Making Hard Surfaces Work Pavers, Rocks, Trellises, and More

Installing a lush landscape is usually one of the first things associations do to increase curb appeal, and ultimately, market value. Sure, dense shrubbery, towering palm trees and vibrant flowerbeds will catch prospective buyers’ eyes, but beautiful green landscapes are a dime a dozen is tropical Florida. Hardscaping—the use in a landscape design of non-living elements such as pavers, rocks, and trellises— is a great way to turn up a basic garden and set your association apart from others.

“The difference in what they call hardscaping is that could be anything that is a hard surface such as a paver black or natural stone,” says Mac Garner, designer, salesman, estimator and co-owner of Tampa-based TropicScapes. “A lot of folks confuse the two, the words: landscaping and hardscaping, but hardscaping can be a part of landscaping and landscaping mostly consists of plants, shrubs, trees, ground covers and that type of thing.”

Firepits, pergolas, arbors and walkways made of natural stone or crushed shells are popular hardscaping requests from Tampa residents, Garner says.

A Lot or a Little

Implementing some hardscaping in a common garden area does not have to result in a massive overhaul. HOAs and condominiums may just want to add a path of pavers or plant a few rocks to liven up an existing garden, and the experts recommend proper planning before anything is done. Unlike landscape planning, in which factors such as soil quality or climate come into play, the main factor to consider when hardscaping is proposed is elevation, Garner says.

The pros say other issues to consider include:

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