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Hardscape Your Yard with Patio Block and Pavers

Hardscape features such as patios, walkways and retaining walls are great ways to add architectural elements to your home landscape. You should plan with the same level of care for these stone features as you would for a great landscaping design. Use this guide to help you prepare for all your hardscape projects.

Block Fireplace and Patio.

Hardscape Planning

Block Patio.

Before you begin your project, take some time to plan it out. Here are some ideas:

  • Sketch your yard's boundaries. Mark off major features like the house, trees, driveway, etc. Be sure to note where people are most likely to walk and mark the placement of windows and doors to help you plan logically.
  • Draw view lines on your plan from windows and doors. Beauty elements like patios, walkways or benches go along or around these lines so you can see them from your home. Plan to place utility elements, like grills or trash cans, outside the view lines.
  • Make plans for any pathways to be at least 3 feet wide.
  • Use steps or retaining walls to create different levels and add depth to the landscape.
  • Highlight entry and exit points with plantings or special paving designs.
  • Remember that grills require clearance on all sides from flammable material. When planning for placement, follow the manufacturer's instructions and any placement restrictions for your area.
  • When considering a hardscape project, make sure you're aware of any building codes or homeowner association rules that might apply to your work.
  • If you'll be adding outdoor furniture, remember that patios with tables need to follow these guidelines for space:

Size and Shape of Table Patio Space Required for Comfort
4-Foot Round Table 10 Feet x 10 Feet
5-Foot Round Table 12 Feet x 12 Feet
4-Foot Rectangle Table 9 Feet x 10 Feet
5-Foot Rectangle Table 9 Feet x 12 Feet

Caution

If you're planning for any projects that will require excavation, check for underground utilities before beginning. Call the North America One Call Referral Service at 1-888-258-0808 (or just dial 811) for a national directory of utility companies.

Other Hardscaping Tips

Once you start laying block or pavers, keep these points in mind:

  • Slope all hardscape elements away from the house.
  • Slope patios to make sure water runs away from the house. As a rule, drop about ¼ inch for every foot.
  • Don't be afraid to think big, but if you make a plan for the whole landscape, break it into manageable projects you can tackle one at a time.