Project Planning & Tips

Defining 5 Terms an EP Henry Authorized Hardscaping Contractor® May Use

Congratulations! You’re starting a new hardscaping project that will beautify your landscape and create a space for making many happy memories. But what did your contractor say again?

Masonry, like all other professional areas, has its own glossary of terms. The hardscaping industry borrows many of these for describing the flatwork of installing pavers. Learning a few masonry terms can help you work with your contractor to get a design you’ll love. As a homeowner beginning a new project, it isn’t necessary to memorize all the hardscaping terms. Contractors have a set of corresponding layman’s words they use to explain concepts to homeowners. Here are some terms and definitions to get familiar with before you begin building your patio.





When a contractor mentions “pervious pavers” you may initially think he or she meant to say “impervious pavers.” Pervious pavers (aka permeable pavers) are specifically designed stone pavers that allow for water to pass through the joints between them and percolate into the ground below. Stormwater management is a main benefit of pervious paving solutions. Learn more about how choosing our beautiful permeable pavers helps the environment on our Eco Pavers page.


Soldier Course

If your Hardscaping contractor mentions a “soldier course,” they aren’t reminiscing about their army training days. Soldier course is the term for laying a row of pavers side to side, perpendicular to the rest of the field, which is a common  border treatment. Alternately, your contractor may mention a “sailor course,” which would be a border course that is laid end to end parallel to the field.

Running Bond

“Running Bond” is a brick pattern design you’re already familiar with. Have you ever noticed how bricks are staggered in any brick wall? That’s called “bonding.” A course” or layer of bricks is almost always laid across the lower course so that the units straddle the gap between the units below. Typically the brick is centered 50-50 over the two brick below it which is called half running bond.  Other bonding patterns include ⅓ running bond and stacked bond. Brick and other rectilinear-shaped pavers lend themselves nicely to these traditional patterns.




“Bullnose” gets its name from the rounded shape of a steer’s nose. Bullnose pavers are manufactured with a curved, rather than square, front face. Bullnose pavers are commonly used for pool coping, bench seating and even borders or wall caps. If you have any areas where a sharp edge would cause discomfort or would harm the aesthetic flow of the hardscape, ask your contractor about bullnose pavers.




Wall Cap

Much like a bullnose paver, a wall cap is a “finishing” piece. Wall caps differ from the regular wall block units (“stretcher” units) in several ways. Wall caps always have solid cores where many wall stretchers are hollow to reduce the overall weight. Also, for aesthetic purposes, wall caps are often scaled to approximately half the height of the wall units and several inches wider.  This provides a nice overhang and finished appearance.  A wall without wall caps appears like it is still under construction.

There are many more terms our EP Henry Authorized Contractors may use when discussing your project. Ask about any you do not understand. Your contractor won’t expect you to know everything, but getting familiar with a few will help. We can help you find a contractor to discuss your project here or call us at 800-444-3679 to find one in your area.

Like this content?
Want more?