Frequently Asked Questions about Commercial Hardscape Projects

Hardscape is an important component of commercial properties and developments.  It includes the design and construction of entryways, marquee structures, outdoor surfaces, shade structures, access drives, retaining walls, shade structures, and other key features, along with site furnishings and other hardscape features.  With the right planning and execution, commercial hardscape enhances the beauty, functionality, and value of your property. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that cover various aspects of designing and building commercial hardscape projects for property owners, commercial contractors, municipal planners, and HOA management teams.

What are hardscapes?

Hardscape refers to the construction of non-organic (non-living) elements in outdoor spaces. This can include features such as permanent structures, outdoor surfaces, decks, sidewalks, retaining walls, shade structures and other amenities. Unlike softscapes, which involve living elements such as plants and trees, hardscapes focus on using hard materials like stone, brick, concrete, or wood to create functional and visually appealing outdoor spaces.

Why are hardscapes important?

Hardscapes are important in improving the overall appearance, value, enjoyment, and safety. Hardscape adds to the functionality of outdoor spaces, allowing visitors and users to enjoy outdoor spaces in various ways. Hardscapes can be used to improve accessibility and drainage within a property. Additionally, hardscapes increase the curb appeal of a property, making it more attractive to users and visitors.

What are some popular materials used in commercial hardscapes?

There are a variety of materials that can be used in the construction of commercial hardscapes, including:

  • Stone: This is a popular choice due to its durability and natural appearance. Different types of stone, such as flagstone, slate, or bluestone, can be used for different hardscape features.
  • Brick: A classic material that can be used for patios, walkways, structures, and walls. Brick is available in different colors and patterns, making it a versatile option.
  • Concrete: This versatile material is commonly used for driveways, patios, and walkways. It can also be stamped or stained to mimic the appearance of other materials like stone or brick.
  • Carpentry: While often associated with softscape projects, wood can also be used in hardscape projects such as decks and pergolas. It adds a warm and natural element to outdoor spaces.
  • Structural Steel: Structural steel is an excellent option for creating permanent, long lasting hardscape structure and can be used in building structures, pergolas, retaining walls, monument signage, and more.
  • Decorative Steel:  The incorporation of decorative steel provides endless possibilities for enhancing the beauty of many hardscapes.
What factors should be considered when designing a commercial hardscape project?

When designing a commercial hardscape project, some important factors to consider include:

  • Functionality: The purpose of the hardscape feature and how it will be used should be considered, along with load bearing and other engineering requirements where applicable. 
  • Aesthetics: The hardscape feature should complement the overall design of the property and its surroundings.
  • Budget: It’s important to have a realistic budget in mind when designing a commercial hardscape project. Different materials and features can vary greatly in cost.
  • Maintenance: Consider the level of maintenance required for the commercial hardscape features and the necessary time and effort that will be required for upkeep and maintenance.
Can commercial hardscapes increase property value?

Yes, a well-designed hardscape can add value to a commercial property. It can improve curb appeal, create additional usable space, and make outdoor areas more functional. Importantly, the quality of the hardscape installation and materials used can impact its value.

How do I choose the right materials for my commercial hardscape project?

When choosing materials for a commercial hardscape project, consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal. It’s also important to choose materials that will complement the existing aesthetics of the property.

  • Stone: Natural stone, such as slate or flagstone, can add a timeless and elegant look to hardscape features. It is also durable and low maintenance.
  • Concrete: This versatile material can be used for a variety of commercial hardscape projects and can be customized with different colors and patterns. However, concrete may require regular maintenance to prevent cracking.
  • Brick: A classic option for hardscapes, brick is durable and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It can also add a charming and traditional look to a property’s exterior.

The design-build specialists at Summit Hardscape can help you choose the right materials for your commercial hardscape project.

Do I need a professional to design and build my commercial hardscape project?

Yes. A professional firm can offer expertise and ensure proper installation to avoid costly mistakes.

What should I consider when planning a commercial hardscape project?

Before starting any commercial hardscape project, consider the purpose of the hardscape feature, budget, materials, and any potential challenges such as drainage or slope issues. It’s also important to check with local authorities for any necessary permits.

Can I incorporate hardscape into an existing commercial landscape?

Yes, commercial hardscape features can be seamlessly integrated into an existing landscape. It’s important to choose materials and designs that complement the existing elements and create a cohesive look.

How do I maintain my commercial hardscape features?

The maintenance requirements of commercial hardscape features will vary depending on the materials used. It is important to regularly clean and inspect hardscapes for any damage or wear. Sealing certain materials like concrete can also help prolong their lifespan.

Are commercial hardscape projects expensive?

The cost of a commercial hardscape project will depend on factors such as the size, materials used, and complexity of the design. It is important to establish a budget beforehand and consult with commercial hardscape professionals for accurate cost estimates.

Can I add lighting to my commercial hardscape project?

Yes, lighting can add both functionality and aesthetic appeal to commercial hardscape features. Consider incorporating low-voltage or solar-powered lights for energy efficiency and ease of installation.

What are some popular materials used in commercial hardscape?

Some popular materials used in commercial hardscape include concrete, brick, stone, wood, decorative steel, and structural steel. Each material offers different benefits and can create a unique look for your hardscape feature.

How do i choose the right hardscape contractor for my project?

When hiring a professional for your commercial hardscape project, consider their experience, qualifications, and completed projects. It’s also important to communicate your ideas and expectations clearly to ensure a successful outcome.

Are there any environmental considerations for commercial hardscapes?

Yes, it is important to consider the environmental impact of commercial hardscape features. Choose materials that are sustainable in order to minimize environmental impact and minimize long term maintenance and costs.

Can commercial hardscape features be customized?

Absolutely! Commercial hardscape allows for endless customization possibilities, from unique designs to specialized materials. Work with Summit Hardscape to bring your vision to life and create timeless hardscape features for your commercial property.