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7 Answers to the Most Common "When To Start My Project" Questions

When it comes to timing your outdoor living project we get questions all the time about when the project should be completed. Not just about when as in “time of the year” but as in coordinating with other projects. So we decided to put together a list of the 7 most common “When questions” to help customers get a better understanding of just “when” their project should start and why.


“I’m looking to get my driveway repaved. Should my hardscape project be completed before or after the driveway?”

For numerous reasons, the driveway should always be the last piece of your outdoor project, for some obvious reasons such as preventing damage to your new driveway but also for some not so obvious reasons.

For example, when doing a new walkway or retaining wall that abuts the driveway, it is important for the hardscape projects to be done first. This way the driveway can be installed right up against the walkway or retaining wall. This creates a near watertight seal and helps to “lock-in” the blocks with the new driveway creating a long-lasting project.

All in all, having the Hardscapes project done before the driveway allows us to put the proper base in. This is important especially for walls that require a foot of base in front of them.

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“We are planning on installing a new pool and will need a pool patio, when is the best time to plan the patio?”

It is best to plan the pool and pool patio at the same time. During the initial design phase of your pool, it will be important to identify the patio space around it, how and if it connects to the house, and where are the limitations (property lines/septic, etc).

Moreover, it is possible to save money on your project by having United Hardscapes coordinate with the pool company for the excavation of the patio area. For example, with their heavy equipment on-site, it is best they cut out for the entire patio area around the pool during the pool construction. Additionally, when they go to backfill around the pool, it is ideal if they do not backfill all the way up instead of leaving it lower in the specific patio area.

By doing this, it removes another step for United Hardscapes - the “Excavation”. There is no point in paying for the contractor to fill in around the pool and then paying us to remove it all again. Simply put, pools are a large investment and should be planned appropriately to maximize your budget.

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“We are thinking about getting a pavilion down the road and would need a patio. Should we get the pavilion first or do the patio first?”

This will depend mostly on when you are thinking about getting the pavilion and the type of pavilion you will be getting. If you are considering a pavilion in the near future, know exactly what you want, and plan on getting a professional one that requires footings. In this case, it is best to have the piers installed prior to the installation of the patio. In order to do this correctly, it is important that United Hardscapes sets the “Grade” first, and then bases around the piers so they are below the pavers. This prevents the footings from being a visible eyesore.

If you are thinking about doing a pavilion in the future and have not decided on size or specs yet, no problem. The nice part about pavers is they are easy to pick up and replace, so when you are ready and make your final decision - simply give us a call, and we can let the contractor doing the footings know what to expect under the patio. If you need us to come back and cut around the posts and reset the pavers around the posts - that is also a service we offer.

If you are looking to get a simple pavilion, one that does not require footings, then you can place this directly on top of the patio with no restrictions or hesitations needed.

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“We need steps down to our patio from our back door or a new deck. Should we have this done prior to the patio or after?”

Ideally, any steps that would be coming down to the patio area should be done after the patio is complete. It is important that we set the grade of the patio based on the yard and ensure there is proper drainage away from the house.

The problem is when steps are done first, carpenters often don't think about the surrounding grade and can leave the steps too low. If this happens, we are forced to either change grade creating a larger project or the steps need to be readjusted. In the meantime, we also have to compact underneath the stairs, and with the stairs being there already - it is not possible

To prevent these issues, it is crucial to at a bare minimum wait for a grade mark from United Hardscapes prior to stair construction.

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“We are thinking about getting sprinklers for our yard, when should we do this in relation to a hardscape project?”

It depends on the location of where the sprinklers are being installed. If the sprinklers are going to be through a non-work area, then they can be installed at any time and won’t affect the hardscape project. Instead, we would identify the sprinkler heads and lines and mark them out to avoid any damage.

However, if you are looking to add sprinklers around the hardscape project work area or need to run pipe/connections under the patio or walkway, then it is best to hold off on any installation until after the core hardscape construction is complete and, if needed, United Hardscapes can add pipe sleeves under the project allowing the sprinkler company to easily install the piping after the hardscape project is complete.

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“We are looking to do landscaping around our new hardscape project and need ideas for plants and landscape. When is the best time to be thinking about this?”

In most cases, people tend to be very visual, and sometimes especially on larger hardscape projects, it is actually best to wait to think about this until the hardscape project is complete. Though 3D designs can help early on, we find that customers can really get a visual only after the initial hardscape is done. At that point, additional pictures and 3D drawings can be added if needed to complete that picture.

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“We have a new construction house and are thinking about doing some hardscape work in the future. When is the best time to get this completed?”

Though many people in this situation like to “get the house done first, then think about hardscaping”, it is actually more beneficial and cost-effective to coordinate the hardscaping during the construction of the house. Given it is a construction site, we can reduce the cost of hauling out materials, don’t have to factor in the cost of repairing lawns, and overall, you have more options during construction than you do working off an existing layout. So, if at all possible and the budget allows, it is reasonable to get the ball rolling on your hardscape project sooner than later in order to maximize your budget and yard potential.

Though we have not answered all the when and the why questions, this should give you some guidance and overall view that hardscaping is construction. All in all, to save money, time, and frustration, you need to have a plan and know when is the best time to start your hardscape project.

For any additional questions, feel free to message us via our live chat option or request a free estimate for your project.

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Ready to get started?

Now is the time to start planning your hardscape project and United Hardscapes
is the company to start planning it with