In landscape design and architecture, hard landscaping materials refer to construction materials that a designer or architect uses to enhance the landscape design. Some examples of hard landscaping materials include stones, bricks, gravel, concrete, glass, and the like. The matching term soft landscaping materials refers to the plants.
Here are some common hard landscaping materials to get you familiar with these important elements in your landscape design:
Pavers are widely used in landscaping. There is a wide range of pavers to choose from to suit different areas in your home such as a patio, driveway, walkway, pool area atc. Pavers are also used as edging or as stepping stones. Pavers can be made of stone, brick, concrete, grass, and other materials. They come in all sorts of colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes. It is up to you or your landscape designer to choose which kind will fit your landscape theme or style.
Another common hard material for landscaping is crushed rock, which is also available in various sizes and colors. Crushed volcanic rock is a popular choice. Its red color gives a rustic appeal to the landscape. Other kinds of crushed rock include gravel, sandstone, quartz, limestone and others. Crushed rock is versatile, very low-maintenance, and affordable. They are commonly used for paths, driveways and drainage areas.
For constructing decks, steps, edges, walls, pergolas or gazebos, the most widely used material is timber. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to procure and work with. Consider using salvaged or recycled timber instead of new ones. You can re-use this material so make sure not to waste it.
Soils are valuable hard landscaping materials. To improve soil condition in the yard or garden, add organic fertilizing matter or compost. Remember to choose plants that match or thrive on the type of soil that area has.
Because of the broad range of hard landscaping materials, choosing the right product can be overwhelming and confusing. Just remember to select materials that will both go well with the site, the plants, other hard landscaping materials and the overall theme of the garden. For instance, materials made of steel and metal may not go well with an Asian inspired garden. Highly reflective materials are not ideal for areas that get a lot of sunlight. There are also certain pavers that are suitable only for light foot traffic and should not be used on driveways. You should also make sure that the hard landscaping materials you use are durable enough to withstand the type of weather and climate in your area.
Choosing the right hard landscaping materials is very important to a landscape designer. It is just like choosing the floor or fixtures in a house. The landscape designer must ensure that the hard landscaping materials will work together to truly enhance the surroundings.