For many homeowners, undertaking hardscaping projects such as the installation of pavements and patios is critical. Not only does it improve the aesthetic appeal of your home, but it also makes it more practical to live there as well. For instance, by having a dedicated pathway to and from the garage, you can reduce the chances of damaging your lawn. Having a pavement made of stone or other hard material will also be healthier, since there will be less dust in the driveway.
If you are interested in carrying out such a project, one of the most important things you can do is simply preparing for it adequately. Most people simply decide that they need a structure such as a pavement or deck, and start constructing it right away. However, without proper planning, you are likely to encounter a number of challenges that will either make the project stall or increase its cost significantly. Some of the things you can do during planning to avoid this include:
Establish who you will work with
Are you interested in doing the work on your own, or would you need a contractor to handle the project for you? In case you are interested in saving costs by doing the work on your own, are you sure that you can handle it? Do you have all the tools and expertise to get it done? All these issues need to be critically thought through, since they will definitely affect the speed and relative success of the project.
If you will need a contractor to work with you, you need to take this opportunity to carefully find one. The quality of the contractor will also affect how fast the project will be carried out, how much it will cost you and the quality you will get. If you have to prioritize, always go for quality over cost. Even if a particular contractor is more expensive than the rest, the fact that they will do a very good job means that in the long run, the installation will cost you much less in maintenance.
Sort out the logistics
Suppose you want to construct a stone driveway from your front gate to your garage. How will the logistics work out? If the contractor shows up with a truck, will they have enough space to park it without having to inconvenience your neighbors? If the project is going to last more than a few days, you might need to store some of the tools and materials in your premises, so that it is easier for them to start working each morning.
Making plans for all such issues will reduce the amount of time wasted in handling them once the project begins. In some cases, it might also cost you less, since the contractor will need to be on site for a much shorter period of time.
Are you likely to damage any utilities?
Before starting a project that will involve you having to dig up the grounds, try to find out the locations of utilities such as water mains, power lines and gas lines. The last thing you want to worry about is damaging such items and then having to pay huge sums to the utilities companies to have them restored.
There are various ways of finding the locations of such utilities, but one of the most accurate is by simply consulting the company that put them there in the first place. You can also use this opportunity to get the license to dig up the area around the supply lines, since this is expected in most parts of the world.
The legal issues
Before you can start a hardscaping project, you need to find out what legal obligations you have, and then fulfill them. This is usually informed by your neighborhood and local authority policies. Go through the agreements with such bodies, and find out what you need to do before starting the project.
Most of the time, you will be required to get a license from the local authority, and submit the plans to the neighborhood association for authorization before going through with it. Some neighborhood associations take this very seriously, and not doing this might lead you to being expelled from the neighborhood.
Anticipate the inconvenience and cater for it
One other aspect of planning is anticipating the inconvenience you are likely to incur, and then cater for it. For instance, if you normally use your backyard for drying your clothes and have to build a deck there, you might not have access to it during the construction phase. This means having to find another way to handle your laundry. Having a plan in advance will reduce the risk of this becoming hugely inconvenient.
By putting in place all these planning measures, you will find hardscaping to be a much easier project to carry out than most people might experience it.