If you’re looking to transform an outdoor space, then the rise of ‘hardscaping’ might be worth paying attention to. This practice involves supplementing a green space with a few choice artificial elements. Pathways, patios and retaining walls can all be matched together to create a look that’s cohesive and functional. The end result can be great to look at, functional, and easy to maintain, too.
Key Elements of Modern Hardscaping
A few materials stand out as worthwhile. These are solid stone, timber and concrete. Paving slabs have long been a favourite choice for garden pathways, and they tend to work nicely alongside gravel. If your garden already has the potential for two layers, then you might use concrete or brickwork to create a smooth retaining wall.
Just be mindful of how these materials will look when they’re no longer brand-new, and how much effort you’re going to have to expend in keeping them clean and beautiful. If you’d prefer timber, then treated timber is a must, as it will be able to resist water damage, rot, and other associated problems.
Blending Natural Elements with Modern Design
At its best, hardscaping should act as a supplement for the green elements in your garden, rather than as a replacement for them. ‘Softscaping’ and hardscaping are not alternatives, but rather contrasting elements that can be juxtaposed to create a pleasing effect. If you have a raised flowerbed, for example, you might install it into a beautiful timber planter.
Think about the combinations of materials and plants that you want to emphasise, and design the rest of your garden such that these combinations are pushed into the foreground.
Minimalism and Clean Lines
For a contemporary look, it’s a good idea to minimise the sweeping curvy bits and keep everything clean and focussed. Hard edges, right-angled joints and simple geometric shapes will all be helpful in realising this aim. In some cases, you might want to push the shapes themselves to the forefront of the design. Hexagons, for example, will famously fit into one another nicely, and therefore make a great match with tiled surfaces.
Smart Technology Integration
For a truly modern outdoor space, you might consider incorporating a host of practical digital features. This might mean using solar-powered LED lights to beautify your pathways, or it might mean working automated irrigation systems and other sensors into the space.
If you’re going to be using your garden to grow things, then keeping track of the soil acidity, moisture and temperature can be incredibly beneficial – and fun, too. If you’re inclined toward DIY, you can achieve this with small devices like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Or, you can spend a little extra for an easy-to-use, ready-to-go solution.