Adding some hardscaping features into your landscape design makes a huge difference in the overall style and impact of the scenery. It’s amazing what a simple fountain or some decorative paving stones can do to transform a simple garden into a magnificent outdoor retreat. Now, before you head out and purchase a big statue or some artsy glasswork to throw into the mix, it’s a good idea to put a little thought into it so your new pieces don’t seem out of place. Here are our tips for selecting the right hardscaping features that will blend seamlessly with your landscape design.
Themes and Color Palettes for Hardscape Design
Any good design should have a cohesive theme or color palette that ties everything together. While most concrete pavers and stones don’t come in particularly bold or saturated colors, you still want to be selective, so everything will blend nicely. First, ask yourself, are you leaning more towards cool tones like icy blues and greys, or do you want something warmer with sandy golden undertones?
Another idea you should mull over is whether or not you want to achieve an overall vibe for your landscape. Do you want a Zen garden with smooth pebbles and an ambient Asian-inspired fountain? Or maybe a more whimsical, fairy tale scene is right up your alley, with colorful glass gazing balls, fanciful bird baths and wind spinners? Deciding on a theme will really help tie your look together. After all, a collection of garden gnomes or fairy statues wouldn’t exactly jive in the middle of a minimalist, ultra-modern Zen garden.
Selecting the Right Paving Stones
Having a palette and theme in mind will definitely help you choose the right color of material for garden paving, but there are still a few other factors, such as your budget and your climate conditions, which should influence your final decision. Here are some of the more common materials for walkway pavers, and the pros and cons of each:
Granite: The best thing about granite paving stones is their durability. They’re tough as nails and will withstand the wear and tear of weather and foot traffic. They come in loads of different colors, so you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. The one downside is, since granite is so hard, it isn’t exactly easy to cut or install, so that makes the price a bit steeper than other stones. If your heart is set on granite features, but you aren’t sure if you want to pave an entire walkway, opt for granite paver edging as an accent feature instead.
Sandstone: This material is reasonably durable and is also a little easier on the budget, so it’s a popular choice for bigger projects that require a lot of paving, like large patios and paths. Most sandstone has a variegated appearance, with little imperfections that give it a textured, natural look.
Gravel or Riverstone: Pebbled walkways add a beachy vibe to your outdoor décor, and there are tons of different color blends and stone sizes to choose from. They tend to be pretty easy on the budget and keeping them clean isn’t a chore— just quickly hose them down every so often.
Slate: There’s an elegant quality about slate, due to the ease in which it can be cut perfectly flat and smooth. While significant temperature drops can cause it to chip or flake, we don’t really have to worry about things getting too cold in Florida, so it’s a pretty popular option down here.
Adding decorative stone or glass installations in your yard adds such a fantastic ambience. Whether you want to go more rustic or artistic, it really elevates the space and makes it inviting. For a little inspiration on hardscaping, here’s a list of some of our favorite decorative glass and stone installations for the garden:
Fountains: Many folks immediately assume that most garden fountains are the classic, tiered fixtures that veer on the edge of gaudy—but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While a grand tiered fountain can look amazing on some more sprawling properties, they can look a little out of place in a standard sized back yard. Luckily, there’s a ton of variety in fountain designs, and some have really cutting-edge, modular designs. Plus, the sound of rushing water is so meditative and peaceful— who wouldn’t want to spend brunch on the patio listening to that?
Bird Baths: Not just pretty to look at, but good for the local wildlife too! Having a birdbath provides water for birds and butterflies, which they certainly appreciate during our hot summers. We recommend choosing a bird bath that pumps water and doesn’t lay stagnant, as still water can become a breeding ground for unwanted insects or fungi if not cleaned out frequently.
Boulders: Simple, but impactful, boulders can be strategically placed accent pieces, for landscape edging, or even seating areas. Integrate boulders and stones into areas with creeping plants and fast-spreading groundcover plants like ivy and phlox, and eventually, you’ll have a gorgeous stone feature that looks like something out of The Secret Garden.
Statues: Artistic sculptures and statement pieces in the yard can make a bold impact. You can opt for smaller, more understated stone pieces to place throughout the garden, or more prominent focal points to draw attention to a specific area of the yard. If you’re the type who likes to really run with a theme and paint a picture, sculptures are really fun to work with.
Gazing Balls: These are a great touch to add to your yard if you’re more of a boho type who loves pieces windchimes, lots of color and lots of ornate textiles. The swirling glass patterns in garden gazing balls catch the light so beautifully, and some even light up at night, illuminating the garden with a soft glow.
Choosing the best hardscaping features to include in your landscape design requires a bit of pre-planning, and a solid idea of the overall vision you want to achieve. Pinpointing a theme, a color palette, and a budget will help make it easier to decide, but once it’s installed, it will really pull together the decor in an impactful way.