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.

Flagstone Paver Driveway

A flagstone paver driveway is made from special masonry blocks that look identical to real flagstone. These pavers are used in many different types of hardscape design. Popular uses include patio design, walkway design, and driveway design. Due to its widespread popularity, it is one of the things that realtors look for when listing homes with superior curb appeal. Flagstone pavers possess many unique characteristics that make them so popular.

Paver Driveway

A paver driveway is one of the most durable and attractive additions you can have added to your landscape master plan. Due to the sheer number of paver types, their use is not limited to one particular type of landscape design. While many are distinctively Old World and early 20th Century in appearance, others can be cast to emulate stone or concrete forms more apropos to modern landscaping and contemporary

Circular Driveway

The term “circular driveway” can be misleading to some. It is not a semi-circle or U-shaped design. Nor is it necessarily what we would call a perfect circle. Technically, it can be anything from a loop, an oval shape, or an ellipse, provided it has no sharp angles, no breaks, and ultimately turns back upon itself in enclosure. The driveway will always have a single entrance, however. The entrance is

Houston driveway landscaping adds attraction factor to your home

An investment Houston driveway landscaping services will pay off in the form of enhanced curb appeal that elevates the attraction factor of your entire property. It doesn’t matter of you plan on selling your home in the immediate future. Having a house that is highly valued will make you feel better about your residence and will also make you feel more comfortable entertaining guests at home. The best place

Homes on Small Streets Require Gravel Parking Areas

Homes on small streets sometimes require gravel parking areas in the front. When guests come over, these graveled areas provide much needed overflow parking which is much safer than any attempt to park on a narrow one lane street. They also provide much needed room for additional vehicles that get added to the family as children grow up and start to drive. Although gravel parking areas are not technically the

A Wood Deck for Your Home

There’s just something about wood. By its very nature, it has a friendliness and hospitality about it, which surely goes back to it being one of our first building materials in the earliest days of human development. In this vein, wood decks naturally bring beauty and warmth to your home. Enjoyed by all your friends and family, a wood deck creates an outdoor room, thus bringing the indoors out

Deck Design

Decks add form, texture and interest to your landscape. The most common deck design attaches the deck to the house, although freestanding decks can be quite dramatic. With the variety of materials available today, deck designs come in all forms and shapes from their inclusion in a small garden design to an unexpected urban landscaping project to a sprawling hillside sun garden. Decks add natural beauty, warmth and desirability to

Deck Building

When considering a deck building project, you are probably thinking about either a wooden deck, most often attached to a house, or the decking, usually made of some kind of masonry, around a luxury swimming pool. Both types of decks add a special dimension to your landscape design, creating usable, safe spaces that are also pleasing to the eye. Your Deck Building Project: Dreaming Your Deck In the early phases

Houston Deck Builders

By definition, a deck is a flat, elevated surface that connects to the house. It serves several functions. It gives homeowners a place to entertain just beyond the threshold of their door. It provides guests with a vantage point from which to survey the Houston landscape, and it gives everyone a comfortable place to stand and sit. Perhaps most importantly, it creates transition into the rest of the landscape by

Wood Patios

Many Houston homeowners prefer to have a wood patio constructed in their yard in order to give their landscape a more natural and traditional look. If you build it adjacent to the home, it provides an excellent transition from indoor living space to outdoor living space. This is one way to create unity between home architecture and the rest of the landscape. A wood patio does not have to look