If you've never heard the word hardscaping before, you certainly aren't alone — many homeowners aren't sure what it means. Quite simply, hardscaping just means any permanent element of your outdoor living space that isn't grass, trees, flowers, shrubs, herbs, or any other type of vegetative matter. Examples of hardscaping include garden walls, stepping stones, water features, and statuary. The term does not apply to dirt or gravel paths or lawn furniture or anything else that isn't in a fixed place. Common materials used in hardscaping include metal, stone, brick, and concrete.
If you've ever seen a yard and garden area that doesn't include hardscaping in its design plan, you've probably noticed that it just seems like something is missing even if you can't quite put your finger on what that might be. You just know that it looks unfinished. Hardscaping is both decorative and functional. For instance, a retaining wall is there for a practical reason, but many people choose to also make them attractive. Hardscaping can also play a major part in putting the finishing touch on a personal outdoor sanctuary — following are three hardscaping elements that do a great job of providing the accents necessary for creating an idyllic outdoor haven.
Winding Stone Pathways
Stone pathways winding through lush landscaping have both aesthetic and functional value — they'll keep your grass from getting trampled while walking to your sanctuary as well as make the walk easier and more pleasant for you.
Few things add more to an ambiance designed for ultimate serenity than the soothing sound of trickling water, so consider adding a fountain to your sanctuary. Today's fountains aren't just about the auditory experience, however — they're available with colored LED lights and other features designed to provide a beautiful visual aspect.
There's something about a garden wall made out of stone that brings a serious note of serenity and peace to the picture — probably because they provide so much privacy and a certain degree of sound protection. If you find the look of bare stone too stark, you can always plant some quick-growing annual vines such as morning glory to clamber up the stone and provide a stunning floral display while waiting for more permanent solutions such as rambling roses or clematis to become established. It's important to keep in mind that because successful hardscape installation requires a flat, stable surface, it is very likely that the area of your yard where you plan to place the hardscaping will need to be graded prior to installation.