When designing your dream outdoor space, making decisions can be challenging. And let’s be honest, there are a whole lot of decisions to make. From selecting the right landscape designer to choosing the right plants for your space, the number of decisions can feel overwhelming.
Our first post in this series, selecting a hardscape project by the appearance, is certainly the easiest way to rule out products that won’t work, however, considering durability, use, and budget when selecting hardscape material is also extremely important.
Considering Durability, Use, and Budget
Durability is an extremely important factor to consider, especially in Northern Michigan. The freeze-thaw period, as well as snow and rain throughout the year, can really cause havoc on the wrong type of material. Most product selections are appropriate for Northern Michigan, however, a choice like a poured concrete slab (even if it is beautifully stamped) will crack due to our weather conditions. Durability and considering how you will use the space really go hand-in-hand. For example, if you select a softer or more natural product, scooting chairs in and out from the table repeatedly can scratch or damage the surface of some hardscape options.
Use of Space
We recommend really considering how the space will be used before making a product selection as well. Some products are very uneven surfaces and would be problematic for an outdoor dining area for example. Other products get very warm to the touch in the summer sun and some need more maintenance than others. Communicating to your design team your dreams for how you plan to use the space is a great first step as it really impacts all other areas of the project, from durability to specific elements to include your landscape.
Obviously, regardless of how extensive a project is, everyone has a budget. It is wise to decide what is most important to you in your outdoor space. If having several elements like a kitchen and fire pit is most important, you may need to make more conservative budgeting choices on your hardscape material. If the aesthetic is most important, you may want to splurge on the material choice and add in additional elements later. It is important to remember if a natural or porcelain paver is out of budget, there may be a very similar-looking manufactured product available. Seeking out professional designers and architects is important as they can help to provide a full picture of product choices.