Topic: Hardscaping

Date Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

What is hardscape?

What is hardscape?

One thing that makes a yard unique is hardscape — anything other than vegetation. The list of possibilities is limitless, from benches and tables to sculptures with moving pieces and water features. For me, hardscape is vital in the dead of winter. It makes my yard still a thing of beauty, a place to go on those warm winter days. Tons of ideas await you online; however, there are a few important considerations to make before tackling a project. A simple walk around the neighborhood brings the inspiration I need.

1. Pinterest and DIY videos have a tendency to make everything seem simple. Most involve much more hard labor than they show, so make sure you are up to completing the project. I can share from experience that laying a brick walkway is laborious and seems to take forever.

2. Make sure that the hardscape provides you the look you want in all seasons. A waterfall can be beautiful from springtime through fall, but will it provide the appeal you are looking for in the depths of winter?

3. Look for items to recycle as hardscape. An old broken planting pot can be laid on its side and planted within the broken area. It provides a nifty little piece of interest when everything is leafed out yet will also stand out among the whites of winter.

4. Basic standard width of walkways is at least four feet wide. Keep your yard a safe place by ensuring there are no trip hazards within the walkways.

5. Be considerate of your neighbors. Will what I am doing bock their view of the mountain, for instance? If so, can my plans be altered so as not to make quick enemies? Most often there are not solid visual boundaries between yards so be mindful of your neighbor’s point of view.

6. Carve out areas in your yard where hardscape becomes inviting, such as a seating area nestled among the trees.

7. Use those underutilized areas such as your side yard. These areas can easily become a peaceful point of interest, a perfect place to turn in the winter or summer.

8. Giant containers filled with plantings are great hardscape. You can easily use these for lights and silk flowers when nothing is in bloom.

9. Consider height differences as well as angle differences before deciding on hardscaping features. If everything is horizontal without a vertical feature the yard may seem visually stagnant.

I personally love running water, so I have a couple of water features. I love the grouping look, so I have several small seating areas in the yard. Include items that you love to enhance the green and flowering vegetation and add interest in the summer as well as in the depths of winter.

A long-range landscape plan that includes hardscape works well for most homeowners. Then try to accomplish a little bit each year instead of trying to knock out all your ideas in one season. Plans do change but more often than not when you have a plan you don’t end up totally re-doing all you accomplished years before.

If you would like further information on any of the Master Gardener’s articles or have general gardening questions, you may email or like Natrona County Master Gardeners on Facebook.

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