Engledow Group provides lesson in Hardscaping 101 from the beginning

On a previous visit to Indy Style, Donny Duke, Engledow Estates Director of Design, briefly went over a large project, from beginning to end. Today, we discuss, the beginning steps for any major landscape “re-modeling type” project.


Here is Donny’s advice:

– The first major step in starting a project is coming up with an idea.
– Once you have come up with some ideas, you need to research contractors and have them do site visits, give you quotes, produce designs, etc.
• Remember, when selecting a contractor, it is important to vet them properly. Ask for referrals, make sure they have the proper credentials, and ask to see images and designs from similar sized and styled projects that they have done in the past.
• The project we are looking at today, the client came to us after seeing our work several years earlier, knowing she had a project in mind
– Her project initially asked us to transform the Pool Area into a resort like feel…However, it would have to involve much more…
– Once you have decided on a contractor, it is time to get to work.

– The second step in the process involves demolition of existing elements and or correcting infrastructure problems.
– Drainage Problems—usually these are two words no one wants to talk about, however, it is really the starting point to a successful project. Such a common concern, but so overlooked, it affects everything from your plants to hardscape and in certain situations your home.
– Water damage and poor drainage cause too many projects and plantings to fail after only a few years or less.
– Structural Problems—Hardscaping like patios, and retaining walls, and driveways, etc. all involve working with water, or drainage properly and each have their own set of best practices that should be followed during installation to create a lasting project.


• The project today, had a history of performing badly over the years.
– Steps were too steep and dangerous—Poor design
– One retaining wall had fallen over and hit a car—lack of structural elements added during the original construction
– Other retaining walls were unstable and in the process of falling over—This proved to be a combination of poor structural elements and drainage problems.
– Standing water on patios, and constant erosion—These are drainage problems.
– Sometimes it is obvious what and where problems lie, other times they are discovered during demolition. Just like in a house, some issues/problems with a landscape will not be found until old features are removed. Thinking of it like a house, you wouldn’t want to renovate a room and not correct any electrical or plumbing issues found during the process. Same thing for hardscape and landscape projects.
– Taking care of these issues and making sure that they do not occur again will ensure that your project will last long into the future.
– A well done hardscaping project will add value to your home, while those done on the cheap, that don’t address all known issues, could potentially decrease the value of your home.
– Our client decided, that they wanted to do it the right way, which postponed the final landscaping results until the underlying infrastructure could be repaired
• We see too many projects that were built over a simple problem that was ignored, hoping it wasn’t going to be noticed or not understanding how much damage it would cause.
• Other times we are called in to repair work done by careless or unskilled contractors who should have known better.

– The third step is staying committed to building it the right way, addressing potential problems with best practices.
– Engledow is proud to employ some of the best people in the landscape and hardscape business in Central Indiana.
• We constantly train our employees on best practices, and many of our employees have one or more industry certifications. Join us on our next visit, where we will reveal the finished landscape and talk more about this project.


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