The Cost of A Hardscape Installation: 3 Steps to Get The Best Value at The Best Price

When you imagine a yard with an amazing landscape, it’s usually a combination of softscaping and hardscaping. For example, stone paths winding through vegetation, or a pergola with vines and flowers coiling around its posts and beams.

Hardscaping by definition encompasses all of the man-made structures within a landscape’s architecture. Typically built from “hard” materials such as brick, stone, metal, wood, and concrete, structures can include walkways, fences, patios, fountains…you get the idea. Sofscape includes the living side of your landscape. such as plants, soils, and mulch.

The cost of a hardscape installation depends on the structures you choose and how you approach the project. In this article, we’ll first look at the average costs of some popular projects. Then, Bryan Clayton, the CEO of GreenPal (described as Uber for Lawn Care) shares his three recommended steps to getting the best deal on hardscaping installations.

Let’s get started.

Costs of popular hardscape projects

Each hardscape project requires a design, the materials, and the installation. As a result, prices can vary greatly from one project to the next. For instance, the cost of a gravel path will be quite different than the cost of a wrought iron fence. Here’s a look at the average national costs for select projects as reported by Home Advisor.

These can give you a ballpark idea of how much projects cost. Note that local estimates are also available on the Homeadvisor website. However, your cost may be very different depending on your specific project and the approach you take to getting it done.

Clayton advises you to follow these three steps.

Step 1: Hire an independent designer

When deciding on hardscaping, many homeowners will go straight to an installation company to find out how much their project will cost. Clayton says, “This is where most homeowners make a crucial mistake.” He explains, “They don’t think they need to enlist the services of a designer to lay out the project before quoting the installation begins.”

Most homeowners don’t realize that the preparation work for pavers is 75% of the project costs and that it’s often something that will not show up until years later if not done improperly.”

Why is it wise to pay an independent landscape architect to design your hardscaping project first? “Because then you can use that plan to get solid reliable quotes from local hardscaping installers,” says Clayton. He adds, “Many contractors have their own designers in-house, which can be handy. However, it marries you to the one contractor that you are interviewing.”

Clayton explains, “It’s better to have an independent designer lay out your project using design software and then to use those construction documents to solicit quotes from local installers.”

It’s always better to be able to shop around instead of settling for the one deal you are offered, as inspectors will be submitting bids and competing for your business. Furthermore, Clayton says, “Design is crucial for mapping out where your new hardscape amenities are going to be placed on your property and also navigating around fencing, irrigation systems, and any other utilities.”

Overall, it’s a good first step for multiple reasons.

Step 2: Shop around for materials

Next, it’s good to know what material options are available for your project and what their price/quality is. This way, you can make an educated decision on which materials to use. For example, Clayton says, “Belgard pavers is the industry leader for hardscape materials. They are recognized for the beauty and durability of their products. However, there are several good alternatives that are less expensive.”

He explains, “These days, many hardscape pavers are produced locally at a cheaper cost and you can source them through any landscaping supply store.”

By gaining knowledge on the range of materials available to you before starting on your project, you can potentially lower your costs significantly.

Step 3: Choose the hardscaping installer carefully

Lastly, once you have your designs in hand and materials in mind, it’s time to contact different installers to get estimates. In addition to price, Clayton warns, “Be very careful to ask about their processes.” You want to ensure that you aren’t just getting the best price, but the best value for your investment.

Clayton says, “Improper installation can result in hardscaping failure. For example, have you ever seen an old brick pathway where the bricks are uneven and settled? ” He explains, “The same thing will happen on your paver project if the contractor you choose does not excavate eight to 10 inches of your soil, lay a proper foundation gravel base, compact that base with a compactor, install a sand bed, and then install pavers on top of that.

Most homeowners don’t realize that the preparation work for pavers is 75% of the project costs and that it’s often something that will not show up until years later if not done improperly.”

To vet installers, Clayton advises, “Make sure that you ask the contractor you are interviewing about their processes. Also, ask to go look at some projects they have completed that are more than two years old to ensure that their workmanship will stand the test of time.”

When you find an installer that strikes the balance with a competitive price and quality work, hire them.

Hardscaping installation costs: Budgeting and financing

What if you can’t afford all the hardscaping you want?

Clayton says, “Lay out a proper budget that includes how much you want to spend on your hardscaping project, and decide if you are going to complete it all at once or in phases.” He adds, “Sometimes homeowners will start with a walkway, then add a new patio, then the outdoor living space, etc.”

If you would like to get financing to help pay for your projects, there are many options. You can turn to credit cards, online personal loans, or borrowing against the equity in your home.

Of the bunch, personal loans offer a nice mix of convenience, accessibility, affordability, and limited risk. Online lenders like Lightstream, Avant, and Prosper allow you to apply within a few minutes. Upon getting approved, you can get the funds in as little as one day.

When choosing a lender, you can use Clayton’s approach of getting the lenders to compete for your business. Start by using SuperMoney’s loan offer engine, which won’t affect your credit score. You will receive offers from a number of lenders, after which you should review and compare the top choices to pick the best one.

If you can’t get enough funding to finish your entire landscape, don’t worry. “You don’t have to tackle all of the hardscape dreams at one time, as many hardscaping projects can run into the tens of thousands of dollars very quickly,” says Clayton. Instead, prioritize them and bring them to life as your budget allows.

See what rates you qualify for now with SuperMoney’s loan offer engine

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