Learn how to incorporate hardscape into your outdoor space with these five ideas

Jerry DiFabrizio  – November 16, 2018 | Updated January 16, 2019

In modern landscaping, a variance between “soft” and “hard” elements is significant to strike a balance in design. One of the crucial aspects for striking that desired balance is hardscape. It adds non-living aspects to the landscape to combine with trees, flowers, shrubs, and other natural greenery. Hardscape usually consists of materials like tile, stone, wood, concrete, and even metal. Here are five easy ways to incorporate hardscape into your landscape.

Create a Beautiful Patio

A patio can be the central focus of your yard design. It’s a great place to socialize with friends, enjoy some downtime, and have family gatherings. When placed close to the back of your home, it can serve as its extension, which increases its value, and it’s also very private.

As for materials you can use, choices are abundant. On the inexpensive side, gravel would be a good choice if you’re looking for something cheap and easy to maintain. You could also opt for any solid stone such as granite, for a sophisticated and durable look that won’t get slippery in the winter. In case you’re living in a hot, dry climate, go with sandstones and limestones instead.

Incorporate It into the Fire Features

Firepits or fireplaces make for excellent use of hardscape that adds both function and style to your backyard. Build it as a place to relax, a little romantic oasis, or a family-friendly hangout spot. Good choices for fire features are durable materials such as brick, flagstone, limestone, concrete, and even river rock. Depending on the aesthetic you want, there are plenty of options. The best part is that you can build a propane-fueled or a wood burning fire feature anywhere you want in your yard so that it could provide great balance to the greenery.

Make the Water Flow

In the drought-prone West, water features might feel like an excess bordering on outright waste. However, if you live in a climate in which precipitation is at regular or abundant rates, consider adding a water feature such as a water wall, lake, pond, or waterfall. Water features combine well with plant life and look amazing, providing you with something to rest your eyes upon. Even in a small backyard, the right water features can look effective, and it’s a great way to incorporate hardscape in your landscape design.

Design the Pathways

One of the most common uses of hardscape is undoubtedly in building stone pathways and decorative fencing. They can be quite beneficial for the overall design of your backyard, as they can help drain water better from certain areas where it’s necessary. You can place planters around it, and sloped pathways will naturally disperse the water to your plants. If there is any soft scaping such as existing trees that you want to preserve, you can create a path around it and use the bordered area around it as flowerbeds. Pathways shape your backyard, so make sure you plan this out thoroughly.

Build a Pergola or Arbor

Pergolas and arbors are a great way to add hardscape into your backyard design if you’re looking for some shade and want to provide support for the growth of vines. Pergolas can provide that cover while also having a sitting area which can have quite a friendly atmosphere depending on the design. On the other hand, arbors are a good solution if you wish to define an entry point, or if you’d like to separate two parts of the backyard.

Conclusion

Hardscaping is the “in” thing to do right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s all about the looks and no functionality. In design, it’s always best to have both, and that’s precisely what hardscaping provides for your landscape.

–  Jerry DiFabrizio, president of Tampa Tile