Building Your Landscape:A Guide to Hardscaping for Bay Area Residents

A yard’s “hardscape” refers to the things we build into the environment, such as patios, walkways or decks. Learn more about how hardscaping can make your yard an ideal space for entertainment, play and relaxation.

On this page… 

Why Outdoor Fireplaces Are So Popular

Is a Sunshade Right for Your Needs?

How to Refinish Your Deck

Why You Should Do Your Research on Patio Permits

How Your Paving Stones Can Last Longer and Look Better

Considerations for Choosing Synthetic Turf

How to Make Your Fence Work With Your Landscaping Plans

The Benefits of Hidden Brackets

             

Banner Photo: Pacific Landscaping, 2016

FIRE PITS
Why Outdoor Fireplaces Are So Popular

by Dave Graham, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor and owner of Atlas Landscapes

hardscaping fire pit
A gas-powered stone fireplace does away with common drawbacks like smoke and the need to gather wood. Photo: Atlas Landscapes, 2016

Fireplaces date back to ancient times, when people would sit around the fire and tell stories. Today, fewer and fewer homes have indoor fireplaces (especially in California, which has strict environmental regulations), but outdoor fireplaces are growing in popularity...
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Fireplaces date back to ancient times, when people would sit around the fire and tell stories. Today, fewer and fewer homes have indoor fireplaces (especially in California, which has strict environmental regulations), but outdoor fireplaces are growing in popularity. - See more at: http://experts.diamondcertified.org/the-benefits-of-an-outdoor-fireplace/#sthash.YHzKOJUk.dpuf
SUNSHADES
Is a Sunshade Right for Your Needs?

by Jennifer Filzen, marketing representative at Acme Sunshades Enterprise Inc., a Diamond Certified company

hardscaping red sun shade
This free-standing awning is retractable in the event of rain or heavy winds. Photo: Acme Sunshades Enterprise Inc., 2016

Let’s say you own a restaurant and want to create an outdoor dining space for your customers. You can have any type of pergola, sunshade or awning built for you, but there are several things to consider before making a final decision...
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DECK MAINTENANCE
How to Refinish Your Deck

hardscaping deck forest
After you apply the final sealer coat, wait 24 to 48 hours before using the deck. Photo: Clough Construction, 2016

Between winter rain and summer sun, a wood deck can take quite a beating, which is why annual maintenance is crucial to keep it looking and functioning optimally. With increases in both temperature and daylight hours, spring is the ideal time to refinish your deck in preparation of summer leisure...
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PERMITS
Why You Should Do Your Research on Patio Permits

hardscaping patio cover
State law requires any patio cover greater than 120 square feet to have a permit. Photo: Delta Pacific Builders Inc, 2016

Many Bay Area cities have stringent guidelines when it comes to building codes and permits. Some homeowners find this process to be a hassle, but experts say the rules exist primarily to protect consumers...
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Find a Diamond Certified Company to Improve Your Yard
PAVERS
How Your Paving Stones Can Last Longer and Look Better

by Roger Van Alst, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor and president of Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc.

hardscaping paver stones driveway
To keep your pavers looking their best, plan to have them professionally cleaned and re-sealed every three years. Photo: Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc., 2016

Whether you have an older paving installation or are putting in a new one, it’s worthwhile to consider the benefits of having it professionally sealed. Since paving stones naturally fade over time, applying a sealer helps preserve their original pigment… Read More 

TURF
Considerations for Choosing Synthetic Turf

by Eric Beresford-Wood, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor and owner of Diamond Greens

hardscaping synthetic grass close-up
You might assume all synthetic turf is the same, but there are actually different styles for different applications. Photo: Diamond Greens, 2016

It’s commonly thought that all synthetic turf is the same, but in reality, there are a variety of designs for different applications. That’s why, when choosing a synthetic turf product, it’s important to consider how it’s going to be used... Read More 

FENCING
How to Make Your Fence Work With Your Landscaping Plans

hardscaping fence
Be sure to use pressure-treated wood for fence posts as they are chemically treated to help resist damage caused by water and insects. Photo: California Fencing, 2016

For many homeowners, installing a new fence isn’t just an aesthetic or functional addition to their daily lives—it’s the motivating factor for redoing an entire landscape... 
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DECK SAFETY
The Benefits of Hidden Brackets

by Weston Leavens, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor and owner of Deckmaster Fine Decks, Inc.

hardscaping decks hidden brackets
With hidden brackets, deck boards are attached and reinforced from beneath. Photo: Deckmaster Fine Decks, Inc., 2016

Many deck builders are still nailing or screwing decks together from the top down, which can cause several problems down the road. Besides being unsightly, protruding nails and screws can be a tripping hazard...
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