15 May 2014
May 15, 2014

Turfdogs Guide to Hardscapes

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Hardscaping is an attractive feature and offers many appealing options, from a rustic stacked wall to a fully developed outdoor living room and kitchen. Once you’ve decided to create an outdoor space, you must plan carefully to meet your hardscaping goals.

Research really pays off, especially when you consider that a fixed object in the landscape is not going to move easily — and you don’t want to put in a lot of effort and then have your materials or design fail within a couple of years.

By following these simple tips and avoiding some common mistakes, you can create hardscaping you’ll love for years to come.

Consider the Landscaping

As much as you can, consider the entire area available to you for hardscaping before you design an element, even if you’re just tackling one space for now.

If you don’t consider the site comprehensively, it’s like building one room of a house, and then a year or so later, a second room. You may decide to plop down a patio, and then decide you want a barbecue, pond or walkway and the patio blocks your plan.

Delve Into Draining Issues

We’ve seen more hardscapes messed up by people ignoring drainage requirements than by all the other errors combined.  You must plan how the drainage will be affected when you place, say, a wall or a patio.

You should plan runoff so you can capture the water and use it on site, instead of letting it hit that concrete and go down the drainage pipe.

Develop a Focal Point

You want the eye to travel toward a destination, and one or two visual elements that make you pause.  This can be a plant or tree of some type, a water feature, or a bar or grill where you want guests to gather.

Choose Proper Materials for Your Style

Hardscapes can be relaxed or formal, but the best ones show a well-defined style.   Think of a two- or three-word phrase that describes your vision and stick with it. An intimate courtyard, for example, has little in common with a Grecian garden when it comes to style.

After selecting your style, choose a few materials that complement your home’s interior and exterior. You don’t want to have to look at a hardscape with all one color or material.

The idea is to find two or three materials that are visually creative and coordinate not just with each other but with the interior and exterior of the house.