In a landscape design, the hardscape consists of the elements which are inanimate, such as woodwork or masonry. Hardscape and softscape are the two primary categories of landscaping with softscape referring to the live plants and hardscape referring the inanimate elements. The most typical types of hardscape include brick, concrete, wood, stone, and metal. Hardscape helps provide definition and focal points in a landscape design. There is an almost infinite variety of ways to add hardscape into a design, including stone walls, brick walkways or patios, water features, wrought iron fences, gravel paths, statues, pergolas, wooden benches and arbors, and stone steps. Even ceramic pots and garden gnomes are considered hardscape features.
Fountains And Other Water Features
Yes, water is a part of the hardscape, at least where it concerns the fountains or stone rims around a koi pond. If the landscaping is for a small yard, these types of water features will often include some kind of rigid or pre-formed liner. In a larger area, landscape designers can use a more flexible, rubber liner which can be shaped into various designs. Once installed, the water feature is then planted which marries the softscape and hardscape elements together.
The hardscape part of a landscape design is often the most difficult part of the project. These elements are typically attempted when the weather is nicer since installing hardscape often requires digging, moving, and watering. Any hardscape project which requires surface preparation, such as installing a brick walkway or a stone patio should be done in good weather. However, a project which is more vertical, say a stone wall or an arbor may be completed during cold weather, although it may not be much fun.
When beginning a hardscape project, be sure take safety precautions. If you are going to be operating a power saw, be sure and wear safety glasses or if you are lifting heavy stones, you might consider wearing a back brace.
If you want to add some hardscape to your landscape, but are having trouble finding inspiration, try taking a walk. You will find many sources of inspiration and they are all free. Walk around the neighborhood or through a park. Observe the pavers your neighbors used on their walkway and look closely at the stone wall in the park. Is it mortar dry laid stone?
For more trendy inspiration, try walking through the city and looking for hard landscaping ideas. There are examples of patios, walkways, and walls all over. Some are built with stone, others with brick or concrete. Take notes on the features you like and even take pictures. Then take these ideas back to your home and play around with them. Would that brick walkway look great meandering through the flowers or would stepping stones work better? Can you create a spot where visitors can sit and think or meditate by placing a wood bench underneath an arbor? A fountain may be perfect next to the patio so guests can enjoy the quiet murmur of the water.
No matter what design or features you enjoy, you can have fun with hardscaping. Find inspiration in your travels and then bring it home to your garden.