How to enjoy concrete in your landscape

Stylish Concrete

Concrete has long been a staple in landscaping and hardscaping design. Although the name “concrete” may not be overly glamorous in and of itself, there’s a reason why so many people have loved working with this staple throughout the years. Concrete is extremely versatile and durable and can be crafted to offer a touch of upscale beauty to any property – without breaking the budget! To prove my point, let’s discuss the value of working with concrete and look at a few of my favorite concrete home makeovers.

4 Reasons to Choose Concrete 

If you’re not yet sold on using concrete for your landscaping job, here are four benefits to working with this time-trusted material.

  • It’s Incredibly Versatile – Concrete can be poured into just about any shape or design you can think of. It can cover very large spaces, making it perfect for driveways, garden paths, patios, pool decks, sidewalks, walls, and more. 
  • It’s Highly Durable – When you invest in upgrading your landscape or hardscape, you want to know that you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. Concrete is extremely durable and can withstand even the highest volumes of traffic, regular usage, and heavy vehicles or furnishings. 
  • It’s Stylish – I know right now you’re probably thinking, “Stylish and concrete are not two words that I would put together.” Stick with me. Get rid of your ideas about sterile concrete parking lots and business centers. Modern landscaping companies can transform concrete into spectacular works of art that are customized to your unique space and personal tastes. It can be poured into beautiful designs and stamped with lovely patterns, and it can even mimic tile, pavers, natural stone, and wood.
  • It’s Affordable – The best part about concrete is that it offers all the previously mentioned perks, but it’s also reasonably priced! The average homeowner will find that a concrete overhaul can easily be worked into their budget. 

Concrete Makeovers 

Sometimes it can be difficult to visualize concrete as anything other than, well, concrete. To help you develop your own personal vision for your home, here’s a look at a few of my favorite completed projects where concrete was used to completely transform a property’s look for the better. 

I love the look of this contemporary remodel from a few years ago. Here, we used a smooth finish concrete that was poured as pavers. The combination of the pavers with the adjacent concrete seating walls makes the space look upscale and incredibly functional. Although this homeowner liked the look of traditional gray concrete, the outdoor living space could have also been completed with stained concrete for someone looking for shades of charcoal or white. Each paver is separated by a gap of four to six inches in width. These gaps accommodate the forms throughout the pouring process, ensure the strength and integrity of the concrete, and provide us with more options for adding texture and style to the space. In this case, we used Black Mexican Beach pebbles to fill the voids. It offers gorgeous color and texture contrast, and it ties the whole modern appeal of the hardscape together. If you choose to go with something like this, I suggest requesting a light broom finish over a towel finish. This will maintain a smooth, sleek appearance without allowing the surface to become too slippery. 

I remember this project like it was yesterday. We were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work on this Mid-East Modern landscape because it allowed us to really showcase our talents in design and installation. We knew that the homeowner wanted something really bold and unique that would stand out on its own while also highlighting the beauty of the home itself. The end result was a landscape that emphasized its grandeur. For the pool area, we created a spectacular concrete tile deck that tied in perfectly with adjacent walking and seating areas. A light broom finish was used to ensure safety around wet and potentially slick areas, but you’ll notice that the broom finish actually alternates in its direction. This seemingly small detail creates enormous depth and dimension in the larger scheme. We paired the finish with deep score lines that add even more of a visual impression. Concrete raised planters turn the area into a serene oasis, and I love the marriage of concrete with nature. The whole thing is finished with two sunken fire pit areas crafted from poured-in-place concrete and surrounding concrete walls. Varying heights, textures, and directions make this space look anything but “dull.” Who says concrete can’t be magical?

The final home I want to look at features this traditional project. Here, we did a remodel on a classic California-Spanish landscape, and we did so by merging old hardscaping elements with new designs. All of the brick bandings from previous work were left in place in the front yard, but it was given a facelift as we intersected a new concrete walkway to welcome guests. We really wanted to emphasize the marriage of old and new elements because the brick and other original elements brought out all of the best features of the home’s architecture. We did this by implementing a circular path with an antique focal point. To avoid becoming too “matchy” or creating a strange appearance with mismatched brickwork, we used artificial turf in the voids of the concrete pavers. This added the benefit of creating a lush, green look in a space that could have otherwise felt sterile. In the backyard, we used brick in the seating areas by skillfully working to replicate a brick stain and color pattern. Most people can’t even tell that it’s not actually brick! 

Don’t let preconceived notions about concrete hold you back from giving your home a sophisticated, gorgeous concrete makeover. For more inspiration and advice, reach out to Charter Oak Landscape Development, or follow us on Instagram (@charteroaklandscape).