Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Hardscaping™ Your Historic Home

Cape Cod, Dutch Colonial, Queen Anne, Cottage, these are just a few of the many styles of historic homes found in North America. Post World War II, when “Baby Boomers” made the scene and America grew at an alarming rate, cities expanded and suburban neighborhoods popped up to make room for the population explosion. During this time, attention to detail and aesthetics were ignored and gone were the brick and slate sidewalks, granite curbstone, and cobblestone streets. City planners and developers went with the “faster” asphalt roads and poured concrete slabs. While this proved to be a seemingly quicker fix, it took character and charm of brick and cobblestone with it.

Out with the new, and in with the old is the rule when renovating any historic home. Most homeowners choose to stay within the style or period of when the home was built. For instance, a home built in the late 1800’s typically features ornate wooden stair posts, glass door knobs and intricate parquet flooring; while in an arts and crafts style home you’ll find an open floor plan with exposed natural wood, straight lines and symmetrical patterns.

Many homeowners delight in researching their home’s past and spend their weekends searching both antique stores and online sites for authentic replacement parts and vintage accessories. These days, there are hundreds of sites that include restorative items and reproduction hardware, lighting and plumbing parts.

Paving the Way for Future Generations

For those who live in older homes, why not carry that same diligence through to the outside of your home? If you have cracked concrete or pot holed asphalt, consider pavers in your replacement options. Not only are they far more attractive, they actually outwear other applications.

Pavers are approximately 3x stronger than poured concrete. Because pavers are sand jointed, they withstand ground movement; making them durable, yet flexible. Water is less likely to pool on pavers, lessening the “freeze/thaw” cycle that causes cracks and destroys concrete. Look for a manufacturer who offers a product warranty, something you just won’t find with asphalt or concrete.



Complement for Compliments Style

Chances are the homes in your neighborhood will offer the best advice as they were most likely built in the same time period. So walk or drive around and look for homes similar to yours with paver styles and colors that appeal to you. Take notice of the home’s color schemes, including siding, roof, and plantings.  Pay attention to patterns and the individual paver sizes.

You’ll often see different colors and patterns used to define spaces and break up larger areas. When choosing a paver color, it’s best to resist the urge to match the siding. A good starting point is to complement the general surroundings (landscaping and plantings) and select a color that matches the home’s roof.  In the design world, complementary colors are ones that are opposite on the color wheel.  While this may seem overwhelming or confusing at first, once you do a little research and take a closer look at color, it becomes much easier.

Many pavers are created using a blend of colors, and don’t limit yourself to one paver shape or hue. After you’ve done your research, contact a professional. Many offer free consultations and are more than happy to show off their work. This may be a longer process than others, but your end result will far exceed your expectations and will be enjoyed for many more years to come.

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