If the waning days of summer have you thinking that your yard seems uninteresting and uninviting, you might want to consider adding hardscape elements.
What are hardscapes?
As Andrea Wilson Mueller of Inside Out Design explained to members of The Garden Club of Frankfort last month, hardscapes consist of any non-growing part of the garden or things that must be constructed.
Common hardscape features include patios, paths, decks, walls, fencing, lighting, pergolas, arbors, fountains and fire pits.
Hardscapes can also include structures, art, containers or other focal points. Depending on the type of feature(s), materials, placement and installation, hardscape elements can be simple or involve a full-scale makeover of your outdoor space.
Mueller’s presentation included five guidelines that can help ensure a successful outcome when installing hardscapes:
Be aware of the drainage and make sure any hardscape will drain properly. This includes proper slope for patios and walkways and weep holes and/or proper drainage behind walls.
Use an accurate depth and properly compacted base/footer for pavers and walls. Well-compacted dense grade crushed stone should be used as a base for stones or pavers.
Use high quality products, as well as the correct product for the application. Proper edging, high grade polymeric sand (not play sand), good craftsmanship and finishing will ensure professional-looking results.
Keep materials simple. Do not mix more than three or four materials on large projects or two to three on smaller ones. There is a wide variety of materials available, so explore your options and choose carefully.
Do not devote your entire budget to hardscaping and forget about the landscaping. While hardscaping is important, it should be softened with the right plantings.