Blending the right landscaping and hardscaping elements can create attractive designs for gardens, patios, decks and yards. Hardscaping includes walkways, patios, pergolas and other man-made elements that make up an outdoor space. Landscaping is the plant material such as grass, trees, flowers and other natural components that make up the vista of a property.
Create a patio or walkway with cobblestone, flagstone or other manufactured pavers for a less expensive alternative to natural stone. Manufactured pavers have uniform sizes, which take the guesswork out of the design process. Soften the lines of the hardscape with low growing border plants such as Stella Dora day lilies or liriope planted along the perimeters.
Include at least one fountain as a hardscape element in your garden or yard. A tiered concrete fountain can be a focal point in the front of your home. Surround the fountain with decorative stones for an even larger hardscape area or with a flowerbed filled with color to offset the shade of the concrete.
Upgrade an existing concrete walkway with a slate tile hardscape to increase your home's curb appeal. Natural slate tiles are available in several color variations to suit any home exterior. Plant ornamental grasses and flowers along the walkway to pick up the colors in the slate. Planters and container gardens along the front porch filled with complementary colors are a way to create a cohesive look that extends beyond the actual hardscape.
Add a burst of color to your landscape in the spring with weeping cherry trees, Bradford pears, dogwoods, plums and other ornamental trees. The flowers lead to foliage that covers the decorative trees through the summer season. Deciduous trees loose their leaves in the fall, but the color and greenery returns year after year. Plant ornamental trees along a fence line or as a focal point in the yard.
American holly and green giant thuja are types of fast-growing evergreens that work well as a border for your landscape. Plant these dense shrubs or trees in place of a fence to create a living definition for the property line. Hardscape ideas that go well with the evergreen foliage include a wooden picnic table and garden benches. Tall hardscapes such as pergolas or arbors that are set away from the border in another area of the yard complement the height of the tree line.