Most people are familiar with the term “landscaping.” But “hardscaping” is the subcategory of landscaping that doesn’t involve foliage and other plants.
Hardscaping is the “hard” parts of your landscape design that don’t involve plants:
- Pavements and other walkways
- Retaining/sleeper walls
- Fencing (wood, wrought-iron, stone)
- Gravel paths
- Patios (tile, brick, concrete, wood)
- Fire pits
Hardscaping includes anything you may incorporate into your landscape that’s made of wood, concrete, brick, stone, rocks, metal or other hard-wearing materials that can improve the look and usability of your property.
If you’ve bought a property you really like, wouldn’t you like to enjoy every inch of it, inside and out? Hardscaping can help you do that.
Design elements like sidewalks, patios and other strategically placed “flooring” provide adequate walkways that don’t disturb grass, flower beds and other areas of foliage.
If your land has a slope, a retaining wall can help guard against runoff that exacerbates erosion. If a retaining wall doesn’t suit your design, a waterfall can help alleviate the extra water and reduce the soil loss while looking like a natural part of the landscape.
Designing a hardscape area on your property doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Plan your hardscaping before you begin on the “softscaping,” that is, plants, shrubs, and your vegetable garden.
While much of the discussion of hardscaping involves the aesthetic properties of a home’s exterior, it’s also about the functional parts of the property. How will you use your outdoor areas? Do you plan to entertain on a patio area, or just sit outside and enjoy the view of your property? You’ll need to take these things into account when creating your ideal design. Patio amenities like an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, or other elements will also need to be figured into your overall design.
Your property’s size will also dictate how much or little you’ll install. Blending the hardscape pieces into the surrounding area will keep the view pleasant and avoid looking like you have “too much stuff.” A nice focal point in the yard might be a fountain or other water structure or a gazebo, depending on the size of the yard. Whatever you chose (and whatever your size yard) it should complement the plant life, not over-power it.
Your color scheme should blend with that of the house, and not clash with it. The hardscaping style should also blend and reflect that of the house. Don’t use a design that is very different from the house—it will look harsh and out of place.
You may decide to consult with a professional landscaper to design your ideal outdoor area, or just for advice.
DIY, Or Call A Professional?
If you’re an avid DIY person, you may be ready to do it yourself until you discover what kind of tools and equipment you need. You may be considering calling a professional instead of buying equipment you’ll use once or twice. Fortunately, Home Depot will rent you many of the tools you’ll need. (Lowes does tool rental in some of their stores, but not all of them.) You may be able to do some of the work yourself, and hire a professional to do some of the heavier work.
Maine’s winters make it nearly impossible to do most hardscaping work, so design your hardscape now, while you wait for spring. If you need help or would like us to start creating your dream landscape, call Precision Landscape & Maintenance at (207) 939-8757.