It is one of the two major subcategories of landscaping, the other is softscape. Common examples of hardscape materials include concrete, brick, stone, wood, and metal.
Pergolas are arbor-like structures attached to the house or other building.
A pergola is an outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.
Create planting areas or convert a slope to flat yard space.
Retaining walls are used to create a transition from one level of the ground to another.
By cutting into a slope and allowing for level ground both above and below the wall, retaining walls increase the amount of flat, usable ground in a yard.
Building a retaining wall is suitable for DIYers as long as the wall is a maximum of 3 feet tall (in most areas).
The easiest way to build a stone retaining wall is to use the dry-stack method that requires no mortar between stones and does not need a concrete footing as mortared walls do.
Dry-stack walls also drain well, allowing water to pass through the wall itself.
This helps reduce hydrostatic pressure imposed by wet soil behind the wall, which is the most common cause of retaining wall failure.
Back-filling the wall with rock promotes drainage through the wall and prevents soil from pushing through the cracks in the wall’s stone.
Concrete patios the classic low-maintenance and versatile patio option.
A concrete slab patio is hard to beat. It’s flat and smooth, so it’s suitable for all sorts of furniture and outdoor activities.
It’s easy to keep clean and doesn’t leave grit on your shoes to be tracked into the house (like gravel patios).
It’s virtually impervious to weeds and does not shift with seasonal changes, unlike paver and stone patios.
Perhaps best of all, if you build the patio by yourself, concrete is much cheaper than brick, stone, and other hard patio surfaces.
Offer a more upscale and natural look than concrete.
Patio bricks can be laid in a variety of different patterns.
The pattern is strictly for looks, and the brick surface will perform the same regardless of the pattern.
For beginners, it makes sense to use a simple pattern that requires little or no cutting of bricks.
Perhaps the best option is the basket weave, which is decorative and eye-catching but also very easy to install.
And if you choose to build a square or rectangular patio and size it to fit the bricks, you shouldn’t have to cut any bricks at all.
Flagstone patios the low-cost option for natural stone outdoor flooring.
Laying flagstone patios in stone dust or sand, as opposed to mortar or concrete, is known as dry-set or sand-set.
Dry construction is much easier for do-it-yourselfers because you can build directly on the ground, while mortared stone requires a concrete slab foundation to prevent cracking in the mortar.
For a lasting installation, a dry-set stone patio does need a foundation, though.
It’s best to start with several inches of compacted gravel, followed by a layer of stone dust.
Stone walk-ways ideal for garden paths.
A stone walkway has rustic charm that is ideal for a cottage garden design but is equally suitable for any natural landscape plan.
(By contrast, a brick path is better suited to formal landscaping.)
Gravel paths have a “softer” alternative to brick, concrete, or solid stone.
A gravel path is a simple and economical way to create a walkway that directs foot traffic across your yard and protect your grass.
Stone landscape steps have heavy stone slabs that make beautiful outdoor steps.
If your landscape includes a noticeable slope that makes it awkward to move from one level to another, one or more flights of garden steps can be the answer.
Any number of building materials can be used to make garden steps, like flagstone, fieldstone, stack stone, and pavers.
Metal fences include coated steel, which is the modern standard, but iron is still an option.
Wooden fences use the most versatile fence (and Hardscaping) material—wood.
Wooden decks are Hardscaping, too, just like patios.
The best wooden deck is one you don’t notice: It creates outdoor living space without distracting you from the outdoors.
Wooden arbors enhance a landscape while providing shade.
An arbor is a vertical structure in a landscape or garden that can provide shelter, privacy, shade, and serve as an accent.
It can blend in with the landscape or separate different garden areas and direct traffic.
Its walls and roof consist of an open framework to support colorful and fragrant vines.