Are you tired and bored of your garden? Do you have an outdoor space that you could make better use of? Have you entered the summer months, longing for a spot in the garden to house a barbeque, entertain friends and relax?
If you can identify with any of these points, take a closer look at hard landscaping. To clarify the term ‘hard landscaping’, think of an array of more long term features that you could include in your garden, including:
(1) Paths, steps and driveways
(2) Decked areas and patios
(3) Foundations to accommodate sheds, garages, conservatories and greenhouses
(4) Fencing, walls
(6) Garden/pond rockery’s
The trick is to plan carefully, before jumping into your garden attire ready for the big dig. Once you’ve decided on what to add to your garden you can then enhance it further with soft landscaping, which covers plants/shrubs. This can really add character to your new feature turning it into the focal point of your garden.
Pen & Paper
Before heading off to your local garden centre, write down what you are aiming to achieve, what it will look like and the materials that you will need. Sketch out a drawing of your garden, visual what can be done to enhance it, or simply make it more useable.
Space – Measure the area that you intend to make-over, so you know exactly what you can fit in.
Positioning – Which area of your garden attracts the most sun? If you are planning a patio, decking or conservatory it needs to be in the right position so that it is a smooth transition from the property.
Materials – When choosing materials, visualise how you expect your garden to look at the end of the project. Materials are affected by weathering, so choose wisely if you want to avoid excessive maintenance.
Cost – So, the plans are drawn up, you have decided on the materials you’d like to use and you are already imagining yourself relaxing in your garden, but before all that, have you considered the cost of the project? Make sure you have enough if your budget to cover materials and labour should you require assistance.
So what is actually available?
There are a number of materials which lend themselves to hard landscaping, to cover a few:
Stone – A hard wearing surface, developing character with age.
Brick – Versatile and readily available, bricks are perfect for straight uniform lines, or can be cut to varying sizes to create a pattern.
Wood – From fences to decking, wood can be treated to look modern and sleek, or left natural for a rustic look and feel. It also provides the option to either paint or stain in whatever colour you choose.
Gravel – Relatively cheap and ideal for covering large areas, quickly and fairly easily. Invest in a decent membrane to minimise the chance of weeds growing through.
Plastic – Not widely used in the context of hard landscaping (yet!), outdoor plastic flooring is the ideal surface if you are intending in creating a child friendly play area.
Concrete – A cheaper alternative to stone and it can be moulded to take on forms such as stone-substitute bricks, flag and brick pavers.
Mosaic – This alternative is not used enough, yet visually it can really enhance any area. Decorative floorings made up from broken tiles, vivid and eye catching, a real feature for any garden.
Be wary of including too many materials and too many features – unless your garden is exceptionally large! Over-crowded gardens can detract from the features themselves. Aim for a beautiful, tranquil space that can be enjoyed by all.