June 2, 2019 | Posted in: EnJay Updates, landscaping

You may have seen the uncommon word “hardscaping” or “hard landscaping” while looking for information about lawn maintenance or design.  Put simply, hardscaping encompasses the permanent, hard fixtures in a lawn design—as opposed to “softscaping”, which is basically the living elements of your landscaping.  Think of the contrast between hardscape and softscape as “concrete and rock” vs. “flowers and trees”.

Hardscaping really includes all permanent elements of the property, including sidewalks, driveways, gazebos, lawn ornaments—even streets and parking lots.  Through this series we’ll focus on three of the most common hardscaping projects that EnJay does:

  • Retaining walls
  • Patios
  • Firepits

 

So why think about hardscaping?  Why can’t I just plant things and be done?

Certainly plants and trees have their own amazing beauty; a landscape design without living elements looks very sparse and bare indeed.  But just as softscapes keep your outdoor spaces from looking dreary and boring, hardscapes keep it from looking cluttered and overgrown.

Hardscaping provides the eye with a natural resting space from all the green and color.  It provides order to the design.  It’s similar to the reason we use negative space in printed design: if you just saw a page full of words with no margins and no paragraph breaks, your eyes mind be overwhelmed.  The eyes need a place to rest to allow the brain to make sense of what it is seeing. A flowerbed without a brick or concrete border would spill out over into the surrounding grass. Soon you wouldn’t be able to tell where one ended and the other began.

Author Keith Davitt notes that a garden can’t be complete without the structure hardscaping provides.  This structure adds contrast to a property.  Ultimately that pays off in a more beautiful outdoor space, greater curb appeal, and ultimately, higher property value.

In addition to aesthetic purposes, hardscaping provides many functional purposes as well.  A step-stone walkway, in addition to adding beauty to the lawn, allows for frequent traffic from one area to the other without damaging the grass.

 Every piece of hard landscaping to be added to a property should be carefully considered for both it’s appeal to the eye and its practicality.

Each element in a good hardscape design will both complement the buildings and provide a more usable outdoor space in some way.

Patios are more than just a place for furniture

If you’ve ever considered doing some outdoor entertaining, you’ve quickly seen the need for a solid spot to rest your table, chairs, and maybe a grill.  But the simple patio can serve as more than just a resting spot.

Brunch for two or dinner for a crowd? Determine the function your patio needs to serve before deciding on size and style.

Patios can reduce the amount of resources spent on lawn maintenance. The more of your lawn the patio takes up, the less mowing or weeding will need to be done.

When you’re considering the size of a new patio, be sure to take into account what it will be used for.  If you need to entertain large groups, you’ll want to have enough space not just for a table and chairs, but also for a buffet or table to hold food.  Think of how much space you use in your kitchen or dining room when entertaining indoors. Then make sure your patio will be able to compensate for all that space while entertaining outside.  And don’t forget the décor!  Ideally, you should have enough space for all the necessities to rest without being cluttered, and a little softscape, such as a planter box or potted plant.  A little extra green can really liven up a patio.

 

 

 

Warm-up your outdoor design with a beautiful, unique firepit

Your outdoor spaces should be as unique as you are, and should reflect your style and personality, much the way your interior spaces do.  Very few hardscaping elements can be as personal, unique, and still functional as a firepit can.  A firepit can sit alone on the lawn with just a few simple lawn chairs around it, or it can be the focal point of an elaborate patio, with stone benches and comfy cushions.  It can be nestled back away into a heavily wooded part of the yard, or front and center as the main attraction.  It can be round, square, rectangular, even curved.  It can utilize all types of fuel: gas, wood, charcoal.  Perhaps even no fuel at all—if you’ve got a firepit you don’t use, why not turn it into a flower planter or flagpole décor?

Firepit materials are varied as well.  You can choose from a wide array of stone, concrete, and brick, in all different colors, patterns, and shapes.  We can construct firepits to look natural and rustic with stones of various sizes and shapes, or very structured and exact with precisely cut pavers or uniformly colored brick.  Whatever style or design you choose for your firepit, EnJay can help turn your design dreams into reality.

Fix lawn slope with retaining walls

Retaining walls provide a few benefits to the outdoor space.  First and foremost, a retaining wall will correct the steep slope of a lawn, separating it into multiple flat surfaces.  This is useful for a few reasons:

  • Help prevent soil erosion
  • Create more useable space for gardening or entertaining
  • Provide boundaries to separate areas of the yard, such as play areas from gardens

Just as with patios and walkways, EnJay strives to make sure that your retaining wall will not only be functional, but beautiful as well.  We use the highest quality materials and our experienced team to make sure that your outdoor landscaping will last as long as possible and look its best for as long as it can.  For instance, retaining walls all need some sort of drainage outlet.  Otherwise, they will start to bow out from the weight of water added to the soil.  Knowing how a good wall is constructed is just one of the ways EnJay provides you with expert, experienced service.

Whatever you need to make the outdoor space of your dreams, EnJay has you covered.

If there are other hardscaping elements you’re looking for that we don’t provide, we have great partners and collaborators we can work with or provide a reference for.  Give us a call today and see how we can help meet your hard landscape needs this summer.

(952)206-5296