Does Your Landscaping Include Hardscape?

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ August 18, 2009

I need to change my opinion about hardscaping. When I was young, my neighbor ripped out his lawn and paved the front yard--to my dismay. But for people with severe allergies or those living in severe weather conditions that prevent green growth, hardscaping is a boon. Plus, most landscaping designs are complemented by judicious use of hardscaping materials like masonry, fountains, bridges, walls, trellises, wells, statuary, and patios.

Stone walls make exceptionally fine additions, whether to fortify a bank or garden terrace, or to set apart a patio or walkway from the lawn. Adding mortar caps can also dazzle, supporting bird feeders or ornamental elements.

Hardscaping and Landscape Design As the saying goes, there's no accounting for taste. But you can't go wrong if you keep balance in mind between natural and man-made elements. A complementary arrangement of hardscape and landscape components can lead the viewer's eye toward a central point of beauty: a patio, gazebo, rose garden, waterfall, bridge, or bubbling fountain.

Hardscaping materials give homeowners an exceptional range of decorative options. You can have your work done in brick or stone, or well-crafted wood. And it doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. Many pre-made flagstone sets, fire pits, pergolas, and topairy frames cost less than custom-built hardscaping accessories. Your project does not have to depend on a massive budget.

Tying Landscape and Hardscape Together Hardscape can provide an effective means of transitioning between your lawn and garden elements, or between your indoor and outdoor settings. By bringing greenery into your patio or screened porch, you invite nature into man-made space. And the symbiotic effect is created in the garden by introducing furniture or lighting.

If you live in a drought-stricken area or find water at a premium, consider the use of low-maintenance native plants, cacti, or grasses in concert with stone walls, tiled patios, and wooden decks. Varying the colors and textures of your hardscape materials can also lend pleasing variety without creating a garish, urban eyesore.

Stone archways also provide deft transitions between lawn, vegetable garden, barbecue pits, outdoor kitchens, or swimming pools. It's not a bad idea to visit garden shops or peruse online landscape design sites for ideas in developing a theme.

For example, the use of red brick, wrought iron, and terra cotta tiles, combined with junipers, lavender, azaleas, and olive trees can create a delightful Italian landscape design. Traditional brick or modern concrete pavers have their own personalities. The latter can be cut or shaped to fit your motif.

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