In architecture and landscape design, hard landscaping material is referred to material that is used for construction by an architect or designer to develop his landscape design. The materials that come under hard landscaping materials are bricks, gravel, stones, glass, concrete and the like. Plants come under soft landscaping materials.
There are some very common hard landscaping materials that one must be familiar with as these elements are important in landscape design.
Pavers are commonly used in landscaping. There are a huge variety of pavers that one can choose from to match different areas of your home. Pavers can be used in the driveway, patio, pool area or walkway. Pavers may also be used as stepping stone or even as edgings. Pavers may be made of brick, concrete, stone, grass and any other material. They come in various shapes, colors, sizes and patterns. It is entirely up to your designer or you to choose the kind that will suit your style and landscape theme.
Another widely used hard material that is used for landscaping is rock that has been crushed and this is also available in different colors and sizes. The most common choice is crushed volcanic rock. Its color is red and this gives the landscape a very rustic appeal. Sandstone, gravel, limestone, quartz are the different types of crushed rock that are available. Crushed rock is considered to be very versatile in nature, requires very low maintenance and is not very expensive. Crushed rock is commonly used for driveways, drainage and paths.
Timber is the most commonly used material for constructing steps, decks, walls, edges, gazebos and pergolas. It is not very expensive, easily available and not very difficult to work with. Instead of using new timber try to use timber that has been recycled or reclaimed. Timber can be re-used so make sure you do not waste it.
The most valuable material for hard landscaping is soil. If you intend to improve the quality of soil in your garden or yard, you must add compost or organic fertilizers. Choose plants that will match the soil that is present in the area.
The varieties of hard landscaping materials that are available are so many that choosing the product that will suit your need can be confusing and overwhelming. Select material that will match the site and the plants that are present in the area and the other materials that have been used for landscaping and the entire theme of your garden. For example materials made of any metal or steel will not match any Asian motivated garden. Materials that will reflect a lot of sunlight are not ideal for those areas that get too much of sun. There are certain pavers that only suit light foot traffic and it is not advisable to use these on driveways. Use material that is durable and will withstand any kind of climate and weather in the area you live in.
Choosing the right and the most apt hard landscaping materials is very important to you and your designer. It is like choosing the fixtures for the floor in the house. The hard material used for landscaping must enhance the surroundings.