Just because cooler weather is around doesn’t mean you can’t still work on improving your outdoor space with a hardscape! In fact, fall and winter are fantastic times to get those patios, retaining walls, and other hardscape projects completed that you’ve been dreaming of all year long.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, you may be wondering what a hardscape even is. By definition, a hardscape is “the man-made features used in landscape architecture, e.g. paths or walls, as contrasted with vegetation.” From stone walkways to paver patios, the landscape design ideas for hardscapes are limitless. Here are a few other types of common hardscapes:

  • Raised beds
  • Pergolas
  • Built-in seating
  • Firepits
  • Outdoor kitchens

Why are Fall and Winter Good Times to Have a Hardscape Installed?

At first, it might seem counter-intuitive to complete any major outdoor project during the cooler months, right? However, there are TONS of reasons right now is arguably a better time to have a hardscape installed than the spring or summer. Let’s take a look at some.

No Waiting Around

A major draw of having a hardscape, especially a patio or outdoor kitchen, installed in the fall or winter is that it will already be waiting for you in the springtime. Instead of having to wait weeks (depending on the weather) for your landscaping project to be completed, you can start enjoying your beautiful outdoor space as soon as the first warm breezes hit Indiana.

Speaking of weather, you know how Hoosier springs can be: rain, rain, and more rain! Autumn tends to be much more forgiving in the way of precipitation, helping your hardscape project come to fruition quicker. Concrete and mortar are tricky things when it comes to temperature and weather conditions, and if the forecast calls for rain for days on end, progress is going to be hindered in a big way.

Rain also equals mud. Not many people are crazy about mud and installing hardscapes during rainy times can make for a mess. No one enjoys mud tracking into their home, whether by themselves, pets, or children. You can avoid this scenario by opting to install in the cooler months instead.

Enjoy It Now & Avoid Peak Times

Aside from weather constraints, it goes without saying that spring and summer are super busy times for landscaping businesses. Between hardscape installs, planting, general upkeep, and more, they’ve got their work cut out for them. For obvious reasons, business is much slower in the colder months. Use this to your advantage to get your project started and completed faster instead of waiting weeks, possibly even months, in the spring and summer.

Another perk of a fall and winter install is not worrying about potentially damaging your current landscaping since plants become dormant in the autumn. In other words, your plants are more resilient to taking some abuse in this state and will be just fine when they start growing again the following spring as opposed to if they get damaged while they are actively growing.

With the roller coaster of temperatures we experience in central Indiana during the fall and winter, this means you will still be able to enjoy your new natural stone patio before the snow starts flying. This is especially true if you decide to have a custom-made firepit put in as well. Who doesn’t love sitting around a crackling, toasty fire on a brisk autumn night?

Perks of Installing a Hardscape

Speaking of warm, welcoming fires, an expertly laid out hardscape makes your outdoor space much more inviting, both to your family and guests.

Outdoor Entertainment is a Breeze

Central Indiana’s weather is fairly mild most of the year, making it nice to have a designated outdoor space to relax with friends and family, whether it be for grilling out, get-togethers, or just relaxing with a cool beverage during the summer.

Entertaining family and friends while outdoors is easy when you have a centralized location for it. Patios and outdoor kitchens will have you looking forward to cooking and spending time outside instead of putting it off. And, if the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to savor as much time outdoors as possible!

Increase Your Property Value

As if the above (immediate) benefits aren’t enough, patios (and hardscapes in general) help tremendously with increasing your property’s value. Even if you aren’t planning on selling your house any time soon, they can still help you garner a higher amount for your property when you do.

Curb appeal goes a long way when buyers are searching for a home. Not only will a well-taken care of lawn and inviting hardscapes help your house sell faster, a picturesque yard can increase your home’s value an average of 7%!

Even smaller projects, such as replacing an uneven, unsafe walkway with a new one, can make a big difference. Flower beds are another quick and easy project as well as tree circles. Not only do they make your lawn look nicer, but it creates less work for you and future homeowners!

Do you have a sloped yard that prevents you from doing anything functional with it? Not only can steep grades be unsafe, they’re usually not at the top of a homebuyer’s “must-have” list either. Some retaining walls can easily alleviate these issues. Regardless of the scale or which type is best for your project, these walls are miracle workers when it comes to creating usable space in your yard, from hillside seating to beautiful tiered planting beds.

Not surprisingly, the bigger the project, the higher the Return of Investment (or ROI) you can expect. Let’s look at some of the percentages Spacewise gives for different projects.

  • Firepits-78%
  • Pergolas-50%
  • Patios-100%
  • Outdoor kitchens-100-200%

It should also go without saying that making repairs to existing structures is a worthwhile (and inexpensive) investment before you list your house on the market. Patio repairs alone can garner you an ROI of up to 500%!

How Much Will a Hardscape Cost?

Whether you’re building it for your own enjoyment or to boost your home’s market value, hardscapes can be as simple or intricate as you like. Your budget, of course, will play a big factor into the extent of your project and materials used. Don’t let that put you off from starting on your own patio design, though. Plenty of gorgeous, enjoyable spaces can still be created even on smaller budgets!

Materials vary as much as hardscapes do. Most hardscapes, such as patios and sitting ledges, use concrete, tile, or some kind of stone, including flagstone, limestone, and even river rocks, which are particularly beautiful with their unique shapes and colors.

Whether you’re planning a small retaining wall project or a massive outdoor kitchen, you’re probably wondering how much money you can expect to allocate for your undertaking. You can find some rough estimates for the most common hardscapes below. Keep in mind that these will vary by area, the types of materials used, the scale of your project, how easily accessible your yard is, and much more.

  • Retaining Walls: $50-$150/square foot
  • Patios and walkways: $15-$50/square foot
  • Outdoor kitchens: $5,000-$21,000
  • Firepits: $300-$1,400
  • Built-in seating/Sitting ledges: $3,000-$15,000
  • Raised beds: $12-$30/linear foot
  • Pergolas: $2,000-$10,000, depending on size and species of wood used

Whether you want to enjoy it yourself for years to come or are looking for a way to add value to your home in the long run, adding a hardscape of any kind is a worthwhile investment.

The Geeks are ready to help you plan and implement your own hardscape design! It’s the perfect time of year in central Indiana to get started on a patio, outdoor kitchen, or even a simple, custom firepit. Give your trusted Indianapolis landscaping guys a call, send us an email, or schedule a consultation online


Greenscape Geeks is a central Indiana landscape architecture and landscape design, construction, and lawn maintenance company, serving Indianapolis (including Meridian Kessler, Herron Morton, Williams Creek, and Irvington), Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, and Zionsville.


This is a guest post by Alicia Owen