Defin­ing hard­scape and how to use it at your home

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - HOME AND GARDEN -

Curb ap­peal is ben­e­fi­cial in var­i­ous ways. Curb ap­peal can make a home more at­trac­tive to prospec­tive buy­ers and give ex­ist­ing home­own­ers a place they want to come home to. In its study of the worth of out­door re­mod­el­ing projects, the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors found stan­dard lawn care and over­all land­scape up­grades were most ap­peal­ing to buy­ers, as well as the most likely to add value to a home.

Al­though plants, grass and other items can im­prove curb ap­peal, home­own­ers should not over­look hard­scap­ing.

Hard­scap­ing is an in­dus­try term that refers to the non-liv­ing fea­tures of a land­scape. These fea­tures can in­clude ev­ery­thing from decks to walk­ways to or­na­men­tal boul­ders. In­tro­duc­ing paths or paver walls to a prop­erty helps de­velop that home’s hard­scape. Hard­scape and soft el­e­ments of­ten work in con­cert to cre­ate in­spir­ing land­scape de­signs.

DIY land­scape de­sign­ers can heed cer­tain tips to make the most of hard­scape fea­tures on their prop­er­ties.

Choose ma­te­ri­als

As with many land­scap­ing projects, home­own­ers must first de­ter­mine what types of ad­di­tions they would like on their prop­er­ties. Com­mon hard­scape fea­tures in­clude pa­tios, decks, walk­ways of pavers or bricks and re­tain­ing walls. Hard­scape el­e­ments can be func­tional or sim­ply dec­o­ra­tive fea­tures that add whimsy to the yard.

Choose a theme

The right style al­lows hard­scap­ing and softscap­ing ma­te­ri­als to work to­gether. For ex­am­ple, home­own­ers may want to give their yards an east­ern feel, com­plete with a koi pond and dec­o­ra­tive bridge or trel­lis. A for­mal English gar­den, how­ever, may in­clude man­i­cured paths with step­ping stones and or­nate top­i­aries. Mix­ing too many styles to­gether can take away from the over­all ap­peal.

The pros sug­gest look­ing at the over­all plan of the de­sign, even if all of the work can’t be com­pleted at once. This way the even­tual fin­ished project will be co­he­sive.

Think about the pur­pose

Hard­scap­ing can look good but also serve key pur­poses. Peb­bles or gravel can mit­i­gate trou­ble ar­eas that don’t grow grass or plant life well. Re­tain­ing walls hold back soil in yards with sharply in­clined hills. Mulch can set perime­ters around trees and shrubs, as well as plant­ing beds. Fenc­ing, an­other form of hard­scap­ing, is es­sen­tial for es­tab­lish­ing prop­erty bound­aries and adding pri­vacy.

Con­sult a pro­fes­sional

While many hard­scap­ing ad­di­tions can be han­dled by novices, large-scale projects, such as pa­tios and deck­ing, can change the grad­ing of the yard. Pro­fes­sion­als can map out how to han­dle drainage is­sues and meet build­ing codes. In ad­di­tion, pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion can en­sure hard­scap­ing fea­tures last for years to come.

Hard­scap­ing should blend with the na­ture around it and take its cues from the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment. This can help softscap­ing and hard­scap­ing work as one. Ar­ti­cle cour­tesy of MetroCreative


Hard­scap­ing refers to the el­e­ments in a land­scape that aren’t liv­ing, such as paths, walls and fences.

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