Hardscape: Which One Is Right for You?

Cortada Landscape Design | Hardscape & Landscape Residential Project | Coconut Grove, FL

When it comes to hardscape installation, it’s best to choose a design that fits your sense of style and coordinates with the overall theme of both your home and your current landscape. You should also think about the amount of time you want to spend outdoors and how often you entertain guests. Whether you’re looking for a design that will stand out while complementing your current décor, or you want a conversation piece that is sure to wow your guests, there are several ideas and techniques to choose from. Here are a few you may want to try for your front or backyard.


Casual and Cozy

If your home’s outdoor décor is laidback but has a bit of a polished feel, you can install a small cobblestone sidewalk leading up to the front door and plant colorful flowers along the path. If the soil is too dry or stony for the flowers of your choice, plant large plants in pots secured to the ground. Using potted plants gives the yard a natural look and allows you to use the correct soil for the flowers and shrubs you want. If you live in an area that is particularly dry or sunny, you can plant succulents along the path for a chic desert look, and accent the yard with lawn furniture that is painted in bright colors to offset the neutral shades of the plants.

Vacation Inspiration

You can also find design motivation for your yard from a favorite vacation destination. If you have space for a small pool or fountain, work with a contractor to make this vision come to life, and then plant tropical plants or flowers around the pool or fountain.  A small pool with a waterfall feature is a beautiful addition to the yard and looks great in the middle of a rock garden or amidst your favorite plants. The fountain or pool will also contrast nicely with a lush, green lawn. Alternatively, set up a trellis in the center of your yard and use plants that will grow upward, like lavender or ferns, so that you get the look of an enchanted countryside, even if you live in the city. Think of a place that makes you feel both alive and relaxed so that your yard will provide you with the same feeling each time you arrive home.


If you like to entertain guests outdoors, or you want to spend time outside even in cold weather, you may want to add hardscape additions to your yard such as a large pavilion or fireplace. These additions are sure to grab the attention of your guests right away, and will also make the space more comfortable for everyone. Adding your favorite plants around the area will make the space especially welcoming and also provide texture. You can even use perennial shrubs as a border for the area and finish the ambient look with comfortable seating for an outdoor living room that could become one of your home’s favorite places.

Sunken Garden

Hardscape designs like a sunken garden can motivate you to spend more time outdoors, taking in the fresh air and admiring the flowers and shrubs you’ve planted. Work with a contractor to create what looks like a small cul-de-sac in your backyard, and create short walls with walkways or stairs in between. Leave enough soil in front of each wall so that you can plant your favorite flowers there. Fragrant blooms like lily of the valley and frangipani are great choices for a sunken garden because the pleasant scent will linger in the breeze. If you have space, you can construct a bench in the center of the garden so you can curl up with your favorite book, or complete otherwise mundane tasks, in a beautiful setting.

Working with Architecture

Consider the construction and the architecture of your home when creating hardscape designs. If you have large columns or pillars surrounding your front or back porch, plant climbing vines around these pillars so that the plants will cover the pillars and give the illusion that the plants are growing in the shape of the column. This look, coupled with a walkway made of marble or cobblestone, results in a romantic and aesthetically pleasing setting that you’ll want to spend more time in.

Outlandish Design

You can work with a landscaper or contractor to create fun shapes with your lawn space. For instance, you can use tile throughout parts of your lawn to create a large chess board. The tiles can also serve as space for additional seating, which definitely comes in handy if you have lots of guests at outdoor events. You can even have trees or shrubs trimmed and shaped as your monogram or family name, which personalizes your space and increases curb appeal. Planting a themed garden in the center of your front yard and bordering it with colorful shrubs can also serve as the focal piece of your yard. A theme like flowers in different hues of the same color, or plants that are both attractive and edible, can make your garden appealing, and you can even use the plants that you grow as centerpieces for your indoor or outdoor table settings.

Rock Gardens

A rock garden is a beautiful way to provide a contrast between your lush green lawn and the neutral shades of the rocks. You can form large rocks into fountains and surround the fountain with grass or your favorite plants that grow well in your area. The rocks can be used to create a walkway lined with flowers of your choice. Rocks and bricks can also be used as large flower pots, bringing even more attention to your front or backyard. This idea works even if you have limited space.

Secret Spaces

If you want to create a refuge that can serve as a space for meditation and serenity, a secret garden is a wonderful hardscape design idea. Erect a fence made of wire or wood and plant vines that will grow all over the fence so that it looks like the plants have grown in the shape of the fence. Inside the border, plant your favorite flowers and build a gazebo if there is enough space. A small table and chairs are ideal to use under the gazebo so you’ll have space for reading or studying. You can even set up an outdoor entertainment system in the garden so you can listen to your favorite music or podcasts while you relax.

Minimalist Approach

When you don’t want lots of clutter, but you do want to add one or more statement pieces to your landscape, choose a minimalist design such as a crate garden made from granite or marble. The crate can be as large or as small as you want, and you can even work with contractors to make the garden mobile so that you can move it to different parts of your yard, depending on the weather. You can also use large vases or recycled bottles to create a garden. The hardscape feature for these crate gardens can be a large concrete wall or an elaborate fence, and you can change the plants in the garden according to the season.

Before you start your hardscape project, talk to your landscape professional about whether different types of soil are needed for the plants you want to grow, and make sure that your construction plans won’t interfere with the current condition of your lawn. Happy building!