What is Hardscape? Examples, Types of Materials, and Alternatives

What is Hardscape? Examples, Types of Materials, and Alternatives

Be it a contemporary bench, fence, or classic driveways, all the dry yet decorative objects in your garden make up for Hardscape.

And hardscape in no way can be neglected for it is the key element of the landscape design which defines and offers an intensely systematized look in addition to the green space to your garden.

In terms of definition, hardscape in general means all the inanimate objects lying in your garden, these can be bricks, concrete, patios, or even a stone wall.

Landscaping is made up of two primary sub-categories, one of which is hardscape and the other termed as softscape, where softscape is a term for all the living beings in your garden.

Hardscape Examples

With Fire Pit

hardscape with fire pit
Photo from @goprobrickpavers

With Rocks

hardscape with rocks
Photo from @rocksandstonesmasonry.ben

With Pergola

Hardscape with pergola
Photo from @banish_the_beige_
hardscape with fire pit
Photo from @thepocohouse

With River Rock

hardscape with river rock
Photo from @turf_team

With Pavers

hardscape with pavers
Photo from @paysagement_pavpro

With Gravel

hardscape with gravel
Photo from @trimcolawn

Now let’s read more about the materials hardscape incorporates, below:

Types of Hardscape Materials

The hardscape elements you choose for your garden define your garden in the most crucial of ways. From making up an attractive driveway to carving a path through a portion of softscaping, hardscapes really go a long way.

Now, there are a bunch of ways in which hardscape can be utilized in your garden and the materials you can use are as follows:

  • Concrete: Concrete has been a staple part of landscaping for the longest. In fact, you might even find bits and pieces of concrete in your already existing driveways or patios. If a contemporary home-like look is your goal, then concrete might just work the best for you.
  • Pavers: Pavers are made for pavements and are meant to cover pieces that otherwise may make your garden look untidy and untamed. You can use pavers in your garden’s driveways or pathways all the same.
  • Solid Stone: The solid stones, incorporating giant slabs of stones, are currently garnering all the eyes in the market.
  • Wood: Is definitely popular in the market but is not up to the mark. It looks the best to lounge on but it cannot sustain during bad weather and can require a whole load of regular maintenance.
  • Faux-Wood: Faux-wood is better than regular wood in the sense that it is less vulnerable to climate changes and the usual foot traffic. This aesthetically pleasing wooden exterior, though a little pricey, is the best hardscape option if a woody surface is your first choice.
  • Loose-stone: Loose-stone is often misinterpreted as gravel used for patios and driveways but it is irrefutably more than that. Offering versatility to your outdoor design, the loose stone is the best for garden borders or even the patios.
  • Bricks: Similar to wood, though brick is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and looks ah-mazing in your garden, its easy wear and tear is not something everything can keep up with. Slight climate changes can make them look porous.
  • Tiles: Tiles can definitely be pricey but the glamour they can add to your garden is totally worth it. In case of any repairs, make sure to leave that to the professionals and avoid meddling.

It may sound quite unorthodox, but if you have any water features in your garden those, will also count as hardscape. These water features can be in almost any form and shape you can imagine, they can be fountains, ponds, or even indoor pools.

As for fountains, a wide variety ranging from ceramic to clay pot fountains is available and makeup in little money.

For pool-like water features, it often contains a ready-made firm plastic outline. If the water feature is larger than average ones, you may even be able to use rubber liners instead of plastic ones offering more space, better flexibility, and customizable shapes and sizes.

Best Hardscape Materials List

Though all hardscaping substances are made for the best, sometimes, people can be choosy while picking their hardscape materials and other times, the hardscape material available might not be the best pick for your garden. But worry not, I have you sorted.

Below is a list of the feasible hardscape materials that are not only long-lasting and inexpensive but also relatively easy to use and install. Let’s dive in right away.

  • Concrete
  • Brick
  • Composite Decks
  • Tiles
  • Pavers

These are some of the best materials to use as hardscaping for your garden as they are not only powerful, adhesive, long-lasting, and inexpensive but also offer the best aesthetic looks to your garden. You can select any of these and be tension-free for a year or two about your hardscaping needs.

However, it must be noted that no matter which substance is utilized, regular upkeep is necessary for its healthiness.

Hardscape Alternatives

As even a few hardscape elements can change the look of your garden, not many can afford it and hence hardscape keeps being pushed out of their list. But there are a bunch of other alternatives in case you don’t have access to hardscape material.

The best hardscape alternative is your gravel. It is all-natural, inexpensive, doesn’t require much effort in upkeep, and is long-lasting. The alternative second to gravel is wood chips. Not only they are environment friendly, create less mess but can also be used with other materials. And finally, mulch. It is a no-cost, easily available, always ready thing.

So in place of your regular hardscape materials, try using these alternatives this time and make a change.

Wood chips
Wood chips

What is the Difference between Hardscape and Softscape?

When designing a landscape, the two main landscape aspects you need to keep in check are Hardscape and Softscape.

The hard stuff in your garden, bricks, etc., is called the hardscape. Whereas the soft, growing, full of live objects refer to as softscape.

To remember the difference between the two, visualize the image of hard objects like stones, concrete, etc. when thinking about hardscape and images of trees, plants, flowers, and grass, etc. when thinking about softscape.

The perfect garden is the balance of hardscape and softscape. When either of the two materials is used more than required, the garden might look gaudy and that’s not what you want.

Hardscape example. Photo from @alfordsgardens
Softscape example. Photo from @paulhendershotdesign

Keep things minimal yet graceful.

Bottom Line:

And that’s all about hardscape. Make sure you like and share this article. Also, let me know in the comment section below what type of hardscape are you going to use?

I hope this article proved to be helpful to you. Happy Gardening!

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