What Is Hardscaping?

Hardscaping can be described as (n.) “non-living structures in the built environment that are incorporated into a landscape” and also (v.) “the process and operations involved in building hardscape structures.”

We would also add that hardscaping is hard! Lifting tons of concrete and shoveling gravel in the heat of the summer is not for the faint of heart. A HUGE shout out here for Sean and the entire Groundhog Construction team who keep on plugging – despite the elements – to install fantastic hardscapes for our customers!

Some common hardscaping elements used in landscape construction.

granite mailbox posts

Installing hardscape features in a landscape (v.) is more than just picking out a style of landscape block and concrete pavers that you like and putting them down. You have to pay careful attention to how you build these hardscaping structures due to the freeze-thaw cycles here in New Hampshire.

Proper installation of hardscape elements.

Concrete Pavers – Proper base construction is critical when installing walkways and patios in New Hampshire. Our soil here is a silty- clay which has a tendency to hold water and should be removed to a minimum depth of 9 inches below the finished grade, extending at least 6 inches beyond the edge of the paver area. A compacted processed gravel base ensures that the area underneath the patio will not heave with freeze thaw cycles. Pavers are installed into 1 inch of concrete sand for drainage.

Sean installing the paver patio at Griffin Park in Windham NH

Landscape Block Retaining Walls – In addition to similar proper base material and compaction, landscape block retaining walls require special consideration to the force behind or load on top of the wall. Landscape block itself does very little to hold back the earth – it’s more of a veneer. Water is the prime shaper of the landscape. The effectiveness of a retaining wall is dependent on providing crushed stone and a footing drain behind the wall to prevent water from pushing it over. On retaining walls higher than 4 feet, soil reinforcement is used in layers to mitigate the load pressure behind the wall.

installing drainage behind a retaining wall in NH
Proper drainage behind a retaining wall is critical to its success

Don’t make hardscaping harder than it has to be!

“Do it right the first time” is solid advice when talking about installing hardscapes. When you consider the tons of material used in a hardscape project – it’s a lot of work if have to do it twice! Calling Groundhog Landscaping to install your hardscaping ensures you have the best materials installed by the best hardscaping team – without a shadow of a doubt!

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