Hardscaping and the Small Back Yard

Hardscaping projects in a small back yard can be tricky. But the crew at Big Bend Landscaping in St. Louis loves a challenge. We also love working with involved, motivated customers.

Hardscaping and Rebirth of a Small Back Yard

Not long ago, we created an outdoor living space that is a good example of both. These customers had a small, overgrown back yard without a lot of usable square footage. They wanted to create an inviting space that included wide steps, a patio, and a seating wall. They also wanted room for green space and foliage. This was going to take creative hardscaping, landscaping and teamwork. And we are all about both. 

These customers were a lot of fun to work with. As they saw the project unfold, they made suggestions and requests that led to results that we could all be proud of.

Setting the Stage: The Compacted Rock Base

The crowded back yard contained an old deck and wooden steps that sat on a slight slope. So we cleared away the old to make room for the new. We then excavated the yard, leveling out the area to create a flat surface.

Next, we added a compacted rock base. We accomplished this by pouring a uniform layer of aggregate base material across the excavated area. The rock base is a porous space that allows for drainage as well as creating a stable foundation for our creation. After we poured our base, we used a machine called a plate compactor to level and compact the rock.

Then we added a few inches of sand. The sand ensured that the pavers would not shift or move around once put into place. After we spread the sand, we used screed guides to make sure it was level.

And finally, we applied stable edge restraints around the outer edges of the patio to prevent lateral movement of the sand or the pavers.

Installing the Pavers

To the customer, the pavers are one of the most important parts of the project because the paver is what they see when they look outside. A paver is a tile, brick or brick-like piece of concrete that creates the finished surface of the patio. Once completed, patios often become an extension of the customer’s home, so their appearance matters a great deal. And because it’s important to our customers, it’s important to us too.

Big Bend Landscaping specializes in and prefers Eco-friendly pavers. These long-lasting, interlocking pavers are permeable and handle water run-off like champs. And we use only the highest quality pavers available. Pavers such as Pavestone, Romanstone, BP, and Belgard are not just eco-friendly, but are durable and look great.

For this job, our customers chose a nice BP Bella Estate paver in the Bristol Beige color for the surface of their patio. These pavers interlock, so when installed correctly they will remain in place for many years to come.

After we installed the pavers, we went to work on the perimeter, adding a 6″ x 9″ slate border. In the section where the customer wanted to include a border for plants, we installed paver edging to prevented mulch and dirt from spilling over onto the patio.

To ensure that the pavers remain in place, we sprinkled a thin layer of sand across the surface of the pavers and ran a vibrating plate compactor over them to aid in the interlocking process.

Building the Seating Wall, Steps, and Columns

For the seating wall, steps, and columns, the customers chose Timberwood colored, Versa Lock Non-Tumbled 6” blocks, which nicely complimented the Bristol Beige pavers.

We built two sets of steps—a smaller set for the more modest entrance and a grand entrance style set leading from the double doors down to the surface of the patio.

We also added caplights to both sets of steps. Lighting is underrated as a landscaping feature when constructing outdoor living areas. It not only illuminates the area for a nighttime view of one’s backyard, it is also a simple way to brighten steps for safety purposes.

Outdoor seating walls have become increasingly popular over the last few years. They offer a simple solution to a sometimes complicated problem. Where is everybody going to sit? Lawn furniture is fine until you have more people over than you have chairs for. Then you’re left scrounging for folding chairs or telling people to bring their own. Seating walls provide a comfortable place for guests and family members to sit during outdoor gatherings. There is also the added benefit of a place to put potted plants and small decorations when not in use.

For this project, columns buttressed both ends of the seating wall, creating a sense of balance and harmony. The entire structure served as both a place to sit and a boundary wall between the landscaped beds and the patio. As we did with the steps, we installed caplighting on the columns and the wall to increase nighttime visibility.

The Final Results

Where previously, there was an overgrown space that felt crowded and dark, the customer now
has a 500-square foot area that includes 14 linear feet of seating. There is plenty of room to sit outside and enjoy their yard, whether entertaining or spending a quiet evening at home. Their outdoor living space is beautiful to look at, whether by night or by day. We know they will enjoy it for many years to come.

The Conclusion

Big Bend Landscaping has twenty-five years of experience.

Our staff listens and helps you design a space you can be proud of and enjoy.

We are one of the premier landscaping and hardscaping companies in St. Louis. We build outdoor living areas such as this one, firepits, retaining walls, hardscaped paths, and outdoor kitchens. Big Bend Landscaping has a Level 1 Certification from the National Concrete and Masonry Association. So you can rest assured that we’ve received training in how best to provide you with quality installations and materials.

And if you need a drainage system to protect the foundations around your home, we can help you with that too. We specialize in French drainage systems, an invisible remedy to a potentially expensive problem.

While we fully expect our work to stand the test of time, we want our customers to know that we offer a one-year warranty on all the work we do, and this includes the materials and labor. Should there be a problem with anything we do, all you have to do is reach out to us.

Live in or near St. Louis and looking for a landscaping company near you? Are you ready for that outdoor living space you’ve always wanted? Combine your vision for your home with Big Bend Landscaping’s know-how! Give us a call or contact us for an online estimate!