Hardscapes are a great addition to a garden, offering not just aesthetics but living space. You can add little stone walls to seperate two areas, or build a deck with a fireplace, furniture and everything.
There’s a lot you can do, and hardscapes offer many advantages, like being relatively maintanance free. But if you want them to really look good, you will have to plan ahead.
Create the full design first
I am repeating myself in so many articles, but your really have to plan ahead. If you have a garden and want to add some hardscapes, don’t just add one after the other.
Plan the full design and layout of your garden first, or you will have a mediocre garden at best. You might realize that you can’t build that patio anymore, because you already added a big-ass stone to your garden weeks ago, which is now in the way. Or maybe you really liked that one typ of stone for your deck, but it’s in visual conflict with another element you are just building.
So, ALWAYS plan the full design with all elements you want to have, so you can avoid problems that could come up later.
Hardscape Design Tips
Other than “always plan ahead”, there’s some more tips you should consider:
Don’t go crazy, but don’t be boring.
When you have multiple hardscaping elements in your garden, don’t use a totally different design for each. Unless you want your garden to look chaotic and hard to look at.
Pick two to three materials that complement the design of your garden and house, and work well with each other. They need to be able to create some contrast, but not too much. Like two similar shades of dark wood, and a light brown stone.
If you pick too many materials and design styles, it will look very incoherent. If you just build everything with just one material though, it will look plain and boring.
Create a natural design
If you look at nature, you won’t find rectangular forms often. So why not build your deck in an irregular, round shape instead? Why make retaining walls a straight line?
Create a natural, flowing design by using softer forms, less hard edges. It will look friendlier overall!
This also goes for flower beds and all other elements you use in your garden.
Keep drainage in mind
Unless you are in a region with basically no rain, or have only very small hardscape elements, you will have to consider where the water will go. Especially retaining walls may change the way the water will run off. Keep that in mind when building hardscapes.
Mix in some greens
Some gardens can pull off being purely hard-scaped. But generally, you want a good balance. If you have a bigger area with lots of hardscapes, like a deck, why not just add some pots of flowers or plants? If they blend in well with the look of the garden around, it will feel a lot more connected and natural.
Get professional help
If you are reading this, you are probably not a landscaping professional. No shame in that. And there’s also no shame in getting some professional help for the design or installation for your hardscapes! If you want the best results, you want to get professional help. A local landscaping company can surely offer you lots of advice based on their experience, personally and specifically for your garden. That’s something no website can give you, not even Landscapey.