The term “hardscape” refers any non-organic landscape element that is deliberately planned and constructed. It gets its name from the nature of the materials used to build the many forms that constitute this family of landscaping elements. Most construction materials used in these projects are very hard, and create lasting, durable, and resilient fixed that serve special purposes and add beauty and aesthetic impact to the yard.

Hardscape structures are almost always the first forms built when the time comes to actually implement a residential landscaping design project. This is due to the powerful visual impact they carry which lends itself so well to the establishment of order and system throughout the property. Though non-organic themselves, these structures are crucial to the proper showcasing of vibrant colors of garden design and the lush shades of green of a well-manicured lawn.

The types of hardscape structures that can be added to a yard are truly many and varied. Elements such as paved sidewalks, stepping stone pathways, brick walkways, atriums, courtyards, and custom patios are just a few examples. Many people also like to have more elaborate and sophisticated structures built, such as outdoor fireplaces, custom fountains, sports courts, stairways and steps, and garden pergolas.

There are also structures such as retaining walls and masonry planters that serve a vital practical purpose as well as adding vertical impact to the flat Houston landscape.

Any material that provides a firm, durable surface can be used to create a hardscape. Preferably, this material should be decorative as well as functional. Stone is still the most popular material after thousands of years. It looks natural and can be used to compliment any landscape design theme. Another popular material is concrete. It can be colored and stained to mimic stone, or it can be made to stand out as a unique, decorative statement all its own. Wood and brick are two other materials that have been around for centuries and show no sign of going away in the years to come.

In terms of practicality and aesthetics, the benefits that hardscapes add to landscaping are almost too numerous to count. Some of the more notable of these advantages are discussed as follows:

  • Pathways and walkways create transition by providing clear, recognizable transit areas through which traffic moves from one point of interest to another.
  • Paths can also create zones of interest and make a yard look bigger by altering the perspective and depth of the scene.
  • Architectural walls can create borders around vegetation and activity zones, magnifying the impact of the vegetation in the process.
  • Retaining walls can be used to change the grade of the Houston landscape.
  • Courtyard walls create enclosed spaces for privacy and conversation.
  • Garden pergolas, with their lattice walls, can screen the view with such elements as lattice walls or raftered ceilings partly open to the stars
  • Custom patios establish entertainment and seating areas, such as swimming pool patios, luxury spas, and outdoor fireplaces
  • Stairways and steps leading to and from outdoor buildings create drama and a sense of grand entrance.
  • Arbors create shade and comfort in the hot, Houston summer sun.
  • Masonry constructs add vertical impact that lifts the property above the aesthetic norm.
  • Front yard walkways and custom driveways add curb appeal to the edifice of the home.

In all of these examples, we can see how equally important the aesthetic element of hardscape is to its functional element. Ideally, there should always be a purposed served by a structure in a way that also pleases the eye. Some forms, however, are for all intents and purpose pure decoration and nothing more.

An excellent example of such would be outdoor water features such as custom fountains. Very small architectural walls around patios and morning gardens also do little to create enclosure or true privacy per se, but lend themselves very well to the sense of special place that is set apart visually and distinctively from the rest of the yard.

Concrete Patios

Concrete has been given new life in the last 10-15 years. It has become a viable aesthetic, especially in contemporary and urban designs. Nature gives concrete its appeal—the qualities of durability and convenience. Artistry gives it flair—simplicity, gracefulness and the freedom of a blank canvas. All these attributes come together in a concrete patio. A Concrete Patio: Nature and Art Concrete is a medium that has a natural

Hardscape Design

The term hardscape refers to landscaping structures constructed from inorganic materials that work toward sculpting the overall landscaping design. These structures include many things such as driveways, patios, walls, fencing, and drainage. The design of hardscape must always be treated as a very critical and precise art. Since the human mind naturally gravitates toward a sense of order and system, manmade structures on the landscape must be carefully engineered so

Hardscape Plans

The term hardscape refers to any permanent structure that is constructed on your property. Hardscape plans involve the design and build out outdoor features that serve both functional and decorative purposes. Textures, and sometimes even colors, are commonly woven into the surfaces of these forms in order to compliment architecture and natural flora. Virtually any material, including stones, metals, bricks, and even concrete can be used to build these outdoor

Custom Hardscapes

Custom Hardscapes: Uniquely You In landscaping lingo, hardscapes are the permanent features constructed on your property that serve both a functional and decorative purpose. Custom hardscapes are those structures that are designed specifically for you and your site. A few examples of custom hardscapes include your swimming pool construction and other water features such as a disappearing fountain or koi pond, luxury patios and garden pergolas. A long list of

Landscape Brick Walls

Landscape brick walls are a versatile form of masonry that can significantly improve the curb appeal of a property. Since so many homes in Houston are made from brick, walls made from the same material prove a ready and effective decorative compliment to their architecture. Landscape brick walls establish a feeling of formality and privacy. There is something innately Old World about brick that conjures up images in the mind

Flagstone Landscaping

Flagstone landscaping is one of the finest styles of stone landscaping. Flagstone is a hard, thin stone that is geologically similar to sandstone. Its properties make it very well-suited to hardscape designs that require a hard, durable surface that will not crack or wear. Because each piece features a highly irregular shape, the patterns created in flagstone landscaping create immediately visual interest anywhere they are built in a yard. Additional

Paver Landscaping

Paver landscaping is one of the best ways to create hardscapes that are durable, attractive, and aesthetically applicable to multiple environments. Some pavers are pre-cast masonry pieces made of blocks or concrete. Stone pavers are pre-cut rocks that have been quarried in such a way as to provide a firm, flat surface upon which to walk. They are also cut to interlock together so they can make a solid surface

Landscaping with Stones

Landscaping with stones is an excellent way to add instant curb appeal to your property. The universality of stone make it possible to use as both an accent support element or a primary element in landscape design depending on what is most appropriate to your home and lawn. Additionally, its close association with both nature and early human history makes landscaping with stone very well-suited to harmoniously linking architecture, hardscape,

Custom Fireplaces Compliment and Enhance Outdoor Architecture

Custom fireplaces complement the architecture of your home and extend its aesthetic into the exterior world of your outdoor living space. You do not have to settle for a generic, portable outdoor fireplace if you want ambience, mystique, and superior outdoor aesthetic. Exterior Worlds can build you an outdoor custom fireplace of any shape or size. Free standing fireplaces can be as tall as you like them, because they are

Wooden Driveway Gates

There is no doubt that wooden driveway gates make any Houston home look more attractive. When they are closed, they function as an aesthetic front piece to the home façade. You can still see the house peeking over the top of the gate, but the lower part of it is remains concealed. This creates a feeling of mystery, and mystery is one of the main elements of attraction. When