• JXC Landscaping

JXC’s Guide to Choosing Hardscaping Materials

Any hardscaping project comes with a variety of decisions to make, the most important of which is selecting the right materials.


At JXC, we understand the frustration many homeowners face and have put together this guide to help out when you find yourself conflicted.


Before we go into the different hardscaping materials and when to select them, here are some design elements you want to consider:



Color

Color is a vital element in any design project, including hardscaping. For your project, you can manipulate it to set the tone, mood, and ambiance for your space.


Purple, blue, and green are cool hues often put to use to create a soothing and calming feel. Warm colors, on the other hand, exude energy. You can also go with neutral colors like gray, beige, and taupe.


Texture

The right texture can help differentiate your hardscaping space from others. For example, using naturally-patterned materials such as fieldstone helps create a natural feel. You can also achieve a modern look with smooth-textured materials like porcelain pavers.


Now, let’s go into the different materials and when to choose them:


Pavers

Pavers are made of varying materials, the most common of which are concrete, flagstone, or brick. And they come in different colors and shapes.


Pros

  • One big upside of using pavers is their durability.

  • They rarely break or crack.

  • And if anything goes wrong, it is easy to replace a single paver.

  • They also handle the freeze-thaw cycle of the winter months remarkably well.

Cons

  • Not very easy to install.

  • More expensive than some other materials such as gravel.

  • Weeds can grow in-between the cracks.

Use pavers when

  • You want a mix of beauty and quality.

  • Durability is a priority.

  • You are not limited by budget.


Concrete

Concrete is the second most widely used material in construction, second only behind water.


Pros

  • Very versatile, can work for any backyard shape.

  • Easier to install than pavers.

  • Cheaper than pavers.

Cons

  • It can crack.

  • Low return on investment.

  • Can be slippery in wet conditions.

Use concrete when

  • You have a limited budget.

  • You value function over aesthetics.

Best used for

Patios, driveways, steps, walls, pathways, etc.


Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete is concrete designed to look like tiles or stone. As a result, it looks better than regular concrete.


Pros

  • Aesthetically better than concrete.

  • Unlike regular concrete, cracks are less noticeable.

Cons

  • Not easy to install.

  • It’ll be hard to create an exact color or pattern match during repairs.

When to use

  • You want a cheaper but patterned material.

  • You want a versatile material that’ll fit any property.

Best used for

Patios, driveways, steps, walls, pathways, etc.


Tile

Tile is one of the oldest materials you can find. While it is often used indoors, it is also a great outdoor material.


Pros

  • Durable and easy to maintain.

  • Easy to replace.

  • They are made of recycled materials.

  • Ideal for different climates.

Cons

  • Can be slippery when wet.

  • Expensive

When to use

  • You want a durable and maintenance-free material.

  • When you’re not limited by budget.

Best used for

Pathways, steps, and patios.


Brick

Brick is particularly known for its durability. They can also be laid in a variety of designs to blend in with the existing exterior decor.


Pros

  • Ideal for long-term use.

  • Low maintenance.

  • Can withstand heavy usage.

  • Does not crack.

Cons

  • Basic look

When to use

  • You want function over beauty.

  • You want something very durable.

Best used for

Walls, steps, patios, pathways, and driveway.


Loose stone

Loose stone is a cost-effective hardscape material that comes in various colors, styles, and shapes.


Pros

  • Availability in various colors, shapes, and styles gives room for different designs.

  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Uneven surface makes it unideal for pathways.

  • Cleaning is difficult.

When to use

  • Low-traffic areas.

Best used for

Driveways, patio, and gravel pathways.


Wood

Wood is often used for decks but can work for pergolas, fences, and other hardscape elements.


Pros

  • Gives a natural, warm feel.

  • Eco-friendly.

  • Can be stained to match other designs.

Cons

  • High-maintenance.

  • Not very durable.

When to use

  • To get a warm, natural look.

Best used for

Fences, steps, pergolas, gazebos, and decks.



We hope you find this guide helpful in choosing the right material for your hardscape project. If you live in and around Austin, TX, and need further help, do not hesitate to contact us.

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