An essential part of landscape design, hardscaping provides aesthetic definition and a sense of attractive organization to the natural areas of your landscape. Hardscaping can include virtually any kind of functional, practical or decorative structure in a landscape. Read on for some examples of some popular hardscaping features you might include around your home.
What Are Some Examples?
The term “hardscape” is generally used to refer to any non-living elements in landscaping, from benches and brick patios to wooden arbors and stone walls. It’s the opposite of softscape, which refers to all the organic and living elements in a lawn or garden, such as grass, flowers and trees.
Anything can be hardscaping, including a wooden barrel, an old antique shovel or a colorful garden gnome. More often, traditional hardscaping provides both decoration and function. Some good examples include:
- Versatile, low-maintenance concrete patios
- Natural-looking, upscale brick patios
- Low-cost natural stone outdoor flooring, such as flagstone
- Fancy tile patios that dress up a plain concrete slab
- Stone walkways that meander through lush gardens
- Gravel pathways that provide a “softer” alternative to concrete, brick or solid stone
- Stone retaining walls that convert a slope to flat yard space or create planting areas
- Landscape steps made from strategically positioned heavy stone slabs
- Metal fencing such as iron or coated steel, which is the current standard
- Wooden fencing for a warmer more natural look
- Wooden decks, arbors and gazebos that enhance a landscape while offering shade
- Pergolas are other arbor-like structures affixed to the home
It may seem counterintuitive, but water features are also considered hardscape. These structures are available in a number of forms, including stone or ceramic fountains, clay pot fountains, and small lagoon-style pools. The latter are often made using rigid plastic liners. With larger features, however, flexible rubber liners can be used to make ponds or pools of almost any shape or size.
Initial hardscaping costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. That said, these upfront costs are often afterthoughts since hardscaping can significantly increase the value of a home. Features like flagstone patio tiles, outdoor kitchens and even simple fire pits can make outdoor spaces more liveable while adding functionality and visual appeal. All of this adds real equity to your home. It also makes it a more enjoyable place to live and the envy of friends, family and neighbors.
It’s Not All About Looks
While hardscaping can add substantial curb appeal to your home, it can also serve some very important purposes. Stone steps and retaining walls can improve drainage and level uneven slopes. Fences and gates offer security and privacy while clearly defining your property line. Materials like stone effectively absorb heat, which can help dry out nearby soil and prevent pooling water from contributing to algae, mildew and mosquito larvae.
Even basic hardscaping can be very difficult to install, and it’s quite easy to make minor errors that can compromise functionality. This can lead to major eyesores that negatively impact your landscaping. At the same time, it takes an expert’s eye and intuition to properly plan and place hardscaping. Many times, structures can have unintended consequences on a yard or garden, causing water to pool up or soil to shift in troublesome ways.
Even under the best weather conditions, hardscaping projects can be grueling. This is why it’s best to plan these jobs during favorable weather during the fall, spring or moderate summer days. Certain hardscape projects are just too physically demanding for manual labor alone. That’s why contractors often rely on expensive equipment to do the job quicker and more safely.
Ultimately, hardscaping takes a big-picture vision that determines how each structure will function with and contribute to the overall landscape as a whole. That’s why it’s best to work with reputable local landscaping experts that provide a full spectrum of hardscaping and softscaping services.
RMPS Landscaping designs and installs all kinds of hardscaping, including granite, flagstone, interlocking brick pavers, and other stonework. We proudly offer hardscape designs to commercial and residential property owners throughout Castle Rock and surrounding areas. Whether you want a walkway, patio or a complete driveway, we can create and install the project to manufacturer guidelines and standards. Expertly conceived, designed and installed, our hardscaping adds both beauty and functionality to your landscape, bringing out the full potential of your outdoor areas.
At RMPS Landscaping in Castle Rock, we offer a wide diversity of landscaping services, from stonework to plants, hardscaping, sod, trees and whole-scale landscape renovations. Contact our experts to learn how we can help turn your boldest vision into reality.