Outdoor living spaces are a growing trend over the last few years. To many homeowners, a large back yard is a major draw. If you’re tired of looking at wide open spaces but are hesitant to add more plants and shrubs, consider adding a hardscape addition to your property. Hardscapes consist of all the non-living portions of your landscape, to include, patios and walls, fire pits and grills, and outdoor kitchens. Hardscape additions are a must have for social gatherings and unwinding in your beautiful backyard. The added bonus of hardscaping is that it can boost curb appeal, resulting in an increased home value on average of 5-10%
When designing your landscape, there are four factors to keep in mind:
To get the most out of your landscaping, always consider the functionality or usability of your space and your intended purpose of the space. If you frequently have friends over for a cookout, then a grill or outdoor kitchen may be an option for you. If your landscape is a place of serenity and peace, then consider a bubbling boulder, water feature or a Zen garden.
Designing your dream landscape can be exciting and overwhelming with so many possibilities, until you’re running full force into the reality of “how much budget can I allocate into this project?” Keep in mind what’s important to you and how you want your landscape to function first and foremost. Consider if this is a project you would like to complete all at once or if you would like to make changes in phases. If you continue in phases, consider the big picture. For example, if you would like to have a gas fireplace at some point but not in the initial phase, let your landscaper know so that they can prepare the foundation with a gas line. Otherwise, you may end up having to remove the ground work later which could result in additional time and money.
A limitation in landscaping is the available space, but you can always work with what you got! If you have an extremely sloped yard, you may think about building a deck to provide a more level space or include a retaining wall to help level off the land. If your landscape is small, a pergola seating area might be an option to make the area feel more socialized – when you can’t move outwards, move upwards.
There are so many reasons for buying a home and landscaping it – first time home, forever home, vacation home, empty nester’s renovation etc. If you’re a first-time home buyer but have plans to purchase another home later on, you may not want to dive into an all-out dream landscape. Perhaps, you have a baby on the way – you might then need to keep in mind a landscape where your child can run around safely. You may want to install non-slip surfaces and avoid projects with sharp edges like a fire table. The circumstances or situations you are in are important to the landscape you design.
Now that you’ve planned out the function, budget, space and circumstance, you can begin the process of looking at what features you may consider for you landscape project.
Below are a few of our favorite hardscape additions:
These structures are perfect to provide shaded areas for relaxing or entertaining. Pergolas are fun to decorate with curtains or lights to make your own little oasis in your backyard.
What’s better than one kitchen? Two kitchens! With the luxury of grills, sinks, fridges and a sound system, outdoor kitchens provide an exciting place for entertainment and socialization. The return on investment of an outdoor kitchen is astounding – home value can increase up to 20% with this gorgeous hardscape addition.
Fire pits, fireplaces and fire tables provide a warm and comforting ambiance to your landscape. They give you a feeling of camping without leaving your backyard. Consider a wood burning option if the smell and warmth is important to you but be mindful of the cleanup required and fire safety precautions. For a very low maintenance but still visually pleasing option, consider a gas fire feature.
The sounds of moving water are soothing which can be a big motivator for people who choose these types of water features. Our designers love noisy water features near patios and windows to help you feel immersed in relaxation. Water fountains as well as other water features can offer a great return on investment but be mindful of the maintenance of these features such as clean up and winterization.
Patios are so versatile – they can fit any style or theme and you can mix with other hardscaping additions for more functionality. There are many options to making patios a year-round opportunity as well, such as including a fire pit, installing heaters or adding a shelter-like structure. You can’t go wrong with a patio.
Retaining & Seating Walls:
As mentioned before, if you have a sloped yard a retaining or seating wall is a great option to level the land and provide a social area. Seating walls pair well with fire pits or fireplaces because the heat bounces off the wall to create a cozy environment. Retaining walls can be created to include a garden planter, this is a stunning idea if you’re looking to break up the stone structures with a little greenery.
Create your own little royal garden with pathways to take you through all the important features of your landscape. Pathways are a simple yet charming way to break up an abundance of grass. There are a variety of options when it comes to selecting the best pathway for your landscape – consider brick walkways for a classic style, or stone steps for an inviting look. We love flagstone whenever possible because it has a natural yet formal look without being too expensive compared to the cost of pavers and concrete.
A great landscape can offer you a great return on investment, whether it’s enjoying it with your family to make memories or selling the home to make a profit. Use the helpful tips above for your next project and when you’re ready to take the plunge into landscape design and construction, contact us to help you get started on your dream landscape.