How-tos for Hardscapes
Planning a path or patio in your yard is an effective way to expand functional outdoor space. There are nearly as many outdoor "hardscape" materials as there are ideas on how to use them. Examples include concrete, tile, brick, pavers, and pervious materials like pea gravel and quarry fines (also called crusher fines). A patio or path can offer the added benefit of reducing outdoor water consumption.
A few water-saving tips for new and existing hardscapes include:
- Eliminate wasteful overspray onto patios and paths from nearby sprinklers.
- Sweep patio and path surfaces instead of hosing (if you must use a hose to clean up a spill, grab a hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle and never leave a hose unattended).
- Fight the "urban heat island effect" by shading patios with umbrellas, patio covers and low-water-use shade trees.
- Plan hard surfaces to take the place of high-water-use grassy areas.
Where can I find out more?
- For information on cooling your home with trees and vegetation, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's report on beating the heat island effect.