Home improvement

Maximizing space- Strategic approach of hardscape landscape design

The homeowners, lack of yard space poses challenges in creating their ideal outdoor living environment. The following is where a strategic hardscape design approach pays dividends. Hardscaping refers to the constructed, non-living features integrated into a landscape such as patios, walkways, walls, and other durable elements. When designed well, hardscaping maximizes usable square footage for relaxation, entertainment, and functionality. 

Defining distinct areas

The most compact landscapes are divided into dedicated zones or “outdoor rooms” through clever hardscape design. Choices, like pave stone inlays, gravel pathways, tile banding, decking materials, and patio shape orientation help, define separate areas for dining, lounging, cooking, the firepit, etc. Flow is optimized so each space feels like its own retreat yet connects to the whole. Level changes, overhead structures, screens, and lighting reinforce the room-like feel.

Vertical hardscaping

When square footage is scarce, utilize vertical space. Options include stacked stone plantings, green walls, water walls, sculptural steel trellises, and wooden pergolas with swings, tiered retaining walls doubling as seating, and fences or screens to delineate space. An arbor or porch overhang maximizes the usable area underneath. Even built-in planters, benches, and tables reclaim ground space. There are infinite vertical possibilities to explore.

Multi-purpose features 

Given the investment into Verdant Landscapes, it pays to make elements work overtime. For example, a built-in bench beside a fireplace provides seating and surface area. They are section off a patio area for outdoor movie nights. Turn retaining walls into cascading planter displays. Use water features as focal points by day, then illuminate them as ambient light features by night. Design driveways and walkways to accommodate yard games when not in use. With creative vision, one hardscape feature serves many functions.

Pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions

Free-standing overhead structures like pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions add weather-proof covered space. Outfit them with curtains, shades, or retractable canopies to control sunlight and access. They effectively expand living areas outwards and upwards. Position a dining pergola to connect the patio and lawn spaces visually. A gazebo in the corner of a small backyard becomes a private hideaway. Enclosable pavilions work for seasonal use in colder climates. Structures add function and versatility.

Concealed storage

An underused strategy is incorporating concealed storage areas into the hardscape design to remove visual clutter from lawns and patios. Options include under-bench cubbies, vintage chests for footstools/coffee tables, built-in cabinets and buffets, and subsurface storage vaults to keep recreational equipment out of sight. For pool settings, potting benches and closets keep supplies at hand but out of view. Discreet storage solutions prevent spaces from feeling cramped.

Strategic planting design

They are landscape plantings and hardscaping work together to maximize perceived space. Simple foundations like trees, hedges and ornamental grasses make small gardens feel larger and “hide the fences” that close in space. Shade trees or vines on overhead structures expand usable hours. Container plantings bring color without consuming permanent beds. Vertical and columnar plant varieties absorb less overall space. An artful plant layout prevents plants from impeding flow. 

Wayfinding hardscaping

On even the most modest plots, wayfinding techniques promote purposeful flow from one zone to the next. Options include gravel paths with stone borders, paver bands, and inlays, continuity in decking materials, cascading water features leading the eye, aligned ornamental grasses, and repeating ornamental motifs on walls or fixtures. Subtle cues make navigation intuitive.

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