Guide to Sustainable Hardscaping

sustainable hardscaping

Most of the residential landscapes comprise a combination of hardscapes (patios, decks, walkways and driveways) and ornamental plants. When you think about the design, construction and maintenance of your landscape, consider how sustainable each part is and how it can be changed to be more sustainable.

Hardscaping is an easy and highly practical method that can be incorporated into a sustainable, environmentally friendly outdoor living area.

What makes hardscaping “Green”?

We don’t often think of water runoff-related problems. Even if it is controlled, every year huge amounts of water are wasted. It collects pollutants that ultimately harm the environment as the water flows into street gutters. If water runoff is not regulated properly, it will erode the soil.

One water source of runoff is driveways. You can install a water collection system in your driveway and store water in a rainwater tank, just as you have gutters around your roof to collect and distribute water runoff.

Designing your driveway to direct water to your lawn and garden is another way to make use of that potentially wasted water. You can even direct some water into a backyard stream, waterfall and pond with a bit of clever planning.

Municipal hardscaping also has other ecological benefits. It requires no water or fertilizer, by definition. It also helps with water sequestration and filtration when properly installed, reducing runoff, reducing the load on sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants, and filtering out pollutants.

How well do your landscaping materials incorporate the principles of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?

In your landscape, use fewer virgin materials. When feasible, reuse existing materials or select recycled products. In a variety of textures and colors, a series of new recycled landscape products are available. Many combine wood by-products with recycled plastics. These materials require almost no upkeep and last longer than timber. Decks, fences, benches, and planters can be used for them.

Random flagstones are some examples of some very cost-effective and beautiful pathway and patio hardscaping options. These give a variety of colour, density and even rough or smooth textures. Higher sheen materials or buff silhouettes can be utilized. For many areas in your garden, hardscaping also provides a natural weed repellant, as well as warming the earth during our periods of extreme colder temperatures. Concrete interlocking pavers and crushed aggregates are some further examples of frequently used hardscape materials. Through keystone block retention walls, natural stone step materials and unique architectural focal points such as basalt columns or other unique stone formations, you can also get the advantages of raised flower or vegetable beds.

Maintenance

Assessing the initial cost of construction materials is often easier than evaluating their long-term costs. The long-term maintenance costs of some construction materials can, however, be significant. Study its initial and long-term costs as well as its recommended uses before choosing a product. Not only might it be dangerous to use a product improperly, but it will probably increase your overall construction and maintenance costs.

To ensure that the product you select is approved for use in your area, always check local building regulations.

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