PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Landscaping is a great way to dress up your property with trees or flowers. But hardscaping with things like stone, brick or concrete can also make your yard look great or even extend your living space.

In this week’s Angie’s List, Jim Donovan shows you what to consider if you’re thinking about doing some hardscaping.

Hardscaping not only adds appeal to your property, but it can also make life a little easier for you by taking some of the work out of maintaining your yard.

“You can cut down on the amount of lawn mowing you’re doing, and give yourself a nice area to dine outside, for example. It also requires less water. So if you’re in an area where you typically have really hot, dry summers, here’s a way to help your yard look good all year-round without the on-going maintenance,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

Many people use hardscaping to create a patio but make sure you carefully consider how large you want the area to be.

“It’s hard to come in and make it larger after the fact so it’s best to get the sizing down first and going a little bigger is a lot of times the right way to err,” said Hicks.

Another potential mistake is assuming you can tackle this job on your own.

“A lot of people may try to do hardscaping themselves, but it can be difficult and if you want it to hold up you have to have it properly drained for example and make sure it’s level. These are all things that can prove challenging for a do-it-youselfer. If you’re thinking about a major hardscape project you probably want to talk to a landscaper,” said Hicks.

More advice from Angie:

What are the benefits of hardscaping?

• Low maintenance: A patio may require a bit of re-sanding every four or five years, but hardscaping requires no watering.
• Several design options: With more options than ever for hardscapes, it’s not unusual to blend different styles together to create a customized look.
• Makes outdoor entertaining easier. Hardscaping extends the living space outside with items like manufactured block and fire pits.
• Permeable pavers are an environmentally friendly option. They help reduce the amount of storm water runoff entering natural waterways, which can carry with it contaminants and pollutants. Instead, the water is allowed to naturally drain into the ground.

Hiring a company to design your hardscape:

Hardscaping projects can be challenging for do-it-yourselfers. A lot of soil needs to be hauled off to get the sand and stone in. Homeowners don’t have the compaction equipment needed to properly prepare the base. It’s important to research information specific to your area’s climate; to account for storm water runoff and to follow proper drainage procedures. Consult with a contractor who

• has knowledge in hardscaping. They will know how material will hold up in a particular climate.
• Regardless of the type of hardscape products you use, properly preparing the base of any project is critical. The most important thing to remember is that you want it to last, so it’s very important that you not create problems as you build it. Making sure it’s draining the right way and checking that it’s level.
• A qualified professional landscaper should have the training, tools, equipment, and quality products necessary to do the job right the first time. Before you hire, check the company’s work history, look at photos of their work and make sure the landscaper is certified in concrete paver installation by the Interlocking
Concrete Paver Institute.

Ask for references from prior clients who have projects that have been in place for more than a season or two to see how they’re holding up.
• A professional can also advise on maintaining your hardscape after installation to protect your investment, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the project.
• Check with local agencies to see if permits are required to do the work.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE