The Great Outdoors: Hardscapes
By RYAN BRINKER Photos by ADAM COLE
Many business-minded individuals have gone to great lengths to ensure that people in Topeka and the surrounding area have an opportunity to explore the nature around us.
For those of you who would live outdoors if the Kansas weather would allow it, the following Topeka companies make it their business to help you create outdoor spaces that make you feel at home.
HARDSCAPES OF KANSAS The term outdoor spaces can encompass anything from simple sidewalks or gazebos to elaborate outdoor kitchens complete with replaces, sinks and dishwashers. Regardless of which end of the spectrum customers fall into, Hardscapes of Kansas has a solution to enhance outdoor living.
Chris Dittman, owner of Hardscapes of Kansas, opened for business in 2008.
“I wanted to be my own boss,” Dittman said. “I wanted to incorporate my own designs and visions of outdoor spaces.”
Dittman describes hardscapes as any type of outdoor living: retaining walls, paver sidewalks, patios, pergolas and outdoor kitchens.
“We like to make people feel like we are bringing the indoors outside,” Dittman said.
Dittman says this trend of creating more elaborate outdoor spaces became popular a few years ago, and people have embraced the concept. Homeowners continually make improvements to their existing homes, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, updating older xtures and even building on additions to create more space. Once those renovations are complete, home improvement projects o en move outdoors.
When customers decide to update their outdoor spaces, Hardscapes of Kansas can help with everything from designing the space, to selecting the materials, to completing the construction.
“I also work on the job site as well as designing the projects,” Dittman said. “I’m not a guy that likes to sit in an office. I want to get my hands dirty and cut stone and watch as my design comes to life.”
Dittman credits the success of his business to listening to what customers want and helping them find the most cost effective way to make their vision come true. If a proposed outdoor project is a little too expensive, Dittman will explore alternative materials, or redesign the space to reduce the cost. In some cases, he has divided large projects up into more manageable “chunks” that customers can implement over a longer period of time.
“Probably 50 percent of our customers are either repeat customers or neighbors of former customers who have seen what we have done and want something similar in their own back yard,” Dittman said.
While the fad of luxurious outdoor spaces may be slowing a little, Dittman isn’t worried about the future.
“Outdoor living isn’t about how elaborate the space is,” Dittman said. “It’s about enjoying it the way you want to.”