outdoor patio, hardscaping contractor

When to Hire a Professional Hardscaping Contractor vs. When to DIY an Outdoor Patio

Jan 31, 2024 John McGrann Uncategorized

Penn Stone’s Masonry & Hardscape Materials Advisor, Jake Shott, Explains What to Expect When Building an Outdoor Patio


Weekend DIYers considering a new outdoor patio often face the same dilemma: should they build their patio themselves or hire a professional hardscaping contractor to do the job? 

If you’re a budget-conscious homeowner or just love getting your hands dirty with home projects, pouring a little sweat equity into your home can be an attractive option. But, like any project, time, cost, and your hardscaping skills (or willingness to learn) are all factors you’ll need to weigh. 

Rather than flying blind into the world of outdoor patio construction, our Penn Stone masonry and hardscaping materials advisor, Jake Shott, helps guide homeowners through the early stages of their project and purchase the right hardscaping materials.

In this article, Jake breaks down what to expect before and during an outdoor patio project to help you decide whether to hire a hardscaping contractor or do the job yourself.

What to Expect When Building a DIY Patio 

Jake recommends that DIYers know the full extent of the project before deciding to move forward. Doing your research and having a plan is step one. 

“Building an outdoor patio involves a lot of work before the first paver is laid, Jake said. “You’ll need to prepare the ground for your patio’s foundation. Quality excavation work is a key to a solid patio build.” 

Knowing how many inches of ground to remove so your foundation sits below the frost line and accounting for the impact of groundwater around the foundation after a rain storm are just two of the many considerations DIYers need to navigate.

Jake also reminds homeowners that building a patio on your own means renting equipment. 

“A professional contractor has the equipment needed to excavate and construct your patio,” Jake said. “DIYers need to rent their own equipment, which can be pricey if your project spans several weekends.”

The same is true for building permits.

“Contractors should take care of all municipality permits for a patio project,” Jake added. “DIYers need to handle permit applications themselves before they start to dig.” 

How Long Will My DIY Patio Take to Build?

One question to ask yourself is, “How much time do I have to dedicate to a patio project?” Designing and installing an outdoor patio, regardless of its size, is a time commitment. 

Weekend DIYers should plan to dedicate at least several weekends, with some projects requiring one or two months of time. Rain and inclement weather will add to the timeline. If you have the time, patience, and know-how, the DIY route could be a viable option. 

What to Expect When Hiring a Professional Hardscaping Contractor 

When you work with a professional contractor, what you’re really buying is peace of mind.

Licensed hardscaping contractors help ensure your patio is designed and installed properly. Not only will that professional do the job right the first time, but you’ll also receive guidance about material selection, design, lighting, and everything else needed to make your outdoor space beautiful.

“Penn Stone’s hardscaping materials experts and design advisors will work directly with your contractor. Together, we’ll take care of your patio project from start to finish,” Jake said.

How Long Will My Professional Patio Take to Build?

Every contractor is different. On average, contractors will schedule projects several months out. Time of year also plays a role. Once the project begins, most contractors can finish modest projects within several days and more extensive patios within a few weeks. 

Before You Get Started, Visit a Local Hardscaping Showroom for Quality Materials and Expert Advice

Whatever route you decide to take, Penn Stone is here to help. Schedule an Appointment with our design advisor or visit our showroom at 190 West Ross Street in Lancaster to get started.

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