Planning the Dream: 3 Key Steps to Building an Outdoor Oasis from EP Henry

Jarod Hynson, President of landscaping company Earth, Turf & Wood Inc., has seen his share of extreme outdoor renovations. As an experienced landscape designer, Mr. Hynson has built lavish backyard projects rivaling any luxury resort. He’s also installed small urban patios and outdoor kitchens. The most important thing for any size project, Mr. Hynson said, is to have a 3-to-5 year master plan. “What is the end goal?” he asks. Here, Mr. Hynson gives three main steps to begin planning any outdoor project.

Gather ideas

Homeowners must first establish the kind of project. “Look at the backyard and say, ‘What do we really want in that backyard?” Mr. Hynson advised. “‘What is going to make us wanna walk out there?’” A collection of photos and ideas is a good beginning. Catalogs and online sites can provide many possibilities for big and small outdoor areas. Thorough research is required. Many new elements and technological advances have been introduced in the last several years, including pre-measured outdoor kitchen kits and indoor-outdoor porcelain tiles.

Build a budget

A homeowner doesn’t need an exorbitant budget and many acres of land to get the most out of the landscape. A step-by-step plan implemented over time is the path to accomplish any backyard dream. Whether it be a simple paver patio or a big pool and spa combo, it all begins with an idea. Start with the end in mind, and plan from there. Parts of the patio, outdoor kitchen or living room, etc. can be added as budgets allow. Homeowners should share their full vision with a contractor. Homeowner and contractor together working as a team will produce a plan that incorporates future phases.

Research materials and contractors

A visit to a paver distributor can give the homeowner an idea of the materials used in today’s outdoor projects. Seeing materials in person is a key step in deciding what will work for the project. The variation in quality between pavers and paver manufacturers can be wide. Look for the tried and true brands first.

Finding a contractor can be a tough process, but a hidden resource is the paver manufacturer’s list of approved contractors. An experienced patio paver manufacturer will have a list of contractors with proven high levels of service and skill.

One last thing: contractors should be booked as early as possible. “The window is not big enough to start in March,” Mr. Hynson said. Planning for a pool, for example, needs to begin almost a year before. His company is typically booked solid by December for the coming summer’s projects. “The absolute best time to come to us about planning a pool,” Mr. Hynson said, “is really June, July, or August.”

About EPHenry®

EP Henry®, the oldest American family-owned and operated manufacturer of unit concrete products in North America, provides the highest quality and broadest product offerings in Hardscaping(™). Based in Woodbury, New Jersey, EP Henry manufactures a wide range of paving stone and retaining wall products, including permeable pavers which are a best management practice (BMP) for stormwater management. EP Henry also offers beautiful patio pavers, outdoor kitchen kits, garden wall solutions and more. For more information on EP Henry Hardscaping products, visit or call 800-44-HENRY (800-444-3679).

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