5 Tips for Planning Your Dream Hardscape

Justine Harrington
Updated May 4, 2022
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Wondering what makes for amazing landscape hardscaping? The best hardscapes blend in seamlessly with their natural surroundings, creating a connection to the environment. To achieve this, planning your hardscape requires thinking about your outdoor space as a whole, not as disparate parts. 

Aside from beautifying your space and enhancing the environment around you, hardscaping can also increase the value of your home—provided that you do it right. Check out the following tips for how to design the gorgeous, functional hardscape of your dreams.

1. Budget for What You Need vs. What You Want

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It may not be the most fun part of planning your ideal outdoor space, but making a budget for the priority must-haves (like a patio or paver walkway) is crucial in this case. Remember, you can always add the finishing touches later, to save on upfront costs. Even if you decide not to hire a professional hardscaper (more on that in a minute), a little advance planning will save you serious time, money, and heartache. In fact, if you’re not hiring a pro to plan your hardscape, making a budget is all the more important. Develop a general outline of your plans and to-do items, and start researching costs to see what you can and can’t afford.

2. Call in a Hardscaping Pro to Help You Plan

Great hardscaping isn’t just about knowing where to put a deck or a fence. It’s about working with your property’s natural features and existing landscaping to create a cohesive, well-designed environment. This is where a professional hardscaper comes in. If it’s within your budget, it’s worth it to invest in a master landscape plan for your home. 

A good hardscaping expert has a trained eye and a well of expertise. They know which focal points to develop, how to artfully mix natural and human-made elements, and how to follow the natural contours of your space. Hiring a hardscaping pro who knows your style and what you want—and who can help you come up with the ultimate plan—is worth every penny.

3. Work With the Land You’ve Got

It’s all about working with what you’ve got (talk about a good life lesson in general) when you’re planning your hardscaping. Whether you’re planning a fountain, pergola, or stone wall, you should assess your current landscape and the style of your home, above all else. Just because you want a patio doesn’t always mean it’s the best fit for your surroundings. This is another area where a pro landscape designer can help you plan.

4. Choose the Right Materials Based on Your Climate and Design

A front yard garden
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Keep in mind that all your hardscaping materials should work together and complement your house’s specific style (both the interior and exterior). And if you live in an area with extreme weather, you’ll want to pick a material that can stand up to those conditions. It’s also important to find a few materials that complement each other, rather than sticking with one kind of material. Consider colors and textures that mimic natural materials, like stone.

5. Think Natural

Ideally, your hardscape should blend in with the surrounding nature as much as possible, creating a sense of balance and harmony. Here are (just some) examples of how to do this:

  • Incorporate ample vegetation and greenery (not too much concrete or stone). 

  • Let native plants and flowers grow between stepping stones on a walkway.

  • Plant ornamental trees along a walkway.

  • Use natural stone (or the same material as your house) to build up water features.

  • Use features that fit in with the natural scale of the environment. 

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