You may have heard the term “hardscaping” and wanted to understand more of what it entails. Hardscaping is a crucial part of home and garden design now, and if you want the ideal, low-maintenance garden it helps to understand your options.
Both hardscaping and softscaping are parts of landscape design and there are obviously some important distinctions. If you are looking to take advantage of hardscaping you should understand exactly what you are dealing with.
What is hardscaping?
The hardscape within a yard or garden is everything that is hard. Simple enough. If it is made out of concrete or bricks then it may fall under the hardscape category.
So hardscaping is the art of designing where all of these harder parts of a yard should be, what they should look like, and then implementing and maintaining the design. For instance, if you want to install a new path running along your yard then it is going to count as hardscaping.
On the other hand,softscaping is the substyle of landscaping that includes anything that is living and growing such as flowers, trees, succulents, and more.
The hardscaping in your yard is not only hard, it is usually thought of as unmoving, forming a sort of frame for the rest of your yard. Whereas some things in your yard such as trees and shrubs will grow and evolve over time. At some point, they might even need to be removed for various reasons. Your garden looks very different in January from how it looks in August and depending on the climate where you live this can be very drastic.
How is it important?
Why does hardscaping matter, anyway?
Well, virtually every garden has some combination of hardscaping. A perfect balance between hardscaping and softscaping is needed if you are going to have a yard that looks the best.
Walk along most suburban streets and you’ll see some yards that simply have too much of one or the other. It might suit your lifestyle, for instance, to have a lot of hardscaping. Getting professional hardscaping services to get rid of high-maintenance areas of the yard, such as flower beds or trees that need a lot of pruning, can mean you have to do less in the yard. However, even if you go for a lot of hardscaping, you need to add some green so that the yard doesn’t look clinical or boring.
A lot of people will choose to hardscape with a patio, for instance, and then use potted plants to brighten it up. This is still low maintenance.
Hardscaping is also important for giving your garden shape and structure. For instance, beds for plants, benches for sitting, and even a path to guide people around the garden.
Hardscapes are also the simplest way to create shaded spaces in a garden. For instance, you may wish to install walls, gazebos, or other covers for your yard in order to make sure you have a cool and shaded spot to sit in.
If you are looking to create somewhere comfortable and level to sit on chairs, too, the grass isn’t necessarily the best option, so hardscape patios and sitting areas remain incredibly popular. Functional reasons can also include allowing water to drain off into certain areas, and giving more control of things like where weed can grow.
Without hardscaping, you run the risk of ending up with a yard looking a lot like a jungle or spending all of your time having to prune and attend to your garden to keep things looking orderly.
Of course, hardscapes can cause some harsh lines. This is why balance is preferred when you’re decorating a backyard and a mix between soft decorations (plants and trees) and hardscape areas is the best option.
What does it include?
What sort of aspects of the landscaping does hardscaping include?
- Hard items that are movable, including things like gravel, rocks, and stones.
- Inanimate objects.
- Things that are designed to stay solid and not change at all within your garden, such as paths or borders.
- Walls, paths, patios, features, driveways, and anything else that is hard and doesn’t move.
- Structures including gazebos, especially those that are designed to permanently sit within your garden.
- Both natural and man-made objects. A large rock or stone can be a part of hardscaping, as can things like water features that have been built in the yard.
- Things like slabs and pavement that have been implemented to try and stop runoff or allow water to soak into the soil rather than flood elsewhere may also be a part of hardscaping.
If you have a driveway, a patio, a seating area, decking, or any space in your garden that is not just dedicated to grass, plants, and trees, you’ll need to include some hardscaping, and unless you are already proficient, it is a good idea to get professionals to carry out any hardscaping work to ensure it is properly installed and effective.