The Hardscaper Blog

Sandscape Refined; Sand Finish Concrete 2.0

Sandscape® refined flatwork next to fire pit

Sandscape Refined is one of the most high-end decorative concrete products you can come by. It takes the grip and walkability we all love about Sandscape and enhances its aesthetic and ecological value. 

Why Everyone Likes Sandscape Refined: 

Modern steps made of sandscape® refined concrete

More Colors

By excluding warm-colored, local sands and replacing them with neutral silica sand, pigments in color hardeners are not tainted. This helps Sandscape Refined reach lighter and more exotic tones. Moreover, supplied from the same batch plants, consistent aggregates provide results easily duplicated no matter where in the country. 

Additionally, compared to standard, integrally colored concrete, Sandscape Refined’s potential to reach high SRI values outdoes almost all other concrete products. With higher SRI values, Sandscape Refined pool decks are also the best for keeping surface temperatures low and walkable.

Although Sandscape Refined has a potential for lighter and more vibrant colors, at 3/32″ thick, the cost is only a fraction of coloring the concrete all the way through.

Adding Specialty Aggregate

12 named samples in sample box

Another benefit of color hardener is the ability to introduce specialty aggregates to the mix. Crushed glass and mirror glass in Sandscape Refined add unique color and sparkle where they would normally sink to the bottom of concrete mixes.

If you thought you couldn’t love Sandscape Refined more, we apply this finish on both horizontal and vertical finishes, including benches, seat walls, and planter walls.

What’s the Catch?

Can a product so thin also be durable? The answer is, yes! We have been using color hardener since the 70s and have proven its durability time and time again. Sandscape Refined is simply a new way of utilizing it. Although we don’t recommend Sandscape Refined for vehicular passageways, or at locations like Disneyland, experiencing 44,000 visitors a day, this product lasts a lifetime on typical pedestrian walkways.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Contractor:

Distant perspective of Sandscape Refined coping and pool deck at apartment complex.

When choosing a contractor to install Sandscape Refined to your project, remember these two things:


It is critical to choose an experienced installer, especially for such a unique product. The installation process is very time-sensitive as if normal concrete finishing wasn’t sensitive enough. When to place the wet topping on the wet sub-slab, apply the retarder, and wash/expose the flatwork are all crucial steps to making concrete look good.

The timing of each of those steps could change depending on the weather and temperature. Choose a contractor who considers all factors into their work. In your specs, describe a contractor who has installed 25,000 SF of work within 5 years and 50 miles of the job site. 


Write your specifications so they are performance-based instead of step-by-step instructions. It is important to focus on the end product because anyone can follow a recipe, but not everyone can make a masterpiece. 

One foolproof way to test this is by requiring a mockup of the work you’ve chosen for your project. This could mean checking out a recently completed project or asking for a mockup specifically poured for your project. 

If Anything, Read This.

Sandscape Refined planter walls.

Although beautiful, this high-end sand finish might not be the perfect fit for your next vision. At Colorado Hardscapes, we recognize that every project requires products with different attributes. Whether you select Sandscape, Sandscape Refined, or broom finish concrete, we want to be a part of that problem-solving process. With experience since 1947, we’ve seen a lot, and part of what drives us are those “never-done-before” projects.

Give us a call and we’d love to talk to you about how to give your idea concrete results.


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Colorado Hardscapes

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