How to Add Value to Your Home With Hardscapes
Any landscaping project will not be complete without the addition of a few beautiful yet functional fixtures such as decks and patios. While grass, plants, flower beds, and trees certainly beautify a home and add a touch of nature to a field of concrete structures, hardscapes are what make your outdoor space more useful.
In this article, we’ll talk about what hardscapes are, how to choose the right ones for your property, and how these can add value to your real estate.
What are hardscapes?
Essentially, hardscapes are the more permanent features of your outdoor areas, since these are commonly made with concrete, brick, stone, wood, and metal. These structures are not just decorative, but functional, too, and therefore a practical and worthy investment for any homeowner.
Hardscapes are a critical aspect of landscape design, which really dispels the notion that landscaping only has to do with plants and flower placements. These structures define and organize areas of your outdoors into usable sections, creating different zones for different purposes.
Some examples of hardscapes are patios, decks, pools, fountains, retaining walls, fences, arbors and gazebos, pathways and driveways, steps, and pergolas.
Choosing the right hardscapes
Any kind of hardscape element can be quite costly, time consuming, and labor intensive to build, which is why it’s best to carefully plan what structure you need most and would work best on your property, before diving into your landscaping project.
When deciding what hardscape to install on your property, take a few things into consideration:
- How do you want to utilize and enhance your outdoor areas?
- What is the climate and topography of your location?
- How much budget can you allocate on the project?
- How much time or money can you realistically spend on maintenance and upkeep?
For example, there is no use for a driveway if you don’t own a car and garage, and a small backyard may not be able to fit a patio. While a fountain can definitely make your lawn look more stately, the constant running water and sheer amount of maintenance required can be off putting and make a heavy dent on your finances.
On the other hand, a sloping land and an area subject to harsh climates can benefit from a retaining wall, a nice outdoor fire pit can be a nice way to enjoy the evenings with family and friends, and some fences can give you added privacy.
How hardscapes add value to property
If you have a discerning eye, it can be quite easy to tell if a hardscape element is value adding, practical, and actually useful, rather than a waste of money to display lavishness and status. Given that, these things are what you should be looking for (as a buyer) or aiming towards (as a homeowner).
Outdoor lighting should not only set the mood and create an inviting atmosphere, but actually illuminate an area adequately so that it’s safe to stay outdoors in the evening
- Driveways and walkways should not be bumpy and cluttered, but instead are wide enough and are well lit
- Patios, decks, and other open outdoor areas should be big enough to accommodate a few individuals, and are best for locations that see a lot of sunlight and not as much rain
- Outdoor fire pits and swimming pools are not practical in locations that see a lot of snow and long, cold winters when it’s too cold to stay outside
- Ponds and fountains are not as suitable in warmer climates where it can be a breeding ground for insects, nor for high altitude locations which have low water pressure
- Fences, if decorative, should look breathable rather than suffocating or imposing, or, if for privacy and safety, should actually do what it’s designed for
- Retaining walls should not only be decorative, but be placed in strategic areas, such as sloping lands and erosion prone soils
Having said these things, there are many ways that hardscapes add value to your piece of real estate, and not just for a monetary return on investment if ever you want to sell your home. Hardscape elements enhance your curb appeal, make your outdoor areas more usable, and provides added safety and privacy.