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With the right hardscape features, a backyard is an extension of a home’s interior spaces. It combines the natural beauty of the outdoors with the utility of a room. To accomplish this, though, requires planning, the right materials, and the right contractors.
Whether you’re daydreaming or ready to dive into the actual work, here’s everything to consider before adding hardscape features to your backyard.
Table of contents
Take the Whole Yard Into Account
The first step in planning backyard hardscaping is to consider your space as a whole. How will large trees or a gentle slope affect your plans? Instead of seeing these features as obstacles that need to be removed, look at them as accents that make your backyard unique.
If your backyard is dotted by trees and shrubs, consider constructing stone, mulch, or gravel paths that tie them together. For yards that slope away from the home, a patio provides lovely scenic views that can be enjoyed year-round.
For many homeowners, adding hardscape features a few at a time is often the most practical and cost-effective option. However, you should still have a comprehensive plan. You want hardscape features to flow together instead of looking like a jumbled mix of disconnected spaces.
Use Materials That Complement Your Home and Vision
If you’re adding hardscape features to a backyard, you want them to be made of materials that complement your home. Mixing materials can be done tastefully, but try to keep it simple. Each material has its own personality:
- Brick paths and walls are great for timeless, classic styles.
- Stamped concrete is durable and useful for almost every style of home.
- Natural wood requires maintenance, but gives your space a warm, rustic feel.
- Stone tiles and paths made of granite complement lush greenery, creating a grand, elegant atmosphere similiar to a Grecian garden.
- Loose stone gravel cultivates a homey, informal appeal perfect for BBQ areas and fire pits.
It’s important to consider what your backyard space will be used for when selecting materials. Will it be a fun family space or a weekend gathering place for friends? Do you want to host elegant parties for colleagues and neighbors? Envision how materials add to the atmosphere you want.
Think About Water Usage
According to the EPA, the average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day, 30% of which is devoted to watering gardens and yards. Improperly planned hardscape features waste even more water and create pools that damage your backyard.
If you’re planning a patio surrounded by stone walls or terraced flowerbeds, water from rain and sprinklers should drain away from your home and have hardscape features. Ideally, sprinkler and irrigation systems direct water to trees, flowerbeds, shrubs, and other greenery. This way, your hardscape isn’t just beautiful — it’s useful and conserves water.
Hardscape Features and When To Use Them
Now that you have a better idea of how to hardscape your backyard with the right materials and water-conserving features, it’s time for the fun part — planning all the elements that’ll make your backyard come to life. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some hardscape elements that can serve as focal points to your plans.
For many homes, the patio is a natural centerpiece for all other hardscaping plans. A stone patio is great for elegant dinners while a wood patio is a great casual spot for cookouts and holiday celebrations.
For large yards with gardens and plenty of greenery, a few small paths can really tie those areas together. Mulch is perfect for low-maintenance paths that turn your backyard into a quaint forest all its own. To make guests feel like they’re visiting a distinguished French villa, stone paths add an air of elegance.
Outdoor kitchens are some of the most dynamic and useful hardscape features. They keep your home smoke-free during parties and serve as a natural outdoor gathering place. They can be as simple as an outdoor range with beautiful marble countertops or as decadent as a full outdoor kitchen complete with a stone pizza oven.
Fire pits are a perfect way to add an additional gathering place to your home without adding another room. A simple metal fire pit can go anywhere in your yard while wood-burning outdoor fireplaces pair perfectly with rustic spaces. For more modernist tastes, consider a gas fireplace made of tempered glass and colorful stones.
Retaining Walls, Edging and Steps
For sloped yards, a retaining wall guards against erosion, flooding, and water damage. They separate spaces and direct water away from important hardscape features. When made with the right materials such as stone, brick, or textured pavestone, they tie design elements across your backyard together.
Combine retaining walls with edging and steps for spaces that flow together seamlessly.
No matter what materials you use for other elements, wood structures add depth and warmth to your overall design. Across your backyard, consider adding:
- Pergolas and arbors for vines and hanging plants to grow from
- Wooden patio covers for shaded all-season enjoyment
- Fences for security, safety and privacy
These structures are perfect for both their functionality and for making outdoor spaces feel more intimate.
Find the Right Hardscape Contractor
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Circle D Construction serves areas all across the state with hardscape installations that are as functional as they are beautiful. Our goal is to create backyards that stand against the elements and delight homeowners for years to come. From drainage solutions to custom hardscape designs, contact us today for an estimate.