There is a very common old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Which we all take to mean it’s what a person has on the inside that counts not the overall outward appearance.  What makes each of us unique is the combination of flesh, bones, and soul that all combines to make us who we are, Individuals.   This same concept can be translated to your homes landscape, as well. I know it might seem like a stretch, but hear me out on this.  Of course, when we first look at a landscape, we hope to see pretty plants, clean beds, and freshly laid straw, these items are known as the “Softscape”. This outward appearance can be fussy, or as low maintenance as you like.  The important thing in making a good first impression is clean and neat, but all the fluff is what takes a landscape from good to great. Think about your morning routine, does it take a little or a lot of effort to create your unique look.  Do you make a good first impression? Let’s hope so.

Creating a Strong Skeletal System

Now let’s dig a little deeper, below our outward appearance, humans, have a very strong skeletal system that holds everything up.  Without it we would all just be a pile of skin and organs, right?  In the landscape a good skeletal system is needed, as well, we call it “Hardscapes”.  The hardscapes comprise, the driveway, walkways, patios, paths, etc that we create in our landscapes. Some of the elements are required. A garage without a driveway cannot serve its intended purpose, but a lot of hardscape elements serve a functional purpose, if the need calls for it.  Take a patio, for instance, it is a great addition to any back yard; it allows the homeowner to utilize their outdoor space in a clean environment throughout the year.  Without the hardscape, the softscape may suffer from overuse resulting in ruts, compaction and ultimately a big muddy mess.

Comparison of Hardscape Materials

Hardscapes can be made of many types of materials that range in price. A low cost hardscape may be made of concrete. The benefit of concrete is the low installation cost per square foot. However, in the long run, it is prone to cracking and costly repairs may be in the future.  Loose aggregate is also another lower cost hardscape solution.  With proper installation, it can stand up to years of wear and tear with regular upkeep.  A hardscape solution we love is decorative concrete pavers.  Pavers popularity has sky rocketed in recent years because it is both affordable and beautiful. Pavers come in a wide variety of styles and can be laid in different configurations to give them a somewhat unique look, sort of semi-custom.  The last option is the most expensive, but don’t let that discourage you from exploring natural stone. Like I said, natural stone can be expensive, but it also gives your outdoor space a very unique, individual look that is both beautiful and timeless.  Stone is extremely durable and long lasting with few problems if installed correctly.

When planning your landscape, consider the hardscape “bones” before you jump to all the other fluff and stuff. Although retrofitting a hardscape element after the fact is possible, it can be very disruptive to the landscape. Plan ahead for any patios, pathways, fireplaces ahead of time can save a lot of headache and money.

Creating a cohesive, beautiful landscape is a labor of love. Your soul is reflected in the space you create and people can truly feel the warmth that radiates from a well designed landscape.  How well will your landscape read?