Along with all the elements that combine for a beautiful backyard haven, like pools and pergolas, fire pits and waterfalls, are the components that frame them with functionality. Softscaping and hardscaping are the yin and yang of your al fresco retreat.
Softscaping refers to your trees, shrubs, flowerbeds, gardens, and grass. Hardscaping covers all the elements that typically use heavy materials like stone, rock, and flagstone.
Ten Benefits of Hardscaping
- Hardscaping elements contribute rich dimension to your unique aesthetic.
- Define walkways. Guide guests through your space by giving them the lay of the land as far as where to walk and even where to park. On the flip side, fencing identifies boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed which is essential for children and pets.
- Low maintenance. Once installed, that flagstone will endure for years and years as a beautiful accent piece.
- Conserve water. By reducing the amount of natural grass or other living landscape features, you’ll need to use less water to keep everything flourishing.
- Create privacy. High fences or stone walls can distinguish your little slice of heaven.
- Expand space. As soon as that patio gets installed, it will offer multiple uses giving you just that much square footage to entertain, create, or relax.
- Elevate your outdoor living. To further enhance that patio, an outdoor kitchen will really bring the inside out by giving you a new hearth to welcome guests. Or to enjoy every day as a family.
- Increase property value. A well thought out design will certainly boost curb appeal, but it will also raise your home’s perceived worth.
- Add shade. Offset your yard’s natural light with structures like gazebos and pergolas to introduce coverage from the sun or to give a nice place to wait out a rain shower!
- Reduce erosion. Everything from retaining walls to artificial grass can provide some erosion control and/or enhance drainage.
Unless you have a very expensive hobby (like sailing around the world on your yacht), your home is where a good chunk of your hard-earned money goes — whether you’re maintaining it and/or improving it.
If you are looking to achieve some of the benefits of hardscaping, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a herculean task. Some seemingly innocuous materials can have a big impact.
- You can get your flowers up on their feet with a raised garden bed. According to the pros at The Spruce, “Raised bed gardening involves growing plants in soil that is higher than the ground. Most commonly, you can do this with some type of enclosure or frame made of wood, stone, bales of hay, or even repurposed material like old dressers.” Build planters out of leftover brick or repurpose almost anything into a container to house your herbs and perennials. Look at these wonderful ideas!
- Wood chips are an organic option that can be used throughout your yard to curb weeds and have a visual impact.
- Gravel is a great go-to as it’s inexpensive and will help to improve drainage. It can grace anything from pathways to parking.
- Rubber mulch is more expensive than other mulches, but it certainly lasts longer. When placed in flower beds and around trees, you will not only retard weed growth but protect the surrounding soil from drying out too quickly. You’ll reduce water usage while giving all your landscaping a foundation that will also provide contrast with color and texture.
- If you want to bring in some big guns, you can’t go wrong with flagstone or brick. There are many variations of flagstone, and bricks are a classic! These are both versatile enough to use for patios and even pool decks. You can also create magnificent looking pathways with either of these hardscaping solutions.
- The same can, of course, be said for tile. You already know it’s a great flooring solution for indoor spaces. You also already know there are millions of patterns and shapes from which to choose. The caveats here are to make certain the tile you select is rated for outdoor use for safety. You may want to go with a darker grout for even lower maintenance. Some designs call for natural grass to fill in the spaces between the tiles for a fresh look.
- If it’s good enough for some Major League Baseball parks, then artificial turf may be an appealing option for your yard. Once you’re beyond the initial cost of installation, you’re looking at a pretty pristine surface that needn’t be cut nor watered, yielding some serious time and cost savings.
- For yards that have slopes or uneven terrains, you may consider inserting a stone stairway. Many landscaping companies have the tools to carve that space out of the earth to prep it for a nice DIY project.
One of the interesting phenomenons of home ownership is the more you do, the more you want to do. For example, once you paint the bedroom, you might start looking at the hallway as your next project.
Outdoors, once you start defining spaces with hardscaping essentials like flagstone and mulch, you may be ready to step up your game.
- A patio will be one of the first and best things you can give your yard. These are the ultimate expansions of your indoor space. Patios will make all the difference in ways you can utilize your great outdoors. Consider populating it with a selection of loungers or creating a yoga space covered by a sun shade, adding a grill and a dining table, surrounding it with railings for a fun play area, or of course, installing that flatscreen you’ve always wanted to host Monday Night Football parties.
- Another way to go is a deck off the family room. And these too can provide all of the above benefits for making some wonderful memories. While patios are typically fashioned from concrete, decks are made from wood. Unless you have no problem with the regular staining, painting, or sealing associated with natural wood, you may want to consider the more expensive, but no maintenance solution of composite decking.
- In keeping with the more-is-better theme, perhaps you’re ready to move into the fire pit, fireplace, gazebo, outdoor kitchen. Making these moves will solidify your outdoor space as completely viable to support the joys of everyday living. These structures can be as understated or as elaborate as you wish.
Enjoy this wonderful hardscape gallery from Gardenista for a great catalog of options for all of the above and more.
Along with your backyard pool and some hardscaping touches, you will have established your own private, invitation-only sanctuary! Spending more time outdoors is good for the soul and offers a simpler way of life. And simple is good.
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves everything that enhances the outdoor experience. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.