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Beautiful landscapes involve much more than flowers and shrubs (the organic, living features otherwise known as softscapes).  For a truly welcoming and inspiring landscape, you will also want to include pathways, pavers, patios, decks, fences, fire pits, and water features (otherwise known as hardscapes).  Hardscape features add to the visual appeal and usability of your landscape, truly turning it into a complete outdoor living space. 

Hardscapes Improve Structure and Value

Unlike softscape features such as flowers, which typically need to be updated each year, hardscapes are permanent.  This permanency brings value to your landscape because that initial investment of time and money will last for many years to come.  Hardscape features also add visual and physical structure to your landscape.  Hardscapes can create a frame or initial layout for greenery.  In an otherwise flat yard, which may not drain rainwater well and may not support plant growth, hardscaping can add much-needed structure.  For example, consider adding a rock wall to a low elevation area, which can still allow rain water to flow through but will also help to reduce soil erosion from your yard.

Hardscapes Increase Visual Interest

You can use hardscapes in many ways to increase the visual interest of your landscape.  You might consider adding curved paths, patterned pavers, or decorative fencing.  You might also use a constructed element, such as a firepit or a small pond, as a centerpiece feature to draw the eye.  The hardscape features can also be used to guide visitors through the outdoor space to different areas or elements.  Hardscaping will also add to the dimension of your landscape by adding visual height and depth.  For example, consider having a path of pavers on the ground, next to a row of flowers, and then a wrought-iron fence—this presents a more engaging display than the flowers alone.   

Hardscaping Adds More Possibilities

Hardscaping can make your outdoor space much more approachable and usable in a variety of ways.  Consider your personal interests and how you want to use your outdoor space.  Maybe you want a place for relaxation and tranquility. If so, you can use hardscaping to add a calming water feature.  Maybe you enjoy doing yoga or meditating outdoors – if so you can consider adding a platform with a canopy.  If your family enjoys having a space to gather for conversation and connection, add a firepit surrounded by cozy bench seating.  If your family enjoys cooking out and inviting the whole neighborhood to gather, consider adding a patio and grilling area.

When designing your landscape, start by considering hardscape features and then using these to frame out your greenery.  Putting the various components together will surround your home with dynamic beauty, ultimately adding to the curb appeal, and your home value.  When adding hardscaping, it is helpful to consult with a professional landscape designer.  These experts will create outstanding designs that meet your interests and the needs of your outdoor space.