Hardscapes, don’t have to be hard. (And neither do softscapes!) Traditionally speaking, hardscapes are man-made constructions, such as stone walls and patios, that are built into the landscape. Add in some softscaping, trees, shrubs, flowers, and you’ll have yourself a gorgeous outdoor area that you can be proud of.
What Materials Are Best for Hardscapes?
Wood, concrete, stone, tile, there are numerous options when it comes to hardscaping!
- Wood, or even faux-wood can be used to create dazzling outdoor patios. Though, keep in mind that when using read wood you will need to restore and seal the wood every couple years to keep it looking its best. Faux-wood on the other hand doesn’t have that problem, which can make it better suited for use in colder climates where freezing can cause splintering and warping.
- Concrete is a favourite for walkways and other outdoor high traffic fixtures. In recent years polished concrete has even found a place on patios, and inside homes as well. Unlike wood, concrete doesn’t require much maintenance, which makes it a good choice for people who want to add flare to their outdoor space, without worrying about tremendous upkeep.
- Brick is another staple in classic hardscapes. Traditional fishbone patterns can make for a classy outdoor walkway or patio. However, due to the porous nature of the material, weathering is an issue to keep an eye out for, especially in places that receive large amounts of rain and snow. Unlike concrete, this material will require some looking after.
- Loose stones can be used to create breathtaking outdoor hardscapes. Though loose stone is typically found as a driveway staple, it can also be used in and around gardens or even in them! Additionally, loose stone aggregates can even make for a unique patio flooring.
- Solid stone, on the other hand, is eye catching, and easy to maintain; it can make for an upscale addition to any outdoor living spaces. Stone is sturdy, and resilient, and depending on the type, can last for a long while against weathering. This makes it a viable option, even in trickier climates.
All of the above materials can be mixed and matched based on your particular needs and visions. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a unique outdoor space that everyone can enjoy.
What About Softscapes?
Of course, in addition to the architecture, you’re going to want to spruce up your place with trees, shrubs, and various flowers. Keep in mind, it is important to research which plants are native to your geographic area, to insure they can thrive for seasons to come!
- If shrubs and trees are planted strategically, they are capable of saving up to 25% on energy, by reducing the cost of air conditioning. Deciduous trees on their own, can block out 60 to 90% of solar rays in the warmer months.
- Speaking of strategic planting, the way you plot out flower beds can impact how they grow in the future. Think about and researching how certain plants grow, can determine how they will all fit together when fully in bloom. Also, take into consideration watering needs, and make sure you can access all the plants for watering and pruning.
- Make sure to think about the differences between annuals and perennials, to determine which kinds would be right for you. Annual plants will bloom and die within one season, before needing to be replanted the next; something to consider if you don’t want a large gardening task each spring. Perennials, on the other hand, will regrow every season.
Hardscapes don’t have to be hard. If you have a vision for what you want your home or office to look like, think about contacting a hardscaping company to talk about your options and ideas. There are a number of DIY tutorials you can find if you want to tackle the update yourself, or alternatively, there are plenty of professionals available to lend a hand. If you’ve been wanting to add a little extra oomph to your outdoors, now is the perfect time to get started.