When you begin to design your next outdoor living project, you will quickly discover that there are numerous options to choose from when it comes to different materials to use. Choosing the right materials is crucial, since hardscaping projects will likely be among your most expensive and long-lasting outdoor projects.
Since there are so many options to choose from, most homeowners can find a material that fits their budget and their vision for their outdoor space. Preference and budget aren’t the only factors to consider of course, since certain materials work better in certain environments and are better suited for certain purposes. Here is a list of common materials for outdoor living projects:
Concrete is an affordable and durable option for patios and other hardscaping structures. Because of recent advances in the hardscaping industry, stamps, dyes, and stains can be used to create a stamped concrete that mimics the look of any stone. Concrete is also an excellent choice for outdoor countertops for a kitchen area. It is strong, resists fading, and also has a very robust look that goes well with most outdoor hardscapes. Concrete has one of the lowest prices of all of the materials listed here.
Natural stones are popular because they are beautiful and create a natural look. They are also durable, but require an incredible amount of skill to work with. The most popular natural stones include flagstone and stacked stones. Natural stone tends to be on the high end of the pricing scale.
Flagstone is a naturally occurring sedimentary stone that can be found in a wide variety of colors. This stone is popular because it is durable and beautiful, frequently used for patios, walkways, and paths. Installing flagstone can be difficult to install, and it is not recommended for use in do-it-yourself projects, unless you’re simply putting in a few stepping stones, which always makes for a nice look. Flagstone, like any natural stone, is on the high end of pricing.
Vertical surfaces including walls, outdoor kitchens, seating walls, fire pits, and more. This is a higher end option that creates a unique and rustic look. The stones used can be durable and beautiful, but like Flagstone, can be difficult to install. There tends to be a lot of cuts necessary to get the look of a stacked stone. Because of this, it is always recommended that a professional is hired instead of attempting to create a stacked stone structure on your own. This option is in the medium level of pricing.
Pavers are created from interlocking stones to create a beautiful patio which is durable and requires a very small amount of upkeep over the years. A paver patio can be made from a wide variety of stones to create the exact look you desire, including flagstone, cobblestone, artificial stone, tiles, and bricks. Pavers are on the low to medium end of pricing.
Granite is used outdoors just as it is indoors, for countertops. Outdoor kitchens look beautiful with a natural granite countertop and this material can easily be used inside your kitchen as well, so it’s easy to match the look of both kitchen areas. Granite is usually 1″ thick vs a concrete countertop that is usually 2″ thick. We tend to favor concrete countertops due to the robust look of them. We just think they look better.
Wood is used to create beautiful decks, pergolas, arbors, and trellises. In most cases, outdoor living pieces are built from cedar. If the homeowner has plans to paint the structure, then it will be built from treated wood. We don’t recommend the use of composite materials due to their high cost and the frequency of problems (twisting, bending, etc.). We have found that a cedar deck last just as long. We know the composite companies and salespeople will tell you differently, but we’re out in the field and see it often. Save your money and use wood.
The team at Hinkle Hardscapes has extensive experience working with each of the materials listed above. To learn more about beginning to designs your next outdoor living project, click here or call 816-741-2035.