Photo courtesy of GIE+EXPO

Taking place alongside GIE+EXPO, this year’s Hardscape North America trade show will once again feature educational sessions and a 6,500-square-foot outdoor demonstration area adjacent to the exhibit hall.

Bourque, the new presenter of the hardscape demos will lead the continuous build sessions that showcase topics such as tools of the trade, SRWs, permeable interlocking concrete pavements, outdoor kitchens and much more.

With a new focus on “Hardscape Meets Water,” the live sessions will demo how to build hardscape projects around different water features with lasting results.

“These demonstrations really provide the best construction and business practices,” Bourque says. “My goal is to really bring those highlights to each topic.”

The outdoor demonstrations will consist of six different presentations: Tools of the Trade, Base Construction and Paver Installation, Raised Patios, Walls and Steps, Outdoor Kitchens, BBQs and Fire Pits, Pools, Water Features and Hardscape Lighting, and Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers.

With these trends becoming increasingly popular in the hardscape industry, Bourque says that it’s important for landscapers and hardscapers to learn about them. “Many of the higher end jobs really require the knowledge to build around these features and build specifically for these features,” he says. “Many landscapers learn the hard way.”

Water features.

For the first time, HNA will put more emphasis on water features within your hardscape projects. They’re a focal point in many hardscape designs, but Bourque says that not all hardscapers have the training and skills necessary to successfully install them. Improper installations can lead to more money spent and heartache over time.

Things like perforated liners or leads can happen during an improper installation and create a lot of issue over time, which in turn can cause more grief for hardscapers and their clients. Bourque says that hardscapers can learn different tips and techniques to prevent damages later, such as what to look for in underground watering and piping.

“Water features within a project are always beautiful, and our industry does a great job with creative design,” Bourque says. “But the little things, that’s what can make or break the project.”

Tools of the Trade.

The tools of the trade demonstration will focus on the best and most efficient hardscape tools to use in order to maximize efficiency and minimize effort. This topic will allow attendees to see and hear first-hand what tools are on the market as well as their proper use.

Bourque says from experience that business owners need to take a look at their current practices, then ask themselves if it’s really working or if there’s a better, faster way to do it. Things like investing in newer equipment or developing new installation techniques can save businesses time and money.

Other trends.

Other trends that will be covered during the live demonstrations include fire pits, BBQ’s, raised patios and outdoor living spaces – trends Bourque has seen a lot.

“People are trying to create outdoor living rooms, so we’re trying to focus on each feature and educate contractors on why you do or do not want to install each type of feature depending on the project” he says.

The demos will give attendees tips on design, such as avoiding dark colors in your outdoor living spaces to avoid creating something akin to an oven, where the space stays hot all day and never cools down. Attendees will also learn how to properly utilize the dimensions of an area, since Bourque says that the size and shape of installations can really affect how a space is used after.

“Each of these different topics are going to be discussed and shared, not just from myself but from other professionals in the hardscape industry,” Bourque says.

HNA highlights.

Another feature of the hardscape demonstrations that past attendees have really enjoyed is the ability to try out the different tools and equipment following the live presentation. Bourque says being able to try the equipment will help people get a hands-on feel for different products they’re considering purchasing for their businesses.

“Very seldom do we get the opportunity to try equipment at a show,” Bourque says. “We’ll get to see someone else operating it, but it’s rare we get a chance to hop on and try it for ourselves.”

Bourque hosts conferences throughout Canada and the United States but he says that HNA offers the most. He says that he usually has to go to at least three or four shows to get the same amount of knowledge that the HNA show offers in one.

“There’s a way to save time, money and to be more efficient,” Bourque says. “That’s what the show offers in my opinion.”

As a long-time attendee of the show himself, Bourque says that HNA offers a wealth of information and attendees will be able to walk away with the knowledge to better themselves and their businesses.

Bourque recommends that first-time attendees plan ahead by looking at the show website, reviewing the indoor and outdoor floor plans, and downloading the free HNA 2018 mobile app. If they are interested in attending any of the conference sessions, look at the topics and presenters ahead of time and pick those that align with the areas they are struggling with the most at that time.

“There’s going to be so much there, you can’t possibly see it all in one trip,” Bourque says. This is one of the events that you can get a lot more out of the show if you take the time to do a little pre-planning beforehand.”