How to Care for Your New Hardscape
Yard maintenance means more than plants.
A well-placed hardscape — essentially, any non-living element in your landscape design — can help create the form, function and aesthetic you desire in your home’s backyard.
Hardscape elements — such as a brick patio, a stone retaining wall or a paver walkway — provide definition and a sense of organization to your landscape’s natural areas and features. They are ideal for defining the use of various spaces, from an outdoor kitchen or pool deck to a winding walkway or seating wall.
Because a properly installed hardscape is an investment, it’s important to follow recommended maintenance procedures to ensure many years of use and enjoyment. Here’s what to consider when working with a landscape professional to maintain your hardscape.
Pitfalls to Avoid
The climate in our D.C. Metro area is prone to frequent fluctuations, resulting in up to 35 freeze/thaw cycles per year. This situation can cause an improperly maintained or neglected hardscape to deteriorate in just a few years, if not less.
If a hardscape is not properly cared for, mildew, moss and other debris can build up over time and mortar joints can fail after roughly eight to 10 years — especially if salt products are applied, damaging the stones and concrete base. Sealing a hardscape’s joints will prolong its life, but the joints eventually will need to be cut out and repointed.
An annual inspection in the spring is recommended in order to formulate a plan to prepare the hardscape for the season’s use and enjoyment.
Required maintenance varies depending on the type of hardscape material used in your yard. In general, natural stones, especially travertine, should be sealed with a water-based sealer every two years. Pavers may require reapplying polymeric sand every two to three years, depending on weather, and can be sealed to make the colors more vibrant and help protect from oil and other staining.
No matter the hardscape’s surface material, a thorough cleaning should be performed before it is sealed.
Maintaining any hardscape post-installation can be done easily by an experienced landscape company with the knowledge and wisdom to apply the correct products and follow the proper maintenance procedures. Their expertise includes the ability to perform repairs needed to enhance your hardscape’s beauty and lifespan.
Not all hardscape surfaces are the same, so they require different treatments depending on the material and application. A company with years of experience will know how to treat and repair each surface and condition your hardscape to ensure longevity.