Brick paths, stone walls, fountains and patios have made our homes more beautiful and comfortable for centuries. When professionally installed and well-maintained, these hardscapes add value to our property, and contribute to a low-maintenance and pleasant environment for us to enjoy.
Hardscapes that are poorly built or neglected, however, can quickly become eyesores that reduce our home’s value. Worse, they can be unsafe right from the start. For these reasons, keeping our outdoor spaces looking their best is necessary, and fortunately, doing so is simple and affordable.
First Things First
Be sure to choose a reputable landscaper for installation, and select the best quality materials you can afford. Why? Poor foundations under patios or walkways can result in cracks or uneven sections, that may one day cause a bad fall. Likewise, an improperly designed or hastily installed retaining wall can be dangerous when it collapses.
On the other hand, quality materials, skilled installation, and attention to detail from the beginning will save time, money, and hazards down the road.
Protect Your Investment
Whether magnificent or tastefully simple, hardscapes are a significant investment, so it makes sense to protect them from the start. Ask your landscaper or home improvement store for advice on sealants and weather-proofing, and carefully follow the instructions. When enjoying your outdoor space, always clean up any spills before they can stain, and pull weeds from joints before roots can cause any issues.
Keep it Clean
While sweeping and weeding are essential elements of home maintenance, a regularly scheduled thorough power washing or pressure cleaning of your hardscapes is necessary to keep your stone and brick a point of pride. Properly done, this will safely remove grime, stains, and moss or algae that can leave surfaces slick and hazardous. How often you treat your hardscape depends on the materials, how you use the space, and your climate.
Joints and cracks in walkways and walls can invite weeds, grass, insects, and water damage. Depending on your budget and desired look, there are several ways to address these weak points, from jointing sand, to herbicides, sealants, and mortar. Any of these methods will need to be refreshed or replaced from time to time: follow manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
Repair and Replace
When a crack develops, or a wall begins to lean, or pavers become loose, sooner is better than later in getting the problem repaired. For best results, consult a professional landscaper to determine not only the appropriate fix, but also to locate the original cause, in order to prevent future recurrences.
Real estate sources estimate that quality hardscaping adds 10-15% to your home’s value, so it pays not to overlook this investment. Better still, keeping your outdoor spaces clean, safe, and beautiful will help you enjoy them all year round.