There are a variety of materials that can be used for outdoor hardscaping in Sussex County, NJ. Not every material is strong enough to withstand freeze-thaw cycles and still look as good as new each after each season, however. Every choice of landscaping materials comes with advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration when undertaking a landscaping project. In particular, as a contractor, you need to be clued up not only on the suitability of specific materials for specific features in terms of strength, but also aesthetics.
One of the smartest choices for driveways and pathways are concrete pavers. Not only do they add to the curb appeal of a myriad types of homes because of their endless design possibilities, but they can be utilized for nearly every hardscaped feature owing to their durability, cost-effectiveness, and slip-resistance surface, crucial for winter.
Concrete pavers are the ideal solution for landscaping because they thaw fairly quickly and are manufactured with technologies that ensure their surface can easily withstand freezing temperatures, so the paver won’t crack or split. Concrete pavers are also suited to the winter months because of their interlocking design that allows paver replacement in the rare event of damage.
Working with natural stone has its own challenges, and so does acquiring natural stone from a reliable supplier. Natural stone is an often requested material for outdoor landscape construction because of its beauty, longevity, and durability. Sourcing your stone locally is important as the stone is then often hardy to the weather cycles and can hold up through the winter.
For a kitchen, avoid limestone countertops and go with other materials such as cultured granite with UV stabilizers, marble, or stainless steel. Types of stone such as slate, sandstone, and marble are suitable for outdoor kitchen flooring. However, homeowners should note the possibility of the stone absorbing oil and be sensitive to different products that can leave stains. While marble requires sealing for outdoor use, granite is the most durable and least porous of the natural stones, making it a perfect option for cold temperatures.
Installing natural stone comes with higher costs but its natural beauty and sophisticated appearance can’t be compared to any other landscaping material.
For homeowners that are fond of wood, teak can work great for outdoor kitchen cabinets because of its natural resistance to rot and decay. Wooden decks add a natural, relaxed touch to the landscape, but not every type of wood can survive winter. So, it is crucial to use wood that doesn’t absorb water easily. Woods such as pressure-treated wood, redwood, or cedar are ideal if the homeowner doesn’t use the deck during the winter months, since they absorb water easily and become slippery when the water turns into ice. On the other hand, tropical hardwood or synthetic decking withstand freeze-thaw cycles better because of their tendency to shed water easily.
Owing to its timeless, classic look, brick holds a unique traditional appeal, especially when laid in a herringbone pattern. Brick-like materials are available as full size bricks that are laid using mortar, or as thin interlocking pavers. Bricks are durable and strong, requiring little maintenance, which makes them perfect for winter. They come in a range of warm colors such as the typical red, brown, tan, or muted shades of green and beige, with the weathered look of their surface creating visual interest.
Image courtesy of Unilock.