What Is Hard Landscaping?

When we think about landscaping, we are often drawn towards the soft aspects, including grass, plants, and flowers. However, another essential part of landscaping called hard landscaping refers to the hard materials used to enhance and define an area.

Hard landscaping is an integral part of landscaping design for a garden, a park or any commercial outdoor space. Both hard and soft landscaping need to work together to create cohesion and a sense of splendour.

You will find a variety of materials used for hard landscaping, including stone, gravel and wood.

Paving, Patios and Pathways

Creating a surface for walking on or a relaxing area to sit in requires robust and durable materials. Fortunately, it does not mean compromising on style, as modern designs incorporate a variety of finishes that can create a striking look.

Slabs come in various styles with different textures and colours that will help create a unique appeal. A good designer can look for ways to include curves or straight lines to reflect the space and complement surrounding buildings.

The resulting surface will be both practical and attractive, providing easy-to-clean and quick-drying elements with adequate drainage built into the design.

Decking

An alternative to stone patios and pathways is to use timber decking. Wood can require more maintenance, but it will add some warmth and texture to a design.

Natural wooden decking is made from either soft or hardwood, and when chosen from a sustainable source, it is an excellent environmental choice. Hardwood decking will last up to 25 years, while softwood decking will need to have a preservative treatment applied regularly.

PVC decking is also available and requires much less maintenance. It will last longer than wood but is not so eco-friendly.

Borders

Many spaces are surrounded by perimeter fencing or have separate areas designated by borders. As well as traditional timber fencing styles, there are endless ideas that can be used to border shrubs or mark out other aspects of the landscaping.

Landscape sleepers are a convenient way to create beds for planting. Bricks can be used when building retaining walls to provide raised beds or edging to plant borders or lawns.Many modern designs incorporate cement or rendering as a smart way of creating contemporary shaped seating, edges or structures.

It is possible to define areas with thoughtful planting but using hard landscaping to demarcate an area provides an all year round solution.

Structures

Hard landscaping can include permanent structures. Pergolas or archways can enrich an area or provide a practical purpose such as socialising or seating.

Structures bring height and interest to what otherwise may be a low-level design. They can draw the eye towards interesting aspects of the environment or disguise a less attractive area.

Adding decorative features is a pleasing way to create an attractive and inviting space. They can provide a focal point in an otherwise ordinary area.

Sculptures can be chosen to create an instant talking point and provide an element of beauty that can be traditional or modern in style. Sculptures can be made from stone, wood or metal.

Pebbles and Gravel

Pebbles and gravel are another way of providing pathways and can also be used instead of a lawn area. Easy to maintain, a pebbled area can give interest to a scheme.

Left loose, they are a cost-effective way of providing hard landscaping and easy to maintain. For a more visually appealing look, they can be set into some mortar, which will help keep them in place in busy areas.

They come in a wide choice of sizes and colours to provide different aesthetics, and they can be used to stand out or blend in depending on the look required. They are helpful in areas where weeds have been a problem, as if they are used with effective weed prevention liner, they will create a low maintenance surface.

Water Features

A water feature can range from a small pond to a magnificent fountain. You have a wide variety of choices ranging from traditional to contemporary.

The sound and look of running water can help create a relaxing atmosphere or bring a different element to your design.

With modern pump systems available to keep water features self-contained in a neat space and solar panels that eliminate the need for an electrical source, it is possible to create a water feature in almost any outdoor space.

A hard landscaping water feature

Drainage

This practical hardscaping element needs to be considered at the outset of a project to comply with any building regulations. Drainage can help to maximise the potential of an area that would otherwise suffer from excess waterlogging.

Drainage solutions can remove surface water from hard landscapes or help to drain lawns. Often drainage systems will be required to allow for better conditions for plants and turf.

There are numerous drainage options available, including drainage channels and soakaway systems which professionals can include at the outset.

Lighting

Lighting is an essential part of any hardscaping project. It is often a requirement to light pathways for safety, but lighting can also create an ambience or highlight features of the hard or soft landscaping.

By considering lighting as part of the hardscaping project, it is possible to include clever, innovative solutions built into the walkways or borders.

Hardscaping Design

As you can see, many aspects of hardscaping need to be considered in any commercial project. Using a professional to design and implement your scheme can ensure that all elements have been considered.

Investment in landscaping is a big decision, particularly if you want to make the most of an area. It is vital to consider many elements such as buildings and drainage that your design can affect.

A professional in hardscaping will bring along their expertise and knowledge to help create a superior design that is exciting and visually interesting as well as practical.

If you are interested in getting an estimate for a commercial project, don’t hesitate to contact us today at Kings Landscapes, where we can help bring your vision to life. We have an experienced design and estimating team ready to work with you.