Hardscape is a term generally used to define any element of landscaping that is created using materials such as paving stones, bricks, concrete blocks, and other manufactured or natural materials. Typical hardscapes include patios, walkways, driveways, walls, and other hard, manmade features.
Hardscapes today benefit from a dazzling array of manufactured materials that come in a variety of compositions, colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. This makes designing beautiful, creative, and long-lasting hardscapes easier and more cost-effective than ever.
Manufactured blocks known as “pavers” are the foundation and creative element of most hardscapes, including patios, driveways, and walkways. In this article, we’ll offer tips for making the most out of pavers to create an attractive, creative, and functional hardscape.
Basic Design Tips for Using Pavers
Choosing the right paver can be daunting – there are so many features to take into consideration. To make it easier, we’ve broken our tips down into six basic areas:
Space Start with the area you are working with and its use – is it a patio primarily for grilling or to provide pool access? Outdoor rooms are popular these days, combining elements of an indoor living room or kitchen with outdoor ease and comfort. Popular features include fireplaces, grill stations and countertops, dining and conversation areas.
- Functionality If your hardscape has a specific purpose, make sure your pavers match it. Will a pool or water feature make them wet much of the time, affecting the color, traction, or drainage? Select pavers that will enable easy use of whatever furniture or appliances you might use, as well as those that might repel or hide stains.
- Harmony Hardscapes can add drama and beauty to your property, so make sure that it harmonizes with the landscaping and buildings around it. Use plantings to accent or differentiate the hardscape from its surroundings. Decide if you want it to blend in or stand out through use of color and texture.
- Color Pavers come in a wide range of colors from basic to fanciful. Choose colors that complement the surroundings, showcase your personality, and highlight features. Don’t be afraid to blend colors, using light and dark pavers to create visual texture and interest.
- Shape different paver shapes enable you to create interesting patterns, such as circles and fans and use blocks to make narrow areas seem wider, and wide areas seem longer or narrower by running pavers in straight lines across or along the feature or at a diagonal.
- Texture Texture adds more visual interest to your hardscape, emphasizing or minimizing the surface. Get creative with a more natural stone-like finish that works well in garden areas; a smoother, more finished look for classic designs; or a rough, antiqued texture that reflects an older, well-used look.
Regardless of what design you choose for your hardscape or the type of paver you use, today’s pavers offer attractive, cost-effective, flexible alternatives that will add flexibility, enjoyment, and value to your property.