Whether you are building your own hardscapes or planning on hiring a professional, it’s important to understand some of the more common terms related to hardscaping.

Constructing your own deck, patio, walkway or rooftop deck can be difficult enough if you don’t have experience. But it helps to have a basic understanding of the most common terms used in the industry. Some are related to aesthetics, while others refer to key materials you might need in your projects. From A-Z, let’s look at the ABCs of hardscaping. 


Aggregate is the crushed or rounded stone often used as a base around footings or to stabilize a project like a patio. The most used aggregates are gravel or pea gravel, and their texture promotes drainage beneath your project.


Edging is the line that demarcates different areas from one another. For example, the material used along the edge of a patio or separating a walkway from the grass. When building a patio or similar hardscape, an edge restraint is used to reinforce the paver’s edge to prevent the pavers from migrating. This is typically a spiked poly material, poured concrete or curbing made from other materials. Wood should never be used as edging because, eventually, it will rot and fail. Gator Edge Mini is a paving edge for natural stone and all types of slabs. 


Geotextiles are permeable fabrics used in some hardscaping projects. When used with soil, they can be used to separate, filter, reinforce, protect or drain. Geotextiles come in woven fabrics for standard pavers, retaining walls and driveway installations and non-woven fabrics for permeable applications. While weed barrier is technically a geotextile, it is unsuitable for hardscaping projects. 


While landscaping is usually the green stuff like grass, gardens and trees, hardscaping refers to the hard surfaces outside your home. Patios, decks, walkways, and even rooftop decks are considered hardscapes. Hardscapes are usually constructed of hard-wearing materials like wood, concrete, stone and porcelain


The crack or space between your pavers is called a paver joint. The paver joint helps to stabilize your paver system and provides drainage. The joint can be filled with polymeric sand or gravel, depending on the type of project you’re building. If you are using a pedestal system to mount your pavers, no joint fill is required. 


A pedestal is an innovative method of installing pavers. Pavers sit atop pedestals, creating a raised floor. Their inherent drainage makes them ideal anywhere you want to create a raised floor, whether around the pool or on a rooftop. 


Standard pavers require water to run off the surface, typically by building a slope into your project. Permeable pavers allow water to drain through the surface of the paver joints. While the materials are somewhat different, the key difference between the two is the installation method. 


This is a blend of fine sand and polymers that bind together when mixed with water, used to fill the paver joints of certain outdoor projects. Once dry, polymeric sand acts like a hard mortar and becomes flexible when wet, allowing the pavement to flex. 


Some municipalities and provinces enforce setbacks, which are restrictions on what can be built near property lines. For example, if you have a setback of 8 feet from the property line, this means you cannot build a new deck that extends beyond this line.



Now that you have a general understanding of common hardscaping terms, you’re better positioned to plan your new projects or discuss them with a professional. If you’re looking for techniques and materials that will save you time, labour and money, Stone deck Innovations has innovative products for all your hardscaping needs in Canada. Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, Stonedeck – the deck life experts will help you pull your project together – It’s easier than you think!