Landscapes that have definition and well-designed spaces simply stand out, with a welcoming entrance, easy movement through the property and an orderliness that entices.
Hardscaping refers to permanent elements of the landscape — flat paved areas, walkways, paths, retaining walls, edging, fencing, stairs and so on. Each serves a function that makes outdoor space usable and, especially in high-traffic areas, easy to maintain. These features can also define space within a landscape to highlight planted areas while adding color and texture.
High profile areas such as driveways and patios are often hardscaped, comprised of materials such as brick, composite pavers, flagstone, slate and quarry stone. Homeowners often upgrade these areas because the improvements bring immediate gratification, require less maintenance and can enhance property values.
Managing the flow of stormwater through the landscape can be a challenge and one that hardscaping can solve quite effectively. Water can be channeled into a depression, swale or low spot where it soaks into a buried drainage pipe that carries it out of the area. This technique is often disguised as a dry creek bed, which has become a popular design element complete with river stones and gravel.