What Is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping is the use of non-living objects in landscaping. It can include anything from walkways to patios, retaining walls, and water features.
Hardscapes add beauty to your landscape and increase your property value. They also require less maintenance than the typical lawn or trees. They can even increase your resale value when the time comes to sell. Keep reading the article below to Learn More.
Patios are a great place to start regarding hardscaping because they offer a defined space for seating or cooking and can be built from many different materials. A patio can be made from concrete, pavers, brick, or even natural stone. Patios can be paired with outdoor kitchens, fire pits, or shade structures like pergolas or gazebos to make the space more comfortable and usable.
Creating a patio using pavers allows for a lot of flexibility when it comes to design, as they can be laid in various patterns and styles to match the style of the house. In this case, the white pavers created an elegant look that complements the home’s exterior. Adding an accent color between the pavers can also add a pop of color to the patio.
Another popular choice for patios is landscape rock, which can be a cost-effective option that also looks natural. Choosing rock for patios or walkways can help control erosion, conserve water and define areas of the yard while still allowing for softer plants to thrive in between the stones.
Patios and walkways are also a great way to direct traffic in the garden or around the house. Creating a gravel path can lead guests to your favorite herb or flower bed and prevent people from accidentally stepping on your prized plants. Using pavers to create a walkway can also add an element of style and texture, as well as allow for easy maintenance.
While solid hardscapes like patios, decks and paths provide structure to a yard, they can also deter weed growth by keeping them confined in their designated areas. While a paved surface is a good barrier, weeds can grow through cracks or between pavers, so it’s important to regularly check your hardscape for weeds and remove them when needed. Using gravel or mulch as a ground cover can also deter weeds by slowing their growth and making it easier to pull individual weeds when they do appear.
Walkways and paths connect you to the garden, patios, water features, and more in your landscape. They also help avoid trampling of plants and soil compaction. They can be functional or creative, with many different design possibilities. They are often a mix of materials, including pavers, gravel with wood or brick components, concrete, and boulders.
The type of material you choose for your walkway can make a big difference in how it looks and feels to use, as well as its durability. For this reason, it is important to consider all of your options before making a decision.
Among the most common walkway materials are pavers, which come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and textures and offer excellent durability. They can be used in herringbone, basket-weave, or running bond patterns for a traditional look or arranged sporadically for a more contemporary style.
Another popular option for front walkways is stepping stones, which are easy to install and work well in a variety of landscape styles. Clear the grass in the area you want to create a pathway, then simply lay flat stones (often from four to six feet long) close together like puzzle pieces, filling in gaps with crushed gravel or sand. If desired, you can plant thyme or other “stepable” perennials between the stones to add color and texture and to encourage a more natural feel to your walkway.
Other hardscape materials for walkways include flagstone, which is a great choice because of its beauty and durability. It can be set in herringbone, basket-weave, running bond or diagonal patterns for a classic, timeless look. It is also an ideal material for more rustic pathways, where the natural shapes and colors of the stones can be appreciated.
Brick is a good option for walkways as well, and it is versatile enough to complement most home architecture styles. It’s also fairly inexpensive and can be installed with herringbone, running bond or basket-weave patterns for a more traditional look, or mixed with other paving materials for a more eclectic approach to walkway design.
Retaining walls are a critical part of many hardscapes because they hold back earth from steep slopes. These walls are used for sunken patios, walkout basements, and any other structure that requires an abrupt change of ground elevation. They also prevent soil erosion by limiting the amount of dirt that falls downhill and can cause damage to homes. In fact, retaining walls have been in use for millennia to create terraces of usable land on hilly ground, such as agricultural terraces still used by farmers in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Retaining wall construction can be complex, especially if it is to be structural. Engineers can help design a wall that is strong enough for your needs. Once a plan has been developed, contractors can begin building your wall.
There are several different types of retaining walls:
Gravity walls are the most common type of retaining wall. These walls use their own weight to resist lateral earth pressure and can be constructed from a variety of materials, including concrete pillars, poured-on-site solid walls, precast walls brought in from elsewhere, or, more commonly, concrete block walls. These walls are most useful for retaining earth up to about ten feet high.
Cantilever walls use a similar principle but are more stable than gravity walls and are suitable for much taller structures. They can be built from a variety of materials, such as precast concrete or natural stone and are often used to retain soil on hilly areas in urban settings.
Pile walls are made of reinforced concrete and can be permanent or temporary, depending on the application. They provide excellent rigidity to resist lateral pressure and are economical for walls up to 20 feet in height. Sheet pile walls are a variation of pile walls that utilize steel sheets instead of concrete. They are suitable for extreme depths but are not as rigid as concrete pile walls.
Retaining walls can be constructed from a variety of materials, such as wood, sandstone, brick, concrete blocks, and more. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, wood walls are attractive, but they can rot if not properly treated with water-resistant chemicals. Brick is time-honored and durable, but it must be carefully installed to maintain its structural integrity.
Water features are a unique way to add texture and beauty to your landscape. They can range from a small container pond on a deck to large constructed water gardens featuring waterfalls and fountains. They can also provide a relaxing sound that is soothing and serene. Water features are often an integral part of the overall design, and can be a great focal point that unifies the landscape design.
The use of water is central to many cultures, and the presence of moving water in the home can be seen as a symbol of renewal and spiritual cleansing. In some Japanese gardens, a flowing stream represents the soul, and is believed to bring good luck. For this reason, water features are frequently found in entranceways and indoor atriums.
A pond or fish pool can be a beautiful addition to the garden, and is a perfect place to host aquatic plants and wildlife. Ponds can be designed in a variety of styles and are the most common form of water feature, but they require careful maintenance to ensure that a healthy balance of aquatic life is maintained. Fish require regular feeding, and debris from the surrounding environment must be removed on a regular basis.
If the idea of maintaining a fish pond sounds like too much work, consider a pondless water feature. Waterfalls and recirculating streams in a variety of designs can be installed without the need to maintain an open body of water, and provide the white noise that many homeowners crave. These types of water features are becoming more popular, as they offer the same aesthetic and recreational benefits of a traditional pond while requiring less maintenance.
An outdoor water feature can attract wildlife to the yard and can become a focal point that creates a sense of peace and tranquility. Adding native plants around the water features can help to increase habitat and attract wild birds, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, and other animals. Shallow basins can be used to encourage bathing and drinking for many species, while rocks and artificial shelters can provide a place for perching and nesting. Hummingbirds love to bathe in water and can be easily attracted by bubblers, dripping fountains, or misters.