Hardscapes are composed of the non-living elements of your landscape design. These may include walkways, patios, walls, arbors, fences, lighting, and more. When a hardscape is developed to express a natural design aesthetic, it’s fun because the ‘hard’ pieces (gravel, rocks, and boulders) often play off of nature’s ‘softest’ elements: spongy ground covers, textured bark, and water.
Rocks and Boulders
Does the thought of hauling huge rocks into your yard seem a little strange? It’s not unusual for clients to give us a raised eyebrow or two when we assess their design goals and suggest bringing in boulders and rocks.
Truth be told, natural hardscape designs almost always include accent rockery. Think about the views you encounter when out on a hike. Elements are rarely standing alone: it’s a combination of rocks, grasses, trees and water that work together to create nature’s beauty.
In the installation below, a backyard water feature moved from ordinary to enchanting when we mirrored the composition of Mother Nature.
Fir trees cleared during the home’s construction were repurposed to create this stream, fed by a custom pond above. The strategic placement of large boulders and accent rocks brings power and definition to the piece, maximizing its beauty in the landscape.
Slate and Flagstone
Hardscapes have a few workhorse elements, and slate and flagstone are longtime favorites. These materials are available in myriad colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. While a formal look calls for a tight “jigsaw” style perfect fit of pieces, a charming transformation occurs when we stretch out to 2-4 inches of space between each.
Taking cues from English gardens, these pathways and patio have been spaced widely to allow hardy groundcover to grow in around each piece of stone. Irish moss, Corsican mint, and Blue Star creeper all shine when put to use in this way.
If you’re considering a naturalized area for seating or dining, keep in mind that flagstone is more textured and makes for a bumpier surface for your tables and chairs. Larger pieces with wider bases will allow you to sit more comfortably.
Paver-style stones can offer natural texture in conveniently standardized sizing, typically 18×18 or 24×24 inches. Considerations for slope, drainage, and planned use in your landscape will all play a part in determining which material is best for your project.
Get Your Look
After nearly three decades of residential and commercial installations, we’re still energized by the process of finding the “just right” balance of hardscaping and plantings for our clients. Are you ready to trade a monotone view for natural beauty around your home or business?
Call (360) 574-8979 or send us an email to arrange a consultation today.
Further Reading on Hardscapes:
We tend to think or decide that there isn’t much to do in the yard once fall rains and winter cold arrive. Some figure their yard won’t look too hot again until next spring – and that only after a good deal of work.
The good news is, whether you’re a commercial enterprise or a homeowner, several tasks done in the off season make it possible to have a healthy and attractive landscape year round. The steps you take to winterize your landscape will become visible throughout the spring and summer. Which projects apply to you?
Paths & Patios
Anywhere you end up walking through mud when you would prefer not to is an opportunity to solve a problem and beautify your surroundings. One solution is the use of paving stones. They drain well, can be configured to an area of any size or shape and offer endess possibilities in creating attractive, affordable walkways, patios, retaining walls and more.
Most pruning is done in the winter. It’s important to check trees every year for dangerous, damaged or unattractive limbs or odd growth habits. There may be trees you’d like removed, whether for safety or aesthetic reasons. Whether a tree has outgrown its space, is poorly placed, poses a threat or otherwise just bugs you, doing away with it makes a huge difference in your yard’s appearance.
Winter’s a favorable time for hedge trimming and tree and shrub thinning. Your plantings will look all the better for it next season.
Don’t batten down the hatches until you’ve clear the decks of weeds, fallen leaves and other debris. They spread disease, smother the lawn and increase next year’s slugs and weeds! Watch for hidden nooks and crannies where leaves tend to congregate or weeds go unnoticed. Steps, sidewalks, driveways, decks and patios have been subjected to abuse over the past year and if not tended to now may grow slick and slimy come winter. Moss treatment and/or pressure washing may be in order.
If a water feature is large enough, it may be best to keep it running all year, not only for the pump’s sake but for that of the fish. Smaller features should be drained and properly protected for the season.
Irrigation Systems & Drains
It isn’t until the weather gets really wet that we remember that spot in the yard where water always pools or runs in the wrong direction. Let us help you remedy the situation with a free assessment to discover whether you’d benefit from the installation of a drain or culvert. Irrigation systems vary, but most require expressing air through the system to blow out any remaining water.
Need we say more?
Stroll around to make sure all outdoor lighting is firmly secured and in working order. You may see areas where you could use more lighting. For information on low-voltage landscape lighting, see our recent blog!
Annuals typically die when temperatures drop below freezing; the entire plant should be removed. Perennials may die down, but they will be back bigger and better next year (there’s also time to divide and transplant them). Any dead foliage and surrounding debris should be removed. If you mulch, keep it back from the root crown by a few inches. If a hard frost threatens, it may be a good idea to heap some protection over them such as pine branches, straw or cloth for the duration.
Be Wise: Winterize! Frontier Landscaping has a systemized weatherization program adaptable to any property. Our professionals are well versed in the best practices for every aspect of landscape design and installation, maintenance and expert tree service. Contact us today!
A water feature is the ‘icing on the cake’ for many commercial and residential landscapes.
There’s nothing like a water feature to add sound, texture and movement to the landscape and create more natural, unique surroundings. You might say a water feature brings nature to your door. During lunch hour or after a stressful day, the sound of running water can be both soothing and rejuvenating.
Water features can be designed around whatever size or shape of yard you’ve got to work with. A slope could become a cascading waterfall and creek or an awkward flower bed near the front door a welcoming fountain. Koi ponds are a source of delight with their flashy fish darting among the waterlilies. Because of its recirculating nature and materials used, most water features require little maintenance.
At Frontier Landscaping we design, install and maintain a wide variety of impressive water features. We construct large multi-featured waterscapes as well as smaller, simpler set-ups. We can take care of the plantings, in and out of the water, install irrigation and install outdoor LED lights for nighttime drama.
We use only quality materials to install smooth-running water features that add value to your property and become a source of pride and joy for years to come. Call us today for an estimate!