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Past Articles Library | Landscape Design: Choices in Hardscape

Most landscape design consists of a concrete hardscape that may include a sidewalk and/or patio.  But as a homeowner, you may not be aware of other types of hardscape that can showcase an individual’s interest or passion.  The only limit one has on their choice of hardscape is their imagination. 

Traditional Hardscape

Traditionally a hardscape is the “hard” surface that one walks on when approaching the home or patio material.  Traditional materials have included concrete and/or wood.  Both of these materials, in the past, were poured or laid so that a solid mass was formed.  In this case, a simple sidewalk, front porch, patio or walkway would be created.  But if you are looking for a way of standing out when it comes to your landscape design but can not afford to rip up your present hardscape, do not despair.

Concrete paint is one way of changing the look of your sidewalk.  On the other hand, if you plan to have a sidewalk or patio poured, consider using a concrete dye in the mix.  This will give the poured concrete a permanent color verses the traditional grayish-white color.

Altering the stain color or using a mixture of woods can also change wooden hardscapes. 

Mixed Hardscape

A mixed hardscape is one that consists of a traditional hardscape intertwined with soft hardscape, such as pea gravel or sand.  An example of this is when homeowners use stepping-stones to create a path.  To secure the stones in place, the stepping-stones are surrounded with mulch, sand or pea grave.

Stepping-stones can be lit, shaped into anything you would like and can be personalized but did you know that the filler around them could also be personalized.

Decorative stones, such as glass mulch or native rock can be used along with recycled rubber mulch, which can be dyed.  If you live near the ocean consider using sand sprinkled with seashells.  But if you want more of a designer touch, consider using found items throughout the soft hardscape.  This can be old doorknobs, glass bottle bottoms, bottle tops, buttons, and even marbles.

Living Hardscape

While the term “living hardscape’ can be misleading, it is another choice in your hardscape design.  If you have a broken sidewalk or patio space, do not bother removing it but instead turn it into a positive.  Those cracks in the sidewalk are perfect for plants such as creeping thyme, golden moss and even rose moss.

Or intertwine stepping-stones among ground coverings such as English ivy and phlox.

Soft Hardscape

A soft hardscape is one that is simply pea gravel, sand or mulch but do not think that this type of hardscape cannot be stylish.  There are several colorful choices of gravel, sand and mulch that exist and these can be complemented with accessories.  These accessories include marbles, glass mulch, seashells and/or unique stones just to name a few.

Homeowners are no longer limited to a concrete or wooden hardscape.  Instead, they can pick one that is as individual as they are.


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