No landscape is all greenspace. In fact, hardscape is as much a part of the landscape as plants (known as softscape). There are many projects that can contribute to you landscape design, and make your home environment more pleasant. Additionally, it is also interesting to note that most hardscape landscape features are actually very useful and serve functions other than simple being nice to look at.
The most common hardscape features of most landscapes are the driveway and the walkways. These elements are almost necessary. The driveway provides a place for the homeowner to park his or her car, and the walkways are important in providing a place to walk without damaging the rest of the landscape.
There are many different types of projects that can be accomplished when putting in a driveway or walkway. However, many people simply choose to use concrete. Other surfaces can be just as useful, and more attractive, though.
For a driveway, gravel is low cost alternative to concrete. It can be annoying, however, as the small rocks tend to be transferred to other parts of the property. Asphalt can be used if you have a bigger budget. It will not wear as quickly as concrete, and it has more give.
For walkways, you can create a very attractive walk by laying down flat stones. These look more natural, and they are less of an eyesore than are concrete sidewalks.
Other common hardscape features include decks and patios. These are great projects that serve a number of purposes, most notably being places where the homes owners can sit and enjoy their landscape. They also make great platforms for entertaining and outdoor cooking.
Most patios are simply squares of concrete in the back yard. Decks, of course, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are built low and in the front, serving as porches, and others are built in the back and high, like a terrace. In any case, these projects can be tailored to fit the needs of the homeowner, and they also serve another purpose: to decrease the amount of lawn that needs to be maintained.
A square shaped deck or patio element is easy to mow around, and it creates less maintenance work. Oddly shaped patios and decks may be more attractive and interesting, but they can also cause hassles in caring for the edges.
When building these features, it is important to carefully consider the implications of the structure you build. Decks and patios are desirable also because they can be decorated in a number of ways, and according to the seasons. Lights, hanging baskets, and seasonal decorations all adorn decks and patios and make them more inviting.
Water features are often considered hardscape elements in the landscape. These are things like waterfalls and ponds. Even small ponds and waterfalls can make beautiful additions to any landscape. These can be professionally installed, or even installed one self.
Not only do water features look beautiful and inviting, but they also offer soothing and cooling sounds. These features contribute to more than just the sense of sight; a water feature also creates beauty for the sense of sound.
Rock gardens are also often included in the category of hardscape. Even though many rock gardens incorporate softscape elements, they are mostly and distinctly hard. Rock gardens need less attention than flowerbeds and other types of garden.
Additionally, the plants usually planted in a rock garden are hardier varieties that are designed for survival in more challenging conditions. Rock gardens also create an interesting part of the landscape and can even be augmented with addition of a water feature.
These hardscape features are also very useful in odd corners and entryways. These are places that may be too small for grass, but that need a little dressing-up. A small rock garden can be just the thing.
Hardscape projects are an essential part of the landscaping. They are often very utilitarian, and they can be made to be quite attractive. Additionally, hardscape elements decrease the amount of space in the landscape that needs active and frequent care, allowing you more time to enjoy your yard. In addition to this, carefully planned and placed hardscape features can also save you money in maintenance costs.
Photo by FreeWine, Creative Commons Attribution License