The Elements of Landscape Design – What is Hardscape Design and Hardscaping?

Many homeowners are familiar with landscaping and associate the term with a well groomed lawn and a pickup truck full of men with great tans and dirt under their fingernails…they work for a living!

Landscaping is synonymous with cut grass, weedless flower beds, and pickup trucks parked out front once a week. Interestingly, landscaping and landscape design has taken on a whole new face. With the integration of hardscape design and hardscaping, as well as water feature design and creation, a full-service landscaping firm is about so much more than cut grass and weedless flower beds!

Interestingly, and particularly for the uninitiated, the term “hardscaping” or the phrase “hardscape design” may be as familiar as Swahili or Afrikans to the average property owner, commercial or residential, in the United States.

Hardscape design and hardscaping is a subcategory of landscaping that refers to the usage of inanimate objects in landscape design. As the subcategory implies, hardscape design and hardscaping refers to “the hard stuff,” components such as metal (i.e., iron), brick, stone, concrete, and timber.

Hardscape design is just that, the design process, creating a plan to integrate inanimate objects into a hardscape. Hardscaping includes patio and deck construction, the creation of a stone or brick walkways, stone wall construction, creating a wooden fence or gate, and so much more. The application of hardscape design and hardscaping is limited only by the design team’s imagination.

Significantly, hardscape design and its implementation, hardscaping, is not limited to large-scale undertakings. In fact, any metal, stone, brick, or concrete decoration integrated into your existing landscape is hardscaping.

When planning a big project from concept through design and on to construction, it is crucial to consider both hardscaping and softscaping elements. Creating the proper plan, considering all aspects of an intelligent, well thought-out landscape and hardscape design is crucial to its success.

A question that must be addressed early on is what comes first?

Do we begin with the hardscaping or the softscaping (the landscaping)?

In most cases, it is advisable to begin with the hardscaping elements because they are the easiest to work with. By beginning with the hardscaping, you lessen the risk of injury to the softscaping (the plants), which may be damaged or destroyed by the physical exertion required by most hardscaping projects.

When integrating hardscape design elements into an overall landscape design, many favor curved objects instead of straight lines. By recognizing how hardscape and softscape elements compliment each other, an aesthetically pleasing design is the end result.

Creating curved walls and walkways may soften the landscape, counteracting the harsh, straight lines offered in most housing construction, sidewalks, and driveways. Consider a curvilinear walkway or path of stone to break up an area and create visual interest. Consider a water feature, flower bed, shrub or tree line, balanced with just the right hardscape elements.

Creating a curving path or walkway will also allow you and your visitors to wander through your landscape, taking in and enjoying the experience and the view.

Balancing landscape design and hardscaping, along with water features, into a unifying theme and a complete presentation is the real value of a full-service landscaping firm. Understanding these elements and how to apply them is crucial to your landscape design firm’s success.

Landscape Design Ideas Guide

When you are looking for landscape design ideas it is wise to keep in mind that good landscaping can significantly improve your home’s appearance by adding style, livability and personality. You will not be able to create a design until you understand why you are landscaping your property. Some research will provide many exciting ideas and produce a landscaping plan that will result in a satisfying project.

There are many different designs that can suit the different features that make everyone’s yard unique. Trees, shrubs, plants, sun plants, and ground cover are a few ideas you will want to consider. You must be realistic about the amount of work and energy you are prepared to expend before you decide on your plan.

Home improvements can be very expensive and you must start out with some definite landscape design ideas or you will wind up spending much more than planned, and waste a lot of extra time before finally finding one you like.

Landscape design is generally considered to be a part of the larger field called landscape architecture. A great way to add character and enhance your property is with an attractive landscape. You need to get started on your project now to make your landscape design a reality. Soon your landscape design ideas will come to life before your very eyes.

Visualizing our finished project is usually difficult for most of us by just looking at a layout, and there are some excellent programs that can make it much easier to design your landscaping. Most of the original software was developed for professional landscapers. They have now been modified for the beginner who want to do-it-themselves, and you can find many do-it-yourself design programs on the internet that are reasonably priced. These programs allow you see a virtual picture of your design and enable the user to make your changes come to life. You can import a photo of your home or building in many of these programs and it will design the landscape around the photo.

Most of the programs will offer advice on using and placing different elements into your design. Your landscape will always change with time and these programs can allow you to visualize what it will look like in the future when the plants and trees have matured. Online design programs that allow you to design your landscape online are very popular, and are less expensive than the software you can purchase.

What is the best type of landscaping design for your yard? Plant selection should be the first part of your design because it is what catches the eye in each of the four seasons. Looking through home improvement and landscaping magazines is always a good way to get fresh ideas.

Properly landscaped yards can increase the value of the property by as much as 15% in some cases. Utilize all your ideas by thinking through your landscape design ideas.