While the pristinely green, lush lawn has been pursued by homeowners for decades, modern landscape design has opened up a new world of possibilities that don’t involve endless mowing, weeding and watering. Contemporary hardscaping options, ranging from simple walkways to fire pits and open-air kitchens, make it possible to get more use out of your outdoor spaces while cutting down on lawn-related chores. Here are four hardscape ideas to help you get creative.
1. Walkways: footpaths and walks are one of the easiest ways to add interest and year-round usability to even the simplest backyard while reducing your overall “lawnprint”. Materials options range from poured concrete (which can be custom brushed, stamped or dyed) to pebbled gravel and individually laid paver stones.
2. Patios: from slate to stone, backyard patios are built to last and much easier to maintain than weeds and lawn. Installing even a simple deck is also an instant hardscaping fix for an otherwise unusable space; forget mud, dandelions and uncertain drainage and enjoy a new, natural outdoor hangout.
3. Walls: while it may seem counterintuitive, retaining walls and simple raised beds can help to define (and redefine) even the smallest spaces, making them seem larger than they really are. In addition to giving design form to outdoor spaces, installing wall structures creates better drainage for plantings.
4. Fire pits: even homebodies often find it hard to resist the draw of a warming fire on a memorable evening, and outdoor enthusiasts surely can’t go long without the lovely glow of the campfire. Easy to install and sure to deliver memories that will last a lifetime, an outdoor fire pit will be a sure-fire hit with friends, family and neighborhood barbecue guests alike.
When it comes to backyard renovations, deciding what’s feasible, affordable and desirable can be daunting. If in doubt, you should be able to find a local contractor with hardscaping expertise that can help you to plan an attractive layout, choose materials and determine the perfect plan for your new outdoor escape that’s well within your budget.