The Elements of Landscape Design – What is Hardscape Design and Hardscaping?

Many homeowners are familiar with landscaping and associate the term with a well groomed lawn and a pickup truck full of men with great tans and dirt under their fingernails…they work for a living!

Landscaping is synonymous with cut grass, weedless flower beds, and pickup trucks parked out front once a week. Interestingly, landscaping and landscape design has taken on a whole new face. With the integration of hardscape design and hardscaping, as well as water feature design and creation, a full-service landscaping firm is about so much more than cut grass and weedless flower beds!

Interestingly, and particularly for the uninitiated, the term “hardscaping” or the phrase “hardscape design” may be as familiar as Swahili or Afrikans to the average property owner, commercial or residential, in the United States.

Hardscape design and hardscaping is a subcategory of landscaping that refers to the usage of inanimate objects in landscape design. As the subcategory implies, hardscape design and hardscaping refers to “the hard stuff,” components such as metal (i.e., iron), brick, stone, concrete, and timber.

Hardscape design is just that, the design process, creating a plan to integrate inanimate objects into a hardscape. Hardscaping includes patio and deck construction, the creation of a stone or brick walkways, stone wall construction, creating a wooden fence or gate, and so much more. The application of hardscape design and hardscaping is limited only by the design team’s imagination.

Significantly, hardscape design and its implementation, hardscaping, is not limited to large-scale undertakings. In fact, any metal, stone, brick, or concrete decoration integrated into your existing landscape is hardscaping.

When planning a big project from concept through design and on to construction, it is crucial to consider both hardscaping and softscaping elements. Creating the proper plan, considering all aspects of an intelligent, well thought-out landscape and hardscape design is crucial to its success.

A question that must be addressed early on is what comes first?

Do we begin with the hardscaping or the softscaping (the landscaping)?

In most cases, it is advisable to begin with the hardscaping elements because they are the easiest to work with. By beginning with the hardscaping, you lessen the risk of injury to the softscaping (the plants), which may be damaged or destroyed by the physical exertion required by most hardscaping projects.

When integrating hardscape design elements into an overall landscape design, many favor curved objects instead of straight lines. By recognizing how hardscape and softscape elements compliment each other, an aesthetically pleasing design is the end result.

Creating curved walls and walkways may soften the landscape, counteracting the harsh, straight lines offered in most housing construction, sidewalks, and driveways. Consider a curvilinear walkway or path of stone to break up an area and create visual interest. Consider a water feature, flower bed, shrub or tree line, balanced with just the right hardscape elements.

Creating a curving path or walkway will also allow you and your visitors to wander through your landscape, taking in and enjoying the experience and the view.

Balancing landscape design and hardscaping, along with water features, into a unifying theme and a complete presentation is the real value of a full-service landscaping firm. Understanding these elements and how to apply them is crucial to your landscape design firm’s success.

Top Home Decorating Ideas That You Can Do Easily

Home decorating is something that you can do to enhance your living space. When you spend time there with your friends, guests and loved ones, your experiences there are magnified. When your home is beautiful, your times there are even greater than before. There are some great tips that you can follow which will make your home have the exact look feel you want.

If you know these tips, your decorating efforts will be 2 to 3 times as effective. If you don’t know these tips, your decor efforts may go unnoticed. So what to do?

Here are the tips you need to know:

1. First think about the walls.

Why the wall? It’s the easiest place to start and makes the biggest impact as it’s a large area of the room. Think about the type of decor or wall art that you like. Do you have a theme that you like, such as natural scenes and landscapes, cityscapes, modern art or other theme. Then select a work of art such as a tapestry, painting, or print that you like. For a large wall, select a large work of art for greatest effect. It feels as if you can walk right into the scene. It’s a beautiful and wonderful effect.

2. Look at the main colors in your room to know how to decorate with this.

Do you have light colors and neutral tones? In this case, you can be more flexible in that either light, dark toned or even intense colored art can suit. Do you have dark tones? In this case, more saturated colors or darker works can work well as they will match. Do you have medium toned colors? In this case choose a work that has a color that is similar or related to the room’s colors. For example, if you have greens and browns in your room, then a piece of art that has greens, browns or even yellows will match. It doesn’t have to be mainly in this color, as long as there is some in the work to relate to the room.

2. Then look at the amount of clear space you have in the room.

This is so overlooked but is a very important part of decorating. Depending on your style and the room, the amount of clear space you want can be a lot or less. Start by looking at items that are showing. Are there a lot of items showing that you feel should be placed inside a closed side cabinet, in another place or in another room? When you put away excess, you will get to a point where there is enough clear space. Enough to make the place inviting for you and guests. This has a major impact, especially if you put away the papers and non decorative items, and have instead a few items that either are for entertaining, leisure related or decorative. These can be simple such as some photos, some favorite magazines, pieces of nature such as shells or acorns, or a favorite decoration.

These are the most important 3 things to consider, and will make your decor effective. Start with these and most of your work is done with decorating. And these steps are simple, easy to do and has an enormous impact. In fact if you just do these 3 steps, you may not need to do much more at all, and the effect of your decorating efforts will have your friends and loved ones make comments.

So go ahead and put these home decorating tips into practice and see and experience the effects.

Tips To Decorate The Pool Landscape

If you have a pool in your backyard, you can consider yourself lucky enough and make the best out of it. With a little hard work and efforts you can make the pool and the patio area the most relaxing and comfortable place in your backyard itself. Decorating these areas with accessories and ideas can be fun. To begin with you could light up the pool with pool lights and give it a complete new look.

Landscaping around the pool area

Decorating and taking a little effort to do up the surroundings of your pool can add life and charm to an otherwise shoddy and dull pool. Materials such as plants or wild flowers can add a dash of color and vibrancy. You can further decorate the blank spaces between the plants or pots by adding decorative pebbles and stones. Adding mulch can also serve as an addition to enhance beauty and sophistication to your pool landscape.

Decorating the outdoors is as important as decorating the interiors of your home, especially if you are someone who loves the outdoors as much as the indoors.

Placing your furniture

Placing your pool furniture and accessories carefully can make a huge difference to the overall look of the pool landscape, even the pillows placed on the pool furniture can add to the warmth and coziness of the pool area. Using accessories like garden statues, potted plants, candles can contribute to the beauty of your pool landscape.

Canopy for your pool

Adding a tent or a canopy over the deck or the patio is a good idea especially if the pool is located in an open space. This canopy or tent will be useful especially during outdoor parties or get-togethers since it will protect you even in case of sudden change in weather.

Gates and Fences

The safety aspect in the installation and use of a pool should never be undermined. Fencing and installation of a gate with a lock is important, more so in the case of in-ground pools. Such fences and lock gates also prove an important safety measure in case there are small children in the family. Fences and gates can add to the overall beauty if the patterns and colors you select coordinate well with the d├ęcor of your home.

Privacy for your pool area

Privacy becomes a very important factor, especially when you have the pool in your backyard. Adding a high fence with close slats will help you create a sense of privacy and comfort while lounging and enjoying the sun and the pool with your family.

Pool Storage

Just like our homes, storage arrangements for your pool area should also be a part of your planning and design process. Pool cleaning involves the use of chemicals and accessories which have to be stored at a convenient place. Floats, toys, loungers, inner tubes which are used by your family can also be stored in these storage units. Though storage units made from plastic are readily available in the market it would be better to use your creativity to design your personalized storage unit.