Plants are what most people think of when they consider landscaping, but plants are only part of your landscape design. In fact, in some areas, hardscape makes up the majority of the yard, with plants used as accent pieces. Hardscape is the foundation that holds your landscape together and gives it structure. It is an important consideration for anyone designing and healthy, functional landscape plan.
Designing a hardscape is different than designing planting beds or grassy areas. Hardscape includes sidewalks, patios, walkways, walls, and other non-living features that support and shape your planting areas. This makes it the hardest-working part of your yard, and it must be designed accordingly.
Unlike plants, hardscape is far more expensive and difficult to install and tends to stay in place permanently. Where plants can be moved to accommodate any number of design features or taken out altogether and replaced with relatively little effort, hardscape is here to stay once it is put in. Therefore, hardscape is always designed with permanence in mind and must be supported accordingly.
When a landscape designer thinks about hardscape, he or she will begin with the foundational elements. A wall, for example, must be supported properly from below or it may crumble. Likewise, patio areas must be prepared by digging down and shaping the ground in order to create a level, safe structure. Decks must be supported by proper foundational pillars, and water and fire features must be created to stand firm and never lean or tilt. All of these things take good planning and a great deal of work to execute.
Since hardscape is so much more work than simply creating a planting area or putting in sod for a lawn, why add it at all? The main reason is that hardscape adds so much to your yard that it is difficult to replace it with simple vegetation. Hardscape provides structure to your planting areas, improves the look of your outdoors, and even protects the plants you choose in their given locations in your yard. Hardscape features also provide some of the greatest enjoyment for your family of all the items in your outdoor spaces.
For example, building a patio, while it may take a great deal of work, provides endless benefits to you and your family. It not only provides a flat, level outdoor space in which to sit, cook, eat and entertain, but also provides an extension of your home’s living space into the outdoors. Because patios are generally attached to the home, they are easily accessible and provide functional space for many activities. Further, patios can also be an extension of your growing space. By creating an instant area that is safe for potted plants, you can easily turn your patio into a small organic garden, providing delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs at your kitchen doorstep.
If you are interested in learning more about how hardscape can benefit your home or are ready to design the perfect hardscape features and additions, speak to one of our professional landscape designers at Juniper Landscape Company. We have been working with San Diego families for many years to help them create beautiful outdoor spaces that work for them. Call today to learn how we can help you!