Choosing the Right Natural Material for Your Hardscape Design

Planning a hardscape project is as challenging as it is exciting. One of the most frequently-asked questions heard by Unit Paving Inc is which type of hardscape material is best. In truth, there is no single answer, much less an easy one. However, we can help you think through your project in a way that answers many questions at once, and leads you to a shorter list of viable choices.

How Your Hardscape Will be Used

Your first consideration is the type of project you’ll be undertaking. There are differences in scale between a residential paving project and a commercial paving project, for instance. But there are also design considerations within each of those types of projects — subtypes, if you will — that will also determine the types of materials used. Consider just a few of the types of residential hardscaping services we provide:

  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks and walkways
  • Fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor fireplaces
  • Green roofs
  • Garden walls
  • Retaining walls
  • Patios
  • Pool decking
  • Arbors and pergolas


Take time to consider the scope of your project, prioritizing as you go. When we meet with you for an initial consultation, we will take the time to address your questions, wishes, costs, and any other concerns that may arise.

Project Context

There’s another way in which material matters. There isn’t a single project we’ve done in our 25-year history that was entirely self-contained. Every hardscaping project takes place in a context — among softscaping (plants, grasses, and the like), alongside a home, a country club, or another structure, and often in conjunction with existing hardscaping.

The material that looks lovely for your driveway or patio may be a bit too harsh for your taste when it comes to an outdoor fireplace; similarly, the materials and mechanics involved in a green roof or pool deck will call for a different approach than a retaining wall. One important goal is to have your hardscaping harmonize with its surroundings, or to create a purposeful contrast rather than a material choice that clashes with what’s already there.

Environmental Concerns

There are environmental and practical concerns that come into play with nearly every hardscaping project. Unit Paving assists homeowners, businesses, and municipalities in addressing the environmental impact of paving projects through the use of sustainable design principles and materials. That, in turn, makes for a finished product that is earth-friendly due to its ability to reuse, recycle, and reduce waste of materials and natural resources alike.


Now — and really, only now — that you’ve taken all of the previous factors into consideration, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. You will find that it’s much easier deciding on the proper shape, material, color, and texture, because in some ways, the scope of your project will have made some of those choices for you.

You may find that you have further questions as you browse the many products we offer. You will find options you may not have realized were there, which may well send you back to the drawing board. Not to worry. We bring a quarter of a century of experience to each job we do, be it a residential or commercial paving project. We will draw on that experience to help you find the perfect fit for your project, regardless of its type or size. We invite you to contact Unit Paving for a free consultation today.