You really can have a beautiful, versatile yard without tending to dozens of different trees and shrubs, in addition to your lawn and garden areas. A growing trend among landscape enthusiasts is hardscaping.
This term refers to any portion of your landscape that doesn’t include live vegetation. There are several components of hardscaping you are already familiar with, even if the word itself is new to you. These include rock gardens, mulching, walkways, and any other installation you can think of that does not involve planting seeds or laying sod.
But let’s be clear about one thing: hardscaping still requires occasional maintenance, even if it doesn’t include mowing, watering, and all the usual lawn care chores.
These are probably the easiest, and most creative, form of hardscaping. They can literally be built from anything, depending on your resources and your imagination. You can find rocks and boulders sourced from your local quarry or garden shop, or you can gather materials all on your own.
Glass bottles, old broken flower pots, that stack of unused paving stones sitting in the garage… Anything you can come up with could be great fodder for a beautifully funky rock garden with just a bit of creativity. For a more polished look, you can inquire about commercially tumbled rocks, which often come in a full rainbow of colors.
Unless they develop a serious case of mold, algae, or moss, your rock garden should only need an occasional rinse with your garden hose.
This may seem like a boring and often overlooked component of landscaping, but there is really a lot of room to level-up the aesthetics with your walkway. These simple, functional additions to your landscape can utilize several different materials, giving you a lot of room for creative license.
Imagine a path of deep grey bedrocks as the actual stepping stones, outlined by an array of softer grey and white river rocks, with a handsome beige border of chipped limestone. Truly, the sky is the limit when it comes to mix-and-matching attractive walkway materials.
Just like with rock gardens, walkways are fairly easy to maintain. Rinse of any buildup of debris whenever necessary, and just make sure you don’t oversaturate the surrounding topsoil.
There are far more options for mulching than the average homeowner realizes. What this term generally brings to mind is a vision of bark chips scattered around the base of a tree or in a flower bed. While these are both functional and aesthetic, they aren’t the only option.
Bark chips, wood chips, and even rubber mulching chips are broadly available for your gardening needs. With the natural chips, their organic decomposition can enrich your soil, but you need to take care to avoid rotting. Rubber chips offer a lower-maintenance aesthetic that won’t decompose, but will still need an occasional rinse-off.
Hardscaping also includes larger projects such as decking, firepits, and other brickwork projects. If you want a more organic look for your backyard landscape, you should look into rustic materials such as cut stones and bedrock. They can be fashioned into walls, flooring, and benches just like traditional bricks, but with a more natural aesthetic.
Especially with heavy use, these structures will need occasional cleaning. But again, the main idea here is to keep them free or organic debris while taking care not to waterlog your adjacent lawn space.