We often overlook hardscapes as part of our lawns, backyards, and outdoor decor. However, they play a large role in how our property appears to onlookers. Hardscapes contribute greatly to curb appeal, and a good hardscape can improve the general appearance of a property astronomically.


That being said, here’s what you need to know about hardscapes, and how to design one that will make the most of your given space.


What is a Hardscape?


Before we can dive into hardscaping as a concept, we have to understand what it is. Most people don’t know exactly what this word entails, and how hardscaping works to improve your yard.


Hardscaping includes any and all porches, pathways, edging, and functional decor on your property. From stone walkways to your front porch, all of this is hardscaping that contributes to your home’s appearance. Commercial properties also use hardscaping to improve their storefronts and buildings.


Combined with landscaping like grass, shrubbery, trees, and flowerbeds, hardscapes can do a lot for your property. Certain designs might add class to your home, or make it feel more friendly. For example, a curved walkway is more charming than one that goes straight to your doorstep. This is an example of intelligent hardscaping.


Now that we’ve gone over what hardscaping is and why it matters, we can begin discussing the types of hardscaping projects, and what you need to know about designing them.


Types of Hardscape Projects


As mentioned above, there are a few types of hardscaping projects. Different designs have different effects, so it’s important to plan ahead and move forward with the best possible option. Here are a few common hardscape projects and what they can add to your home.


  • A badly planned and improperly built deck can leave your home looking worse than how you found it. However, a well-designed deck can give you a functional addition to your home that looks good and improves the value of your house.
  • Fountains. Water features, especially fountains, can add quite a bit to your home. Large fountains can give the appearance of wealth, while charming nature designs and “zen” fountains can spruce up pools, sitting areas, and backyards.
  • Backyards can seem dreary and boring without proper sitting areas. Before you can lay down patio furniture or a gazebo, you need to have a patio. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to do this, and the possibilities are endless.
  • A well-designed walkway does more than provide convenient stomping grounds. It can direct the eyes to more attractive areas of the home, like your front porch or the handsome garden against your house. Curved and patterned walkways also add charm to your property.
  • Edging your flowerbeds and walkways is a good way to break up your yard, and prevent features from blending into one another. It also cuts down on weed overflow, and gives your property a put-together appearance.


Choosing a Hardscape Material


Picking your next project is half the fun. What materials you choose can have a massive influence on the final outcome of your project, so it’s important to choose wisely. Here’s some information on a few of the more popular hardscape materials.


  • Composite Decking. While it got a bad reputation in its early days, composite decking has come a long way. In fact, many argue that modern composite decking is a better investment than wood. It resists wear, and looks better than normal wood.
  • Humans have been using bricks for centuries, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone out of style. There are quite a few types of brick, making this one of the most versatile and stylish building materials around.
  • Tile isn’t just for use indoors. In fact, ceramic tile can provide a dash of color and class to any outdoor setting. Use it for stair backdrops, outdoor counters, and accent pieces among tile and stone.
  • Like brick, this is a classic building material. Unless you live in an area that sees heavy rot and flooding, you really can’t go wrong with wood. It can be used for gazebos and decks, and can be stained and painted for maximum effect.
  • In some cases, concrete can be considered boring. However, with proper installation and sprucing, it’s a cheap, useful material for building patios and walkways.
  • Stones & Loose Rock. Like concrete and wood, loose rock can be considered boring in some cases. However, what type of rock you choose has a huge effect on how it looks. It’s also important to consider how you use rock in your hardscaping. When used properly, it’s the perfect decorative material.


Planning Your Next Hardscape Project


Wintertime is the best time to plan hardscaping projects. The last thing you want to do is rush your renovations and end up unhappy with your summer project. For that reason, you have to plan carefully, and think long and hard about how you want to do things.


Don’t jump into a hardscaping idea right away. Sleep on it, and discuss ideas with friends and professional landscapers. Some of your ideas might not mesh well with reality, so it’s always a good idea to get professional input.


Aisling View specializes in making properties look good. A planning session with your landscaper can pave the way for some great ideas, and ensure that your projects come to fruition in a good way. If you’re currently mulling over some hardscaping ideas, try brainstorming with your landscaping company. You might be surprised by what they can bring to the table.