When you’re planning your landscaping scheme, a beautifully landscaped yard goes beyond a lush yard, diverse shrubs and blooming flowers. Hardscaping will give your exterior structure, shape and layers and help your yard’s overall function. So if you’re looking to give your home’s exterior an update, consider adding hardscaping to your plan to improve the function and beauty. Read on for everything you need to know about exterior hardscaping.

What is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping encompasses pavers, walkways, borders, patios, rocks, water features and other landscaping elements that go beyond living plants, flowers and shrubbery. Hardscaping elements can create a more harmonious space and are part of your yard’s permanent design. 

Hardscaping can also be used where vegetation doesn’t grow. For example, if you have a patch of land that doesn’t grow grass, you can factor this in your hardscaping design plan by covering this area with a walking path, pavers or rocks.

What are Common Hardscaping Materials?
A few go-to hardscaping materials are common to incorporate in your design scheme. Below are some common materials you can include in your hardscaping plan:

  • Concrete: Concrete can be smooth or textured and used for walkways, retaining walls, outdoor flooring and more.
  • Brick: Brick adds color, dimension and a classic element to your home’s exterior. 
  • Stone: Stone is long-lasting, timeless and adds depth. Stone types may include slate, limestone or flagstone.
  • Pavers: Pavers are typically used for walkways or patios and can be made of concrete, stone or brick.

Benefits of Hardscaping 
Hardscaping creates a more finished-looking space with a professional look. Functionally, it can lessen the yard maintenance your landscaping requires. Below are some of the most common hardscaping benefits:

  • Provides privacy: Hardscaping elements, such as retaining walls can define property lines and provide privacy from the neighbors and nearby traffic.
  • Level uneven land: If areas of your property are uneven or have steep slopes, hardscaping can help level this land. Retaining walls can help prevent erosion, while walkways can allow for more steady footing.
  • Curb appeal: A yard with hardscaping will stand out from yards that are solely softscape. It’s an investment that will pay off in terms of curb appeal and adding to the overall property value.
  • Reduce the amount of maintenance: Incorporating hardscaping elements will reduce the amount of time required to mow the lawn and tend to the overall yard maintenance. 

Hardscaping Ideas
If you’re considering hardscaping your yard, below are some common ways to incorporate this landscaping element into your landscaping design plan.

  • Fire or water feature : Whether it’s an outdoor fireplace, a built-in firepit or a waterfall, an outdoor fire or water feature can be enjoyed year-round, can add visual interest and can even serve as a privacy element.
  • Walkway: Paved walkways help you, your family and guests navigate the yard more comfortably. They create defined spaces, can cover up spaces where vegetation doesn’t grow and level uneven land.
  • Retaining wall: Retaining walls can help level uneven areas, create flat surface areas on sloping spots and serve as a privacy element.
  • Patios: Patios create a defined outdoor living space and can extend the use of your backyard.

Consider adding hardscaping as part of your overall landscaping plan for a fully completed exterior.