Hardscaping for Beginners
Hardscaping for Beginners

By Alena Kairys

Jun 28, 2022

Are you looking to spruce up your garden or create more impactful curb appeal? New flowers and shrubs may seem like the obvious answer, but hardscaping is an underrated way to improve the look of your yard.

What is Hardscaping?

Most people are familiar with the softscape aspect of landscaping, which involves using plant life, but hardscaping is the use of non-living material to enhance an outdoor area. Stone elements, wood, and metal are common hardscaping materials, and there’s a surprising amount of variety in how they can be used in your yard. Gravel pathways, boulder accents, retaining walls, and even wood patios are all examples of hardscaping—your garden may have some of these features already! Incorporating hardscaping details into your yard adds definition, contrast, and structure your garden which will go a long way to boosting your home’s curb appeal.

Getting Started

Hardscaping can tie the other elements in your garden together, and it’s possible to DIY some projects. Like any gardening project, hardscaping can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Depending on the complexity of the project and your skill level, some projects are best left to the professionals. For your safety and sanity, it’s better to overestimate the difficulty of a project than to underestimate it. If you’re up to the challenge of doing some hardscaping yourself, make sure you plan out your project before picking up a shovel. It helps to sketch a rough blueprint of your yard and draw where your hardscaping features will go. Use string and some long nails to mark the area, and then measure again to ensure the path or shape matches your vision. If you don’t want the hardscape feature to be easily moved, you can use sand, gravel, or cement to stabilize the pieces.

Simple Hardscaping Ideas

Stepping Stone Pathway

To create bring idyllic charm to your home, you can use stone slabs to create a stepping stone walkway. First, plan out the path and the size and quantity of the stones. When you have the slabs, place them on the ground and check they’re in a good spot. You should be able to place one foot on the next stone with your regular stride. Then, use a shovel to dig around the edges of the stone. A good rule of thumb is to remove the stone’s depth of soil plus one and a half inches. Tamp down the area with a flat piece of wood. Spread an even layer of landscaping sand in the hole. Place the paving stones in the depression and use a rubber mallet to strike the stone from the center outwards. Repeat with the rest of your stones.

Boulder Accents

Use one or several decorative boulders to add visual interest to your garden. Single boulders can be placed along a flower bed or at the end of a path, and multiple rocks of different sizes can be clustered together for a zen-inspired look. You can find landscaping boulders at most hardware stores. Wear heavy-duty gloves when transporting the stones, and always use a safe method to carry them.

You don’t need to be a stone mason to use hardscaping in your backyard! With preparation and the proper tools, hardscaping can help your garden make a lasting impression for your family and all who visit your home.

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