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Lead Time: Schedule a No Worries Hardscaping Project

Firepit with Stone PatioIn the Seattle area, summer and fall seasons are prime time for installation of hardscaping projects for your yard. If you have a project in mind, like a patio or walkway, patio cover, fireplace or firepit, don’t wait until the last minute to call a qualified contractor.

If you need your project done “right now,” you will likely have to settle for substandard quality and craftsmanship. No one wants to waste money this way!

A qualified and reputable contractor can be booked out several months. Allow enough time in your planning for a contractor to give you an accurate bid so there are no surprises during the installation or over budget costs upon completion. You will also want to allow enough time for secondary requirements, such as architectural drawings, permits and special order materials.

You may ask the contractor to visit your residence to assess the property and gain a greater understanding of your ideas. When scheduled properly, the work of designers, builders and installers insures quality while transforming your home into a private resort.

Masonry is Built to Last

Stone Outdoor Fireplace

Imagine your outdoor fireplace in brick, natural stone, faux stone or stucco. For more ideas, click here.

It makes sense to consider energy-efficient, earth-friendly materials for your next residential hardscaping project. Many homeowners here in the Northwest have made these requirements a priority when extending outdoor living space.

“Washington’s environmentally-conscious culture demands sustainable materials that have long service life and require little maintenance,” states the Masonry Institute of Washington.

The benefits of using concrete, stone, tile, faux stone, pavers, block, brick and a host of other masonry products are clear. Masonry materials are recognized as durable, attractive and viable alternatives:

  • Environmentally friendly,  reusable and recyclable
  • A longer service life than most building materials
  • Result in lower maintenance and energy costs.
  • Have few of the problems associated with newer, synthetic building materials.

Most masonry products in our area are manufactured here and meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s requirement for potential LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits.

Design your next outdoor living space with natural masonry materials that look beautiful, save energy and are built to last.

Covered Areas improve your enjoyment of the Northwest Outdoors

Attached Covered AreaOutdoor grilling not only adds fantastic flavor and eye appeal to chicken, beef, pork or whatever your favorite meat or vegetables, it also allows the family to enjoy the outdoors together.

In the Great Northwest it is not a bad idea to put your grill under a covered area, as a local shower can occur at any time and spoil your party.

An attractive covered area, either attached to your home or  free-standing, extends your living area and keeps you out of the weather.

Local forecasters say weather patterns should return to normal for our area now that La Nina has left, but the news doesn’t provide much excitement for Northwest residents who may only get a taste of summer between July 4th and late September.

Improve your outdoor living experience by adding a top cover to your BBQ, outdoor patio, kitchen or grilling area. You could be surprised to find the rain even enjoyable if you can be outside under a covered area. It may help to make your  summer cookouts become favorite memories for your family and friends.

View more covered area options

Decks: Need to Have vs. Nice to Have

A deck is an extension of a home’s outdoor living space and can provide many hours of enjoyment for you, your friends and family.

If you’re thinking about adding a wood deck to your residence, you are likely experiencing one of these options:   “need to have” or  “nice to have”.

“Need to have” decking is for people who live in the foothills or a mountainous area with slope. The residence is likely built into the slope and the deck serves to extend living space. Without the extra space, you stay inside or deal with the slope of the terrain; neither are great options. If you decide to add or replace a deck, carefully consider whether you should add additional square footage to your residence.  This extension of your living space provides room for entertaining, dining and enjoyment.

“Nice to have” decking applications are typically found in homes built on flat ground. In this case, adding a deck allows you to change elevations, create a room outdoors or do something different with your space. Many decks are built around spas, outdoor kitchens or firepits.

Remodeling Magazine reports that more than 73% of the cost of building a wood deck could be recouped during sale. Buyers tend to place higher value on homes with multiple options for entertaining or relaxing.

Warm, Magical Outdoor Fireplaces

The ideal spot to gather family

Outdoor fireplaces add a classic touch, creating a warm and magical atmosphere for your patio, garden, backyard or poolside space.

Imagine your outdoor fireplace in brick, natural stone, faux stone or stucco.

Beautiful gas fireplaces and firepits are available that leave you free to entertain and require minimal clean up. You can start, adjust and snuff out fires with a remote control. With gas-fueled fireplaces and firepits, there is no worry about burn-bans, smoke, sparks, irritated neighbors, messy ashes or woodpiles. Gas fireplaces are 75-95% efficient

You may be a romantic who prefers traditional wood-burning fireplaces and firepits. If the smell and crackle of  dancing flames are your preference there are many styles and designs to discuss.

Wood Fences, Gates and Residential Security

Consider the role of a fence or gate

A good fence adds to your residential security.

US Alarm reports crawling over a fence of any height draws attention, so criminals are more likely to choose homes without fences.

A fence also provides safety and containment for children and pets, plus it offers the privacy you crave for your family while you enjoy your outdoor living space.

Along with fences, gates provide the perception of security, safety and privacy.

The question is: do fences and gates really reduce  crime? According to, the answer to that common question is an unqualified YES. Fences and gates provide both a physical and psychological barrier for criminals.

Privacy equals exclusivity in affluent residential neighborhoods, where adding an attractive gate entry system can easily add up to $50,000 in value to a single family home.

How Hardscaping Adds Property Value

What is Hardscaping?

It may not be a term you’ve heard, but you see it all the time. Hardscaping is the “hard” part of landscaping — like concrete or stone entrances, your deck or patio, outdoor firepits and fireplaces.

For example, constructing a patio or deck is a hardscaping project, as is a brick walkway, a stone wall, or a wooden fence. Anything that is a non-living part of your landscaping is technically part of your hardscaping.

There are seven important elements of hardscaping that affect the value of your residential property. These are walkways, arbors and trellises, outdoor kitchen areas, patios and decks, outdoor fireplaces, barbeques and firepits.

From beautifully designed fireplaces to patios, high quality hardscape designs can result in more than a 100% return on your investment. Ask an appraiser. 95% of home appraisers believe that hardscaping adds to the value of a residence and enhances the sales appeal of the property.

The quality of the materials and installation is key. Be very selective when choosing a contractor for your hardscaping project, because the return on your investment is directly tied to the quality of the materials and installation.