Next Generation Living Homes

As winter fades, many homeowners get excited about creating their own backyard paradise or enhancing their existing outdoor living space. When their vision includes non-living elements such as pavers, benches or pergolas, they’ll need to hire a Hardscaping contractor. Here are a few tips for getting started.

Narrow it down
The first thing on their to-do list should be to find a contractor who takes the time to understand their design ideas and budget, has the experience to execute the project, and puts a clear communication process in place before any of the work starts.

“There are major differences in creativity from one contractor to another, so it’s important for them to listen to what homeowners want,” says Dean Stafford, founding owner of West Chester, Pa.-based Dean’s Landscaping LLC. “When I meet with prospective clients, I practice active listening because I know it’s THEIR vision that I’m trying to bring to life!”

Many people ask for contractor recommendations from friends or neighbors. But because each project is unique, and tastes may be vastly different, it’s helpful to get recommendations from unbiased sources. For instance, the experts at EP Henry — a longstanding manufacturer of pavers and other residential concrete products — can match the scope of a proposed project with area professionals on their authorized Hardscaping contractors list who have proven that they meet strict company and industry standards.

Licenses, certifications, warranties and insurance
Some states require contractors to hold a home improvement contractor’s license, while others may require only registration or certification, depending on the scope of the job. When interviewing contractors, homeowners should ask for proof of their:

  • Contractor’s license
  • General liability insurance
  • Property damage insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Any certifications they might have earned from the National Concrete Masonry Association, Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute or other related certifying organizations

Questions to ask
Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, homeowners should ask:

  • Have you installed projects of this scope and size? Can you provide photos and references?
  • Have you worked on projects in my township before? Are you familiar with local regulations and permits needed?
  • Does your team install the project personally, or will you use subcontractors?
  • How long will it take to install my project? What might cause delays or extensions?
  • Who will I be able to speak with to get day-to-day questions answered?
  • Will you remove trash and debris each day or wait until the end of the project? Do you use dustless cutting technology?
  • How long is your written warranty good for and what does it cover?
  • What after-care will be required for the materials you use?

When finances are tight
Homeowners whose finances might limit their dream project from coming to fruition can ask prospective contractors what tradeoffs they would recommend to keep the project within budget. They can also request the creation of a phased project to defer costs over a longer period of time.

“Most importantly, they should be prepared to discuss the investment level they’re truly comfortable with,” cautions Stafford. “This reduces the chances of having a design that is more than what they want, need or can afford.”

About EP Henry
EP Henry is the oldest American family-owned and operated manufacturer of unit concrete products in North America. Based in Woodbury, New Jersey, EP Henry manufactures a wide range of Hardscaping paving stone and retaining wall products, including their new line of ColorTech™ integrally sealed paving stones offering advanced protection and enhanced color. EP Henry also offers beautiful patio pavers, outdoor kitchen kits, garden wall solutions, design ideas and more to homeowners throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. For more information, visit or call 800-44-HENRY (800-444-3679).

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Next Generation Living Homes