio settle and become uneven.

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We recommend looking at the reviews and pictures of completed projects. Many landscaping companies say they offer hardscaping but their reviews and pictures of completed projects do not reflect that they have experience, particularly good experience, with installation.

 

At Kansas City Hardscapes, we want to make sure that you are in the best hands when it comes to installing a hardscape. We are not saying that landscaping companies are the bad guys, just the wrong guys. Make the right decision for your family and your home. Call Kansas City Hardscapes for a free estimate on your new hardscape.

 

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There are many choices for how to incorporate elements into a hardscape. Adding one or more of these components to your hardscape can create focal points and intertwine stone and concrete with nature’s beauty. Read on and consider what element you will include in your hardscape.

Fire

One of the most popular hardscape elements is fire. Whether it be a firepit or a fireplace, there are many designs to consider. Both fire pits and fireplaces naturally become a spot to gather around with friends and family. They offer lighting and heating once the sun starts to set, and the ambiance will keep the conversations flowing. Not only are there different sizes and shapes, but firepits allow the choice to burn wood or gas and have colored glass or decorative rock fill the space to create a more modern look.

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Water

Adding a water feature to your hardscape increases the aesthetics tenfold. Not only are they beautiful, but the sound of flowing water creates a relaxing atmosphere. Close your eyes and you’ll be taken from suburbia to a spot right next to a flowing creek.

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Earth

The perfect addition to a hardscape is the surrounding landscape. Adding trees can create privacy, shade and bursts of color. Bordering flowers and other smaller greenery can expand the hardscape while adding texture and color. A mulch or decorative rock border can also be an excellent way to finish off the transition from the yard to the hardscape.

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Air

Taking an artistic license with the air element, we couldn’t leave out adding a pergola. Pergolas are a continuously growing trend allowing a place to add lighting, shade, hanging baskets, privacy and more. A pergola is an excellent place to have furniture under for outdoor meals or a sofa to relax on while the breeze allows absolute relaxation.

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Whether you choose one or multiple elements to include in your hardscape, adding these components will have you spending more time with the family outdoors than ever before. Get your free estimate and 3D design by calling 816-488-2547 or schedule an appointment now!

 

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& a special thanks to Belgard, Pavestone, Romanstone, Unilock, and
Techo-Bloc.