To get the most out of a yard or property, it’s important to use a variety of landscaping methods. Luscious gardens, pristine lawns, and beautiful stonework are never enough in themselves. The key is balancing all these elements to create a harmonious whole. Hardscape, which refers to the solid, non-horticultural portions of a landscape, is essential to the formation of a well-rounded, comprehensive aesthetic. With the proper use of stones, concrete, and other permanent structures, you can turn your property into a true outdoor paradise.

Definition of Hardscape

Hardscape refers to the use of permanent objects in landscaping. Any part of your yard that doesn’t consist of living plants could be considered a valid example of hardscaping. This includes the pebbles in your walkway, the statue in your garden, and the bricks in your barbecue area. These components serve to beautify the space while providing practical advantages.

Why is Hardscaping Important?

Hardscaping comes with all sorts of aesthetic and practical benefits. For one thing, hard, permanent components combine well with decorative plants to create a varied, attractive yard. Something as simple as a wooden arbor will provide valuable contrast and enhance the beauty of your garden. Hardscaping can also make it easier to enjoy your outdoor space. Benches and patios provide places to sit, while walkways and stepping stones make it easier to move around.

What is the Difference between Hardscaping and Softscaping?

Landscaping is technically divided into two different categories: softscape and hardscape. While softscape deals with living things like plants, flowers, grass, and trees, hardscape deals with hard components like masonry, stones, and wooden structures. Pretty much any permanent, non-alive object found in a yard falls under the category of hardscape. From wooden benches to brick patios, concrete walkways to retaining walls, all the non-plant components of your yard are parts of your hardscape portfolio.

Benefits of Hardscaping

A thorough landscaping project involves both hardscape and softscape elements. If you employ one without the other, your yard will fall far short of its potential. Hardscaping carries more benefits than the obvious aesthetic and practical advantages. Your property has a lot to gain through the installation of classic hardscape components.

Low Maintenance

Plants are living organisms, and they often require a bit of effort to keep alive. This isn’t true of rocks, wood, and other hardscape materials. While cleaning, painting, and other maintenance activities might be necessary, they generally require much less labor than what you experience with trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Sustainable

A thought-out hardscape feature will have no negative effects on the natural environment. Most are made from natural products with no ecological consequences. This allows you to increase your yard’s aesthetic appeal without damaging the plants and animals living in the area. Some hardscape elements can even give local organisms a boost by providing them with safe places to live and reproduce.

Excellent Source of Drainage

Heavy bouts of precipitation can leave your property prone to flooding. Not only can your lawn and garden find themselves saturated, but sometimes the structure of your home itself is threatened. Hardscape features like French drains will help steer excess water in the right direction, preventing harmful flooding in an attractive, non-obtrusive way.

Conserve Water

While removing excess water is essential after heavy rainfall, conserving water is equally important when you’re in the midst of a drought. Hardscaping techniques can allow you to trap and store rainwater before using it for irrigation. By watering your garden with water from a natural source, you’ll avoid excessive use of the tap. This is a great example of how hardscaping and softscaping can harmoniously interact.

Increase Property Value

Hardscape components are permanent features that beautify and improve a property in meaningful ways. Given their positive contributions, it’s no surprise they can have a significant effect on property values. All those stone walkways and brick patios won’t go anywhere when you sell your home. They’ll continue to serve the new owners, who will be willing to pay more for such a well-endowed property. Even if you’re not planning to sell your home any time soon, you’ll still be increasing the value of your asset by investing in sensible hardscape additions.

Rocks

Rocks, stones, and pebbles are useful for all sorts of projects in and around gardens. Not only do they make excellent decorative features, but they can also prevent erosion and maintain the structural integrity of your yard.

Crushed Shells

Crushed shells are great for giving driveways and walkways a warm, beachy vibe. Tucked between a border of stones or wood to keep them from spilling into gardens, they provide a wonderful natural substrate. The only downside is that they can be sharp and painful for anyone in the habit of walking around barefoot.

Curb Appeal

Hardscaping projects will help make your property look a lot nicer from the road. As gorgeous as lawns and gardens can be, they often fall a little flat without hardscape features that draw out their latent beauty. Solid elements like statues, pagodas, and benches create the appearance of a yard that was designed to be enjoyed. This gives the entire property a light, pleasant, and inviting atmosphere that passersby can readily appreciate.

Boulders

There’s something about the hardness and permanence of a boulder that makes it an impressive feature in any yard. Their innate naturalness makes them an elegant, understated addition to almost any landscaping project.

Stepping Stones

A home appears much more inviting when there’s a path directing visitors through the yard. Not only do stepping stones look fantastic, but they also encourage people to maintain a consistent route through the property, thereby avoiding damage to the surrounding softscape components.

Cement Areas

Some parts of a yard are bound to experience heightened foot traffic. Laying cement in these spots will allow people to use the space effectively without damaging the lawns and gardens.

Bricks

Masonry provides a beautiful and practical way to add hardscape components to your property. Bricks are certainly an apt material for patios and walkways, and they also fit nicely with the aesthetics of many homes. Many homeowners appreciate the color contrast between red bricks and the green shading of most softscape components.

Metal Objects

Sometimes, a bit of metal contrasts nicely with all the green and brown plant life on a property. Metal sculptures can give your gardens some new-age pizazz, while practical elements like grills, benches, and playgrounds will make the space a lot more entertaining for adults and children alike.

How to Incorporate Hardscaping Into Your Landscape Design

Incorporating hardscaping into your landscape design is all about strategic planning and careful execution. First of all, you need to decide what you want to get out of your outdoor space. Then, determine what design features will help you achieve your goals. Finally, you should reach out to landscape professionals who can assess your plans and put them into action. You don’t want your property to fall short of expectations because of a shoddy do-it-yourself effort.

Natural Green: Experts in Hardscaping

True landscaping experts will know exactly how to make the most of your property with sound hardscaping techniques and services. Natural Green, with years of experience in Florida and a commitment to customer satisfaction, can help create the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hardscaping

What is Considered Hardscaping?

Any aspect of landscaping that doesn’t involve plants or horticulture falls under the category of hardscaping. This includes features as seemingly disparate as an irrigation system and a wooden bench. If it’s in the yard and it’s not a plant, odds are that it can be considered hardscaping.

What Is the Difference Between Hardscaping and Landscaping?

Landscaping is a general term that refers to the design, preparation, and maintenance of outdoor spaces for aesthetic and practical benefits. Hardscaping, which involves the use of hard, non-plant materials in a yard or garden, is a subcategory within the larger category of landscaping. Hardscape is often contrasted with softscape, or the subcategory of landscaping that involves plants and horticulture.

What Is an Example of Hardscape?

Anything hard, outside, and not a plant is likely an example of hardscape. Gravel is one obvious example. So is a decorative fountain. Some people even consider a swimming pool to be an example of hardscape. The term simply refers to any aspect of landscaping that doesn’t involve plants, horticulture, and living organic material.

Is Hardscape a Concrete?

No, the term hardscape does not refer to a type of concrete. Hardscaping is a subcategory of landscaping that involves the use of permanent, non-plant materials. Concrete is, however, often used in hardscape elements like walkways and patios.