First, a note on terminology: landscaping or “softscaping” means adding natural elements to your property like plants, trees, flowers and shrubs. By contrast, “hardscaping” is bringing manmade materials, such as concrete pavers, brick, gravel, fountains and wooden beams or planks, into the mix.
Although the words have very different meanings, the blend of the two “scapes” can be gorgeous. Think about walking down a gravel path that wends its way through a flower bed, for example, or rough-hewn steps of wood or stone flanked by colorful shrubs and trees. Some of the most beautiful landscapes — like the grounds at an arboretum or public garden — artfully mix natural and manmade elements to create a sense of tranquil harmony. Best of all, you can achieve the same effect at home. Here are some tips to skillfully integrate hardscape features:
Choose a theme: There are so many hardscaping choices that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and to go overboard with them throughout your property. To prevent a hodgepodge effect, pick a theme that relies on specific hardscape options. For instance, a “rustic farm” look would feature weathered wood, rough stone fire pits and metal with an aged patina. By contrast, a formal English-garden designâ€‹ would rely on gravel paths, stone walls and wooden trellises.