What are Hardscapes?

Written by
on July 19, 2016
Paver path and patio with pergola

We are often asked by customers: What are Hardscapes?

Planning a beautiful landscape design involves using elements that contrast and complement each other. When working with plantings, we incorporate flowers, plants, trees, shrubs and other greenery that add softness and color to your yard. Our designers combine these living, or soft elements, in a way that shows off the natural variations in hue, pattern and texture.

To balance these soft elements, we use stone, pavers, brick and wood to build paths, walls, beds and outdoor living spaces. These structures are referred to as hardscapes, due to the solid and relatively unchanging nature of the substances. Hardscapes require only minimal upkeep to maintain their beauty year-round.

Hardscapes are added in specific ways to be both functional and beautiful. They are used to define planting areas, guide visitors through scenery, and provide outdoor “rooms” for you and your guests to enjoy your yard and garden.

Hardscapes to Define Specific Areas

At their simplest, hardscapes can act as dividers that provide structure and organization to your landscaping. Elements such as timbers or stone walls help to define planting areas and add a physical border to divide them. By providing separation from lawns and patios, these structures highlight specific groupings and prized specimens.

Retaining walls add interest in several ways to a landscape design. First, retaining walls are used to add variation in height. In a sloping or hilly yard, adding walls allows sections of the property to be terraced into several flat areas. This allows irrigation to be more effectively utilized by keeping moisture from simply running downhill.

Secondly, the solid textures of stone and wood used in walls adds interest by contrasting with the soft movements of foliage and flowers. When planned properly, this contrast brings life to arrangements and adds depth to the overall landscape design.

Hardscapes Direct Movement Through the Landscape

By using pavers, flagstones and bricks to build paths, designers direct the movement and flow of people through your landscaping. Adding curves allows visitors to walk around and view plantings from different angles. Widened areas invite visitors to pause and take in varying views of your property.

Guiding guests through your yard with well-planned pathways serves to protect delicate vegetation and planted areas. Additionally, providing safe, solid walkways helps to prevent falls and accidents. To allow visitors to safely enjoy your yard and garden even after the sun has set, consider adding landscape lighting to your hardscape elements.

Hardscapes Create Outdoor Living Spaces

Adding hardscapes also allows you to expand your entertaining options. Rather than being limited to indoor rooms, outdoor spaces with seating and living areas permit you to enjoy your landscape in entirely new ways.

For example, patios and decks provide room for outdoor diner parties and celebrations. Pergolas and trellises near a pool create shady areas to enjoy time out of the direct sun. An inviting fire pit area surrounded by benches allows you to enjoy evenings with friends well into the cooler seasons.

Incorporating Hardscapes to Create a Beautiful Yard

To create a composition that is balanced, consider adding hardscapes to your landscaping plans. Our designers are specialists in creating outdoor spaces that are inviting and practical. Make an appointment today to see how we can transform your property into the yard you’ve always dreamed of.