If you are looking for a way to spruce up your property, hardscaping can be in your future. If you have never tackled a project like this before, it is always a good idea to know the ins and outs of hardscaping and the choices you have.
In this article, we are going to talk about the types of hardscaping, how you plan, and DIY vs. hiring a company! Let’s start with what hardscaping is.
What Is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping or “hard landscaping” is all of the work that goes into non-living things on your property. You will find a more comprehensive list below, but generally, if it is stone or something “permanent,” it will be hardscaping. If it is green and alive…that is landscaping!
What Are Different Types Of Hardscape Ideas?
- Patio- A patio can look very different depending on how you want it created. A patio is a form of hardscaping that can actually contain other elements of hardscaping. A patio may be at grade (ground level) or elevated with retaining walls. It can even be sunken!
- Permanent Structures - A pergola or pavilion is another element of hardscaping. While a pergola may be set on a lawn or in landscaping for a rustic, natural vibe, a pavilion typically has a solid floor such as natural stone or concrete pavers.
- Firepit/Fireplace - These features are perfect for getting warm and roasting marshmallows. When you have a hardscape firepit, you know it will stand the test of time.
- Driveway - A concrete paver driveway is an element of hardscaping that makes a huge impact. Driveways tend to just be about use. Hardscaped driveways can be elevated into an art form. If built with permeable pavers, they can also serve as part of a stormwater management plan.
- Outdoor Kitchen - An outdoor kitchen can be a great place to entertain a large number of guests. Creating big meals just became that much easier with your very own hardscaped kitchen.
- Retaining Walls - Retaining walls are strategically placed to hold back part of your property. Whether used for dirt, water, or slopes…these walls make tremendous and valuable additions to your home.
- Paths - Sometimes, all you need is the ability to get from one location to another without getting dirty. For that reason, a hardscape path can be the simple and elegant solution you are looking for.
- Water Features - Hardscape water features give a feeling of making a backyard complete. Whether it ties into a pool or is just for show, water features are a great addition to any property.
How Do You Plan A Hardscape?
When planning a hardscape project (whether DIY or through a company), there are a few things you are going to want to keep in mind.
- Budget - Does it make more financial sense for your particular project to use a company or DIY. It could range from the type of job you want to be done to the specific materials you wish to use…but count the cost no matter what. Most hardscape installations require specialized equipment, which you may be able to rent locally.
- Size - It may be helpful to draw up your plans before attempting the job. A contractor will do this step for you, but it will allow you to see the vision before the project's initiation.
- Process - What are you going to want to take care of and maintain? If you are happy with the designs of your project so far, now is the time to decide whether or not you are ready for this venture.
- Time - What is the timeline behind your project? When do you want to have the job done? Doing it yourself may take more time and energy.
- Materials - Do you have an idea of how you want the finished job to look? Determining the materials you want to use is a significant step in hardscaping.
Hardscape Ideas For The Front Of Your Home
- Front Door Path - A simple path leading from the front of your property to the door can be a great piece of hardscape that adds texture to your property.
- Retaining Wall Flower Beds - These raised flower beds give some extra height and dimension while also protecting your plants!
- Front Seating Area - A small hardscape porch or area in your front yard for relaxing, reading, and enjoying the weather can be just what your property needs!
- Driveway Paver Design - Custom driveways made with hardscape pavers create a beautiful picture and design for the front of your home.
Hardscape Ideas For The Back Of Your Home
- Fire Pit - Trek out to the edge of your property for the ability to sit by the fire and roast some smores! Fire pits may be embedded in a wooded or grassy area for a rustic vibe, or part of an elaborate patio.
- Pond - A backyard pond is perfect for adding a small water feature to your property. With little maintenance, you can even put fish inside to bring life to your backyard! The sound of running water is quite relaxing and can help mask annoying background noise.
- Pavilion Bar - Entertaining friends and family just got easier with a hardscape pavilion/bar. This permanent structure gives you another reason to spend more time outside.
- Patio Dining - Enjoy fresh meals with your family on a backyard hardscape dining patio.
- Hardscaped Courtyard - A courtyard can have different goals as you design it. A walkway around vegetation, a central gathering area, or even a courtyard for eating meals is a great option!
Hardscape Ideas For Small Homes
If you are worried about how much space you have to be able to do hardscape projects, these small home hardscape ideas may come in handy!
- Small fireplace/fire pit - Just because you have a smaller yard doesn’t mean you can have the perfect fire spot to entertain guests. With small hardscape fireplaces, you can do all your relaxing outdoors!
- Path from front to backyard - A simple path from the front yard to the back makes it an inviting space to get to. Avoid the grass or flower beds with a paver path!
- Front yard walkway - A walkway that meanders around your front yard can add a touch of creativity. You can also make sure you can get from your car to your door without leaving a hard surface.
Hardscape Ideas For Flower Beds
- Path Through Flower Bed - Treat your flower bed as a full-fledged garden by creating pathways to view all of your beautiful flowers.
- Retaining Wall Flower Bed - This will allow the focal point to be on your flower bed by elevating it above your yard. This is the perfect solution for homes with significant slopes.
- Loose Stones - These are added in addition to a hardscape surface to bridge the gap between the living scenery and the inanimate.
- Tiered - If flower beds are your main property feature, allow them to be on multiple levels creating an entire landscape of flowers.
- Curbstone - Curbstone is a great option to define the beds and separate them from the turf. There are natural stone and manufactured options in a variety of colors and textures.
Hardscape Ideas For Water Features
- Simple Pond - A simple pond surrounded by hardscape can give you the perfect retreat. Set up tables and chairs by your pond to watch your fish swimming peacefully.
- Waterfall - A waterfall is an excellent addition to a simple pond. This allows the water to remain in motion and gives you some white noise to enjoy while being outside. And a pondless waterfall lends the sound of water without the maintenance or safety concerns of a pond.
- Fountain - A fountain can add a beautiful visual and audio experience to any property. Fountains come in many different shapes and sizes and can be custom-designed to your vision.
- Garden Pool - These pools are great for backyards with different sections. They can run along paths or separate your yard into the perfect spaces.
Hardscape Ideas Around A Pool
Your backyard pool is one of the most common spots to add a bit of extra hardscaping. Here are a few standard options that we have seen!
- Raised Hot Tub - A pool is very refreshing, but a hot tub is the way to go for all of those colder nights. A hardscape hot tub installed in the landscape or by your pool is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. It may be raised or recessed into the patio; 18-24” above the patio is an ideal height
- Poolside Seating Area - A simple seating area around your pool is a great way to gather guests. Have your meals or just sit and talk together with a hardscape seating area
- Pool Waterfall - A hardscape pool waterfall is another auditory and visual delight. These stones can make for the best aesthetic waterfall or a great spot to jump into the pool!
- Poolside Bar - Sometimes, one of the more relaxing things is to have what you need within arm's reach. Why not make coffee and drinks from in your pool?
- Fire Feature - While it may seem strange to have a fire pit near a pool, this is a popular trend! The fire feature could be a typical hardscape fire pit or get adventurous with a fire boulder or a feature that combines fire and water.
Our Hardscape Ideas
If you are ready to have some hardscape work done on your property, we would love to help. We have 20+ years of hardscape experience to help create more ideas for you to work with. Give us a call or contact us on our website! We can’t wait to hear from you!