2 what is hardscaping and softscapingIt is a great feeling when your neighbor’s envy your house and you are proud of it!

No, it is not a wicked thought; it is only human to want your assets to be appreciated by all and sundry, especially a house.

Landscaping is a key factor in beautifying your home. It not only improves the aesthetic appeal of the house but also the sale value of a house too increases tremendously.

A beautiful house also has several health benefits.

After a tired day at work, the sight of your well designed, good looking house complemented by great landscaping is so welcoming. In fact, it has been studied that houses which look good play a vital role in the wellbeing of the indwellers. John Keats’ poem, “a thing of beauty is joy forever,” seems very apt at this juncture.

A house should have a great curb appeal, an aesthetically landscaped front yard which highlights the positives side of the yard while overshadowing the less elegant features of the yard. A combination of features like a well laid driveway, an interesting walkway a retaining wall etc., adds to the charm of a house.

Why should you landscape your house?

Landscaping has several benefits, the foremost being that it often highlights the positive sides of your property while covering up the less appealing facets.

Your property has to withstand the vagaries of nature and you must be prepared to handle it. Landscaping plays a crucial role in not only protecting the property but also in providing safety and security to the inmates of the house.

A well designed landscape will ensure that excess water during the rains gets drained away and not stagnant in the basement or backyard. Well laid out paths and driveways ensure that it is easy to navigate to the house without having to stomp through puddles of muddy water.

A good landscape will ensure there is sufficient shade in the backyard; there is place for flowering plants and open areas for collection of snow in winter.

What is hardscaping and softscaping?

An ideal landscape is a correct combination of animate and inanimate things like plants, shrubs trees alongside paved walkways, textured walls and stone fountains.  Thus, the basic landscaping can be further classified into Softscaping and Hardscaping.

Hardscaping and Softscaping are the totally contradictory in nature, but without either of them a landscape remains incomplete and unappealing.A well-designed landscape is a right blend of hardscaping and softscaping.

Softscaping

As the word suggests, softscaping involves all soft, living and growing elements like flowers, plants, trees, shrubs and groundcovers. These elements will change with climate and other external conditions thereby adding newness to a landscape.

Hardscaping

Landscaping which involves the use of hard or inanimate material is called hardscaping. These materials are solid pieces which remain unchanged even with passage of time. They can be natural stone or manmade features like gazebos, decks etc. Let us look at some of the hardscaping materials that are commonly used in landscaping.

2 belgard paversHardscaping materials

  • Brick: These have been around for ages and are frequently used as building materials in various parts of the world. But textured brick walls can be used to enhance any landscape. They are so versatile that they can be made to look formal or informal.
  • Composite decking:  Decking instantly upgrades any outdoor space. It is an ecofriendly hardscaping material made from wood fibers and recycled plastics. It is insect repellant, resists mold and rotting and has excellent traction. Since it is not real wood, it doesn’t have any of the problems associated with real wood.
  • Concrete: This is another regular building material which when textured, stained and embedded with pebbles, marbles or sea glass becomes an interesting hardscaping material. It is ideally used for pathways or patios. The textured concrete is also less slippery than a plain one.
  • Loose Material: Pea gravel, rock, small pebbles, rough gravel, recycled rubber mulch and recycled glass and any other tiny hard substances are all considered loose-material hardscaping.They can be used in pathways.
  • Natural stone or flagstone: Another popular choice especially for hardscaping the backyard and outdoor patios. Stone can be cut into geometric shapes for a formal look or can be used naturally with all the ridges and bumps intact to retain the rustic charm.
  • Tiles: If you have admired the Mediterranean and Portuguese architecture for the awesome display of tiles then here is your chance to use the same in your own backyard. Though glazed tiles look good, they are best left for wall decorations because they slip and are not apt for outdoors. A point to note when using tiles is that they are rated according to various climatic conditions; hence you should choose one which is suited for your region. You can also use tiles made of recycled materials.
  • Wood: No hardscaping is complete without using wood. People in factprefer wood for its natural feel and look. You can choose from a wide variety of wood for your decks, right from local to exotic but be prepared to face the maintenance issues that accompany all wooden surfaces.
  • Pavers: Most commonly they are made of concrete, brick or flagstone. They can be placed anywhere and always add character to the landscape. You can in fact indulge in a DIY project too.

Hardscaping Tools

If you are inspired by hardscaping than its time to delve further into the topic and gain more knowledge on the tools required. For hardscaping to add the right amount of flair and value you need to use efficient and effective tools intended for a specific purpose. Here is a list of some of the basic tools needed to bring fruition to your creativity inspiring you into hardscaping backyard.

  1. Turbo Diamond Blade: One of the most used tools to hardscape is this blade. It is adept at cutting through all kinds of material like concrete, tile, stone or brick. The segmented blades allow smooth and continuous cutting.
  2. Straightedge blade: For that perfect smooth finish and well levelled look this straightedge blade is the preferred choice. It is often lightweight and made of high grade Aluminium alloy.
  3. LED-blasting light: For blasting operations that involve sand and water you will need sufficient illumination; the LED blasting light provides a bright and intense beam of light to aid the operation.
  4. Combination hammer: As the name suggests, this hammer can be used for chiseling and drilling too. Most often these kinds of tools come with a feature which adjusts the impact energy depending on the material on which it is been used.
  5. Paver placer: A tool which makes paving a breeze. Gone are the days of hand laying pavers which often ended in injuries and misaligned placement. With a paver placer all you have to do is to place the paver in the precise location without disturbing the adjoining area. It is less time consuming and more accurate.

We have covered a good deal about hardscaping but if you are a pet owner there are a few things that you might want to consider before you hardscape your backyard.

Pros and Cons of Backyard Hardscaping for Pets

Pets are fun to have and care for, but it does turn frustrating when these friendly creatures in their enthusiasm destroy a well-designed landscape. Hardscaping is a boon for a pet owner who loves his pet and also his property.

Pros:

  • Hardscaping is a simple way of preventing dogs from digging up your yard.
  • Pet urine is disastrous for all the lovely plants and shrubs in yourgarden. Dried up plants and flowering shrubs malign the beauty of a landscape, thankfully hardscaping will minimize this damage.
  • Hardscape is easier to maintain and clean. It is relatively hassle-free.

Cons:

  • Though hardscape materials like concrete are easy to clean, they get stained easily. This problem can be overcome by either using s darker shade or by applying a sealant.
  • You will have to provide outdoor bedding for your pet because hardscape is really hard for the pets to sleep on. 
  • Though hardscaping is easy to maintain and can be pet friendly, by itself it will pull down the charm of landscape if not properly balanced by a softscape.

From the above it is evident that hardscaping is a great way to maintain a clean and tidy yard with minimal maintenance. Get creative and infuse some special element into your yard which will keep your pet happy too.

Here is a table which will guide you in choosing the right material for hardscaping

Hardscaping Features

Type of material

Cost

Patio

·         Stained Concrete

·         Brick

·         Flagstone

·         Pea Gravel

·         Mulch

·         Tile

·         Concrete pavers

·         Precast steppers

 

·         Moderate to expensive

·         Moderate to expensive

·         Moderate to expensive

·         Least expensive

·         Least expensive

·         Expensive

·         Inexpensive

·         inexpensive

Walkway

·         brick

·         slate

·         handmade pavers

·         concrete

·         stone

 

·         low to medium

·         low to medium

·         expensive

·         low

·         most expensive

Driveway

·         asphalt

·         gravel

·         concrete

 

·         medium

·         least

·         high

Retaining Wall

·         concrete blocks

·         natural stones

·         wooden planks

 

·         medium

·         expensive

·         medium to expensive

Pool Deck

·         Concrete

·         Unglazed tiles

·         Pavers

·         Stone

·         brick

 

·         Low

·         Low to medium

·         Low

·         High

·         medium

 

From the above table we can see that pavers seem to find a place in most kinds of hardscape features. Let us briefly go through the different kinds of pavers available.

 

Different types and forms of paver stones

 

Natural Stone Unit Paver:

Natural stone has a timeless elegance that nothing can match. It can have a chiseled, sandblasted, tumbled or antiqued finish. Granite, limestone, marble, travertine are some of the preferred stones.

Pros:

  • It can be set directly in the soil
  • It enhances the value of the house.

Cons:

  • It is expensive
  • It absorbs moisture and can crack.

2 paver stonesBrick Pavers:

This has been the choice for ages for driveways, walkways.  When installed properly they last for several years. The only concern at this point is that moss growth on the bricks.

Pros:

  • They are durable
  • Easy to maintain.

Cons:

  • They are costly
  • They are not versatile

Flagstone Pavers:

Flagstone is one versatile stone that is naturally slip resistant and can be used in the patio, walkway or the driveway. It is available in various colors like red pink orange brown and even white and blue.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance
  • Versatile and unique designs.

Concrete Pavers:

They are the most popular outdoor materials used even today. They can be versatile in design and add a rustic charm to the place.

Pros:

  • Variety of color

Cons:

  • Color can fade
  • Surface looks worn out over time.

Interlocking Pavers:

Interlocking pavers are durable stylish and ecofriendly making them a popular choice among home owners. These pavers allow for water drainage and are normally filled with porous material like sand.

Pros

  • Variety in color and design
  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Durable and crack resistant
  • Eco friendly
  • Can withstand harsh climatic conditions
  • Increase home value

Cons

  • Will have to keep weeds in check which will tend to grow in paver joints.
  • Will need realignment over time.
  • More expensive than traditional pavers.

Permeable Pavers:

Unlike other non-porous materials which allow excess water to drains into storm water drains, these pavers allow water to flow into the ground. This way the ground water is recharged. These permeable pavers filter pollutants and solid wastes on the surface itself before it reaches the ground. With water scarcity seeming a reality, these pavers have gained popularity among homes and businesses alike to save water.

Pros:

  • There is a reduction of water runoff to gutters and storm drains
  • Ground water gets recharged
  • Ecofriendly
  • The anti-slip nature of these tiles is a blessing
  • Sublime and appealing in nature.

Cons:

  • The cost of maintenance is more when compared to traditional pavers.
  • Installation is also expensive and needs professional help.
  • Are not known to withstand harsh climatic conditions. 

Conclusion

With some great hardscaping ideas enhance the landscape of your yard and increase the real estate value of your home. To be in tune with the modern day landscaping trends, you can choose Belgard pavers to add charm to your house. Use Belgard pavers for sturdy walkways, elegant driveways and a unique patio. Belgard is a name known for durability and quality. It is a company known for its innovative style, designs and the sheer variety of hardscaping materials.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

clear formSubmit