All Hardscape Blog Posts

Urban trees with decorative lights at night

How to select the best trees for sidewalks and tree grates

What are street trees? Green landscaping adds color and texture into urban communities by using organic elements, providing relief from an otherwise built-out city environment. Street trees and other softscape elements are value-adding community features that increase greenspace, reduce air pollution, provide shade, and maintain ecological balance. From an aesthetic

A clickable image map showing possible infrastructure improvements

Neighborhood revitalization

Engaged and active neighborhoods have streets that answer the needs of their community. There is no single way to revitalize an empty downtown strip or create a new vibrant district. Every community’s needs are different. However, when there are infrastructure dollars available, municipalities can make smart investments to support the

A brown cast iron trench grate sits beside a curb under a lump of snow

Trench Drains

Good drainage systems are important, especially as flood events become more common. Water management over large areas is best done through green-space, bioswales, permeable hardscape, and the maintenance of permeable soil profiles. However, where groundwaters cannot absorb rain or melt quickly enough, run-off occurs. In the natural world, sloped areas

A diagram shows measurements needed for saw tooth bus bays including bay length and angle.

Park and Ride Design in the Age of Ride-Share

What is a Park and Ride? Many Park and Rides are parking lots where people leave their cars in order to take transit. As a design challenge, they’re seen in the same vein as other parking lots. However, park and ride serves a different function than most parking lots. These

A median in a road slopes to contain native grasses and other plants as part of the bioswale design

Urban Water Management and Bioswale Design

Floods are increasing in the United States. It is the most common natural hazard, and creates the greatest economic and social impact. Changes in climate and in ecosystems are creating the conditions that lead to the disaster and are forcing cities to become more flood resilient. A report from the

Detectable warning plate with patina

Stages of Rust

As a material that satisfies tough, industrial requirements and offers appealing aesthetics, metal is used for products everywhere. Metals boast resilience and strength in heavy-duty applications and hardscape supplies. In infrastructure, metal can be styled in versatile ways to blend in with both the traditional and contemporary. When high-quality new

A view of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour shows towers of residences above a tree-lined seawall

The Case for Placemaking

The old adage says, “there are only three things that matter in real estate: location, location, location.” Of course, a home must be right-sized, comfortable, and well-built to be desirable. Yet if the location is poor, even the nicest business or residence may pique little interest. People often give up

A gleaming stainless steel handrail lines a ramp to a building

The History of Universal Design

Cities can be difficult places to navigate. The density of people, objects, and information is very high; surfaces are hard; roads are full of fast-moving traffic. People climb stairs and weave around obstacles to get to their destinations. Having a disability increases the challenges presented by a city. Important information

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

Hardscape in Urban Settings

In cities, concrete, tempered glass, and steel dominate the street. Since the Industrial Revolution, these have been the materials of the urban environment. The mechanical properties and structural stability they provide make our current streetscapes possible. Tall buildings, underground utilities, and transportation networks have evolved through their strength. Yet these