“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” J.P. Morgan. “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” Nido Qubein. “Each day is a new beginning, the chance to do with it what should be done and not to be seen as simply another day to put in time.” Catherine Pulsifer. “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” T.S. Eliot.
Decorating your landscape for curb appeal and function helps provide outdoor living spaces for personal and social enjoyment. This can be accomplished through the proper use of enrichment items and selective hardscapes.
Many hardscape products are on the market for creating stylish and graceful walkways, geometric or curvilinear lawn and garden pathways, stunning and functional patios and impressive outdoor room spaces which may include benches and seating, firepits and fireplaces, and steps and stones.
Also, investing in hardscapes to enhance and enrich your home's exterior curb appeal increases the economic and aesthetic value of your home and property. In the practice of landscaping and grounds care, hardscapes refer to the paved areas like driveways, sidewalks, patios and courtyards where the actual upper soil profile is no longer the exposed surface to the elements.
A balance should be established between the use of hardscapes and the availability of grass and beds to allow infiltration and minimize the amount of water that must be removed through actual drainage systems. Any imbalance or lack of appropriate capacity can cause major flooding situations after heavy rainfalls or major storms.
Hardscaping projects, like everything else, must be planned carefully to minimize common mistakes and provide an area that can be enjoyed for many seasons and years. First, consider the entire area as a whole in the design process even if the project will be developed in parts or segments. Think of it through the vision of your home structure – you plan the whole home, not one room at a time each year. For example, you want to negate improper patio placement this season which becomes in the way of expansion next season and has to be removed or broken up. Make every effort to design proper placement of your use areas.
Second, a very severe potential problem involves ignoring the drainage. Never ignore drainage. If you do, then the end result can be very ugly and costly. You must know that the area will properly drain and what impact your patio or wall project might have on drainage (surface and sub-surface) and what issues must be addressed before construction. From an environmental consideration, you should design your project so that any run-off can be collected or directed in such a manner that it can be used on site. Otherwise, it will be wasted as it leaves the site through drainage lines.
Also, any material used as a hardscape should blend into the landscape. For example, boulders that are placed on top of the ground as part of a site development do not blend in as effectively as those which are partially buried into that portion of the landscape. Those boulders that are partially buried blend in and appear as a natural component.
Furthermore, give appropriate thought to the natural lines of space in the landscape rather than simply rigid geometric shapes and forms. Include curves and irregular shapes which allow the hardscape components to transition and flow more gracefully into the remainder of the landscape. Rectangular or square patios may not be the best “shape” answer for your situation.
In addition, develop a strong balance and complementation between the use of green vegetation and hard surfaces. Know when to “green it” with grasses and groundcovers, and when to “gray it” with concrete, stepping stones or brick – your choice! Turfgrass is a much safer playing surface for children and also helps to cool down the landscape on sunny days, while paving better serves traffic flow patterns and heavy-use flats or landings.
Whether your focus is a relaxed or more formal hardscape, make sure it has a well-defined style that fits your agenda. Within your style and with professional assistance, select a few materials that complement rather than contrast both the interior and exterior of your home and are visually creative. Do not over-simplify with a single color or single material.
Always purchase a bit more brick or stone than you calculated because the additional amounts can be used to highlight beds, add stepping stones or develop landings. These additional features will complement the dominant hardscape and provide more effective continuity.
In selecting hardscapes, consider price, quality, availability, durability, longevity, weatherability, color, and complementing characteristics. Price does not always determine quality but realize that you normally cannot get something for nothing. Be cost-conscious and do your homework through researching the available materials for the best investment (shop around).
Also, be sure that the site has been properly prepared through appropriate shaping, leveling, firming, sloping, draining, base preparing and constructing, as well as following sound specifications. Follow each step of development through observation and inspection to assure effective quality control and good workmanship. If you lack in familiarity of the project, seek proper resources for appropriate assistance. Don’t wait until the project is finished because a lot of mistakes may have already been covered over at that point.
Increased property values, reduced maintenance costs, and instant curb appeal can result from effective hardscaping. As you plan your hardscapes into the landscape, always keep sustainability and environmentally-friendliness in mind. Always be selective and limit the volume of items to be included in your hardscapes so that clutter does not become an issue.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age...” Titus 2:11-12. “Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2. “Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is.” Amos 5:14.
Eddie Seagle is a Sustainability Verifier, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International) LLC, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and Learning (University System of Georgia) and Short Term Missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Direct inquiries to email@example.com.