There could be more your garden than just plants. Landscaping has a kissing-cousin called Hard-scaping.
Hard-scape is simply the use of non-plant material to create your garden.
This can include walkways, structural components, stone accents, decorative containers, fountains, waterfalls, statuary and any other component you bring into your landscape that doesn’t have to be fed and fertilized. No matter what the size of a garden, a few pieces of hard-scape can add interest and contrast. Often making your plants even more attractive. A simple way for a small garden to add hard-scape is to add a decorative pot filled with flowers or an oversize boulder to contrast with landscape plants. In a larger area you might want to incorporate a walk. This could be a natural-looking path of mulch or a structured path of stone, gravel, or pavers.
Creating little nooks within your garden with the use of the bench or small water feature can take an average landscape and make it more personable and more enticing. The bench could set the tone for a traditional garden or a more contemporary look using a modern bench of bold color.
Even adding features such as a bistro set, a small swing, or fire pit are considered hard-scape. Not only do these items add interest your garden they also serve a purpose.
Maintenance on these materials is sometimes it’s simply cleaning them off from debris. Sometimes you don’t want to even do that much. To me, there’s nothing more appealing than an old rock that has moss growing in and out of its crevices. You don’t want mold growth because it can be slippery and dangerous. But moss or lichen can add a touch of age to your garden.
The addition of statuary or artwork is a personal decision. Statues range from all walks of life from cute little woodland creatures to an Oriental Buda. Spinners, which are metal artworks that move with the wind, adds not only beauty but the sense of movement.
Hard skating can be an expensive investment and is often a permanent investment. After all, who wants to dig up 5 yards of gravel after making a gravel pathway. So the decision needs to be designed properly for both the beauty it will provide but also the function it needs to achieve.
If you’re adding a walkway, walk it. Find out where the most natural steps are so you’re not leading your guest to sharp turns against a wall. When you lay down the paver first steppingstone put it down and walk it so you’re not doing double steps to go from one paver to the next. You want it to be a smooth walking experience. Stone walls and retaining walls need to be properly installed to meet county regulations. If you have the expertise, great. If not, I would highly recommend hiring an expert. These walls not only need to look pretty but they’re there to function and hold back soil or sand from your garden.
Hard-scaping doesn’t always need to be a huge investment either. Sometimes you can walk around and find a beautiful piece of driftwood that can be incorporated into your garden. This looks nice if you have a bromeliad garden. A small birdbath added in the right area will catch the glint of the sun and attract birds.
Adding hard-scape material to your garden not only adds interest, but it also gives you the opportunity to add your own personal touch.