Hardscape. The word sounds a lot like landscape, and while the two are related, they are not the same thing. A landscape is your entire outdoor area and is made up of two elements: hardscape and softscape. Softscape is all the living aspects of a landscape, such as shrubs, flowers, and trees. Hardscape, on the other hand, refers to all the non-living, or hard, components. A hardscape is man-made and can be created using materials like stone, brick, concrete, pavers, wood, etc.
There are so many different types of features that can be included in a hardscape design, and they can vary in their designs and the materials from which they are constructed. Hardscapes can be either decorative, such as a fountain, or practical, such as a retaining wall. Some of the most common hardscaping features include:
- Stone retaining walls: These walls can convert a slope to a more useful flat space, improve drainage, and add a beautiful design element to a landscape.
- Patios: A patio can give you a more usable area in your backyard to lounge outdoors, host parties, or provide pool access. They can be made using concrete, stone, tiles, or pavers arranged in artful patterns.
- Walkways: A walkway or garden path can connect different parts of your outdoor living area. Stone, gravel, tiles, and pavers are some of the materials that can be used to build walkways.
- Driveways: Just like walkways, a driveway is another useful hardscape feature. Different designs can be used to make your driveway look more elegant and inviting. They can be made from the same materials as walkways.
- Steps: Heavy stone slabs or pavers can be used to make elegant outdoor steps that can lead to different patio levels or make it easier to travel down a hilly landscape.
- Fences: A fence can provide privacy, protection, or decoration to your home or certain areas of your landscape. Fences can be made of metal, wood, or glass depending on your needs and desired look.
- Decks: Decks serve the same function as patios and are typically made of wood or similar materials.
- Gazebos and Pergolas: These features provide shade and elegance to a landscape. They are primarily made of wood and can be built anywhere in your backyard.
- Fountains: A fountain can make an outdoor living area feel much more peaceful and relaxing. Stone is the most common material for fountains.
Why Your Backyard Needs Hardscaping
Hardscaping adds extra beauty to a backyard, but it can serve other functions beside improving curb appeal. When choosing a hardscape design, materials, and layout, some of the things that need to be considered is how they will affect not only the look of your landscape but also its efficiency and flow.
For example, not only can stone retaining walls, steps, and pathways help level uneven land and improve appearance, but they can also help improve drainage and reduce runoff in areas subject to flooding. Hardscaping materials such as concrete, stone, and rock absorb heat from the sun, drying the surrounding soil more quickly, which can prevent the accumulation of standing water. This helps to minimize over-watering, stop the growth of algae and mildew, and keep unwanted pests away. Fences are another hardscape feature that can be a necessary addition to your backyard. Fences and gates provide privacy and can add extra protection to your home. They are also frequently used for added safety when they surround a pool area to keep children and animals from accessing the pool without supervision. Fences are often used to define property lines and section backyards into areas that serve different purposes.
The final reason for hardscaping is to provide fluidity from your indoor space to your outdoor space. Patios, decks, gazebos, and pergolas all contribute to create a living space that extends from inside your home to your outdoor area. Outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, firepits, and other hardscape features make your outdoor living space more usable for a variety of purposes, from spending quality time outdoors with family to hosting parties and entertaining guests.
Hardscape Design and Installation Services in Knoxville, TN
Hardscaping is an integral part of creating a beautiful yet useful outdoor space. If you think your backyard needs an upgrade, consider adding hardscape features to improve the appearance and usability of your landscape. Here at LaddScapes, we have years of experience in hardscape design, installation, and maintenance. If you already have a design in mind, we can bring it to life, or we can help you come up with an artful hardscape design that will suit your style and needs. We specialize in all types of hardscape design, including patios, pool decks, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, and much more, all to give you the luxurious outdoor living area of your dreams. Reach out to us today at 865-590-7673 or via our online form to learn more about our hardscaping services so we can work together to create your dream outdoor oasis.