All Hardscape Blog Posts

Two strips of tactile paving at the bottom of a two- directional ramp warn of changes in both directions.

Tenji Blocks

You’ve probably seen tenji blocks appearing with new road work in your neighborhood. They’re becoming as common a part of the hardscape as curb cuts or street signs. These new elements of the sidewalk are textured strips on the sidewalk—sometimes covered in raised dots, and sometimes striped with long, wide

Water on stone sidewalk reflects a purple building rimmed in yellow light

Trench Drain Systems

Trench drains are small channels that move standing water from surfaces. Outside, trench drain systems often manage stormwater runoff. Small drains are also used to capture splashes and drips around pools and water features. Trench is often installed when standing water becomes an issue due to landscape, hardscape, land use,

Trees are planted in a strip of permeable cobblestone along a walk/bike lane

11 Benefits of Street Trees in Urban Spaces

Urban planners are often passionate advocates for street trees. Though cities have strapped budgets, an urban forest offers an excellent return on investment. Yes, trees drop leaves and fruit, produce pollen, and have roots that can become invasive or heave sidewalks. Yet trees make such a big difference to quality

A red-brown trench grate is installed in a municipal sidewalk

Indoor vs. Outdoor Channel Drain

“Trench drain” refers to any narrow, long carved channel used to move water. The trough may be formed out of concrete by hand, be made out of concrete using a pre-formed mold, or be made of another material like plastic, PVC, or metal. Trench drains often have a grating on

Water soaks into a decorative cast iron grate red and brown with developing patina

A Guide to Trench Grates Material

Drainage is a ubiquitous part of construction. It’s so common that it often goes unnoticed unless something goes wrong and water backs up around it. Water management is important to all types of building and landscaping from culverts near fields to the slopes of city streets. Trench drains are found

A woman stands under an umbrella near the port of Vancouver watching cruise ships come in

Sustainable Water Management and the Cities of the Future

Our head office is in the Pacific Northwest: 60 inches of rain falls every year outside our office windows. Perhaps it’s our wet umbrellas and muddy shoes that have us considering water management in the future growth of cities. Or maybe it’s hearing odd news stories from our neighbor city,

A city view of New York on the Manhattan side approach to the Brooklyn Bridge

Urban Design and the Outdoor Bench

The atmosphere of a location is built by a thousand small details. Some of it comes down to geography: the quality of light, plants in the ecosystem, and movement of air imprint even in the heart of a city. A city’s personality is also made of the materials and design

Cast iron plates decorate a brick wall in a black and white sketch of a living room

Tree Grates: Cast Iron Decor

Most of our tree and trench grates are bought by municipalities or facilities managers, but we also fulfill smaller orders for homeowners and contractors. The majority of these are cast iron trench drains used in residential driveways. There, they are functional and decorative, and fulfill the same purpose they do

A shot of people walking over cobblestones with trench grating is overlaid on a nighttime aerial shot of Paris.


What is hardscape? Hardscaping at home—making yards into oases Urban hardscape—building the concrete jungle Hardscape vs. site furniture—social spaces and placemaking Rewilding cities Metal hardscape Hardscape design What is hardscape? Hardscape is the term for hard landscaping materials. Concrete, asphalt, stone, glass, brick, metal, and gravel are all hardscape. In

A heavy rain sees water cascading from eaves and tree branches

Trench Drains for Driveways

Managing rain, storm, and flood water is a growing concern for homeowners in changing local climate. Rot and structural damage can result when water management systems are overwhelmed. And there is more water to manage. Flood events are increasing. Heavy precipitation is up. Considering these stresses, municipal downspout disconnection laws