Hardscaping Mistakes You Should Avoid When Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

Hardscaping Mistakes You Should Avoid When Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor Additions
Additions and Remodels
By Dikran Seferian October 28, 2021

-The common opinion would state that one of the most eye-catching features of a house is its landscape. A backyard with a well-planned hardscape is a highly sought-after concept. Moreover, an ideal hardscape has the potential to introduce a brilliant contrast to the rest of the landscaping. It also boosts curb appeal by accentuating the beauty of the entire property.  Essentially, it blends both the indoor and outdoor into one living space.

However, as hardscaping can be a fairly major project, there are several ways in which it can go wrong. A poorly executed hardscape can be both cost-incurring and outright unpleasant to look at. Giving a fair amount of thought to every element of the project can help you dodge these huge mistakes.

Forego Balance

While it is easy to go overboard with the hardscaping design, you may want to stay in tune with the overall balance of the setting. Maintaining a flow of balance between hard lines and curvature is essential for achieving the right level of contrast. Hardscape materials should not compete with elements of greenery, but rather assimilate into them.

As you are planning the design, try not to force the furniture into where it does not belong. Instead, let there be a harmony between the natural elements and the unnatural. Rustic pieces, for instance, may not feel right in a Mediterranean-style garden. The best balance is achieved when the features that you introduce sit well with the natural landscape.

Perfectly Balanced Backyard With Hardscape and Landscape Would Be a Great Addition to Your Home

Perfectly Balanced Backyard With Hardscape and Landscape Would Be a Great Addition to Your Home

Mischoose Materials

When you’re shopping for hardscaping materials, keep in mind both aesthetic and function. You don’t want something that looks nice but isn’t meant for outdoor use. This applies to everything from framing materials to patio flooring. Why end up wasting precious time repairing damaged material when you could be basking in the beauty of your landscaping? On the other hand, you may want to avoid a material that doesn’t resonate with the overall aesthetic — even though it’s weatherproof.

For hardscape pavers, choose a material that not only withstands harsher climates but also feels comfortable to walk on. Moreover, you will need something that doesn’t cost a fortune in maintenance. As for framing and upholstery, go for materials that are resistant to both cold and hot weather. Unless you have season-specific outdoor living spaces, taking such measures will eliminate the need to switch between summer and winter hardscaping.

Choosing the Correct Materials for Your Patio Is Important

Choosing the Correct Materials for Your Patio Is Important

Plan Poorly

Whether you’re going for a one-time major hardscaping project or a continuous one where you occasionally add or switch elements, make sure your plan accounts for flexibility. While certain hardscape elements can be shifted or replaced, others can be inconvenient, possibly expensive, and perhaps even impossible to maneuver. Smaller pieces of furniture such as tables, deck chairs, and even some sofas, for instance, can be removed during a remodel. On the other hand, you should only add elements like a fixed grill or a fire pit if you are certain that you want them permanently. To avoid having to carry out costly remodels in the future, consider having the overall design completely planned out prior to getting started with anything. While doing so, make sure to leave room for future additions should you eventually decide on any.

A Permanent Installation of Backyard Kitchen and Grill Would Be a Great Addition

A Permanent Installation of Backyard Kitchen and Grill Would Be a Great Addition

Misplace Elements

Think of your hardscaping as a photograph. In photography, you have something called the rule of thirds. Essentially, you evenly divide an image into thirds, with the subjects being placed along with the divisions. Applying this rule in the hardscaping plan can not only allow for a visually coherent composition but also prevent awkward navigation around the lawn. For instance, you may want to avoid placing a statue in the center of the patio, with benches on all four of its sides. Instead, consider moving the statue over to the foliage along the hardscape edging — perhaps quarter ways behind a bench. A strategically placed pergola, on the other hand, would allow for a seamless rhythm throughout the seasons. Strive to create a setting that is both picturesque and convenient.

Setting up Your Hardscape According to Its Surroundings

Setting up Your Hardscape According to Its Surroundings

Misconsider Drainage

Whether or not your backyard features a body of water such as a pond or a fountain, your design needs to account for irrigation and, of course, rain. Incorporating a good drainage system into your yardscaping plans will prevent costly issues such as a flooded lawn. Without drainage, even watering your greenery or washing your patio could leave your whole backyard soaking in puddles. Not only will this drown your plants, but also lead to a buildup of mildew on your hardscaping.

Consider going for a system that drives the water away from your property to avoid dealing with moisture issues later on. Another strategic method involves connecting the drainage to the irrigation system. You could even pair this set-up with a gutter that drains the patio during precipitation and collects excess water from irrigation.

Proper Drainage Systems to Prevent Soaked Lawns Are Essential

Proper Drainage Systems to Prevent Soaked Lawns Are Essential

Forget the Front Yard

Sometimes, homeowners tend to invest heavily in their backyard while their front yards get neglected. The end result is an extravagant hardscaping over at the back of the house and a sad excuse for a garden at the front. For the sake of the entire property, it is a good idea to give adequate attention to both ends of the house. If you don’t want to go above and beyond for your front lawn, a small yet elegant patio with lounge chairs can go a long way in improving your home value.

Designing a Simple Yet Elegant Front Yard Would Help Your Yard Stand Out

Designing a Simple Yet Elegant Front Yard Would Help Your Yard Stand Out

Skip Budgeting

Average Landscaping prices —including hardscaping — exceed other home improvement prices by 30%. To put things into perspective, your budget should account for less than 20% of the entire housing cost.  It can be a good idea to invest time in the research and planning phase as much as you would invest money in the actual hardscaping. Call around and ask for the best prices instead of simply heading out and buying everything impulsively. You could also write down a hardscaping list and set a budget accordingly. If your budget doesn’t allow for the design you have in mind, consider completing your plan in separate phases.

Abandon Practicality

One important factor to consider in your hardscaping plans is practicality. Make sure the fancy patio seats that you ordered from that sketchy supplier aren't a nightmare to sit on. You also wouldn’t want a table that will flip over at the first gust of wind. Bear in mind that your hardscaping is not only for show and that it will be serving as an outdoor living space for years to come. In other words, don’t abandon practicality in your quest for aesthetics. Select elements of hardscaping that can turn your backyard into a fully functional living space.

Incorporating Your Backyard Into Your Living Space Would Make Your Life More Aesthetically-Pleasing

Incorporating Your Backyard Into Your Living Space Would Make Your Life More Aesthetically-Pleasing

Refuse Help

A successful hardscaping design may require professional input. Although you can take on a minor hardscaping plan as a DIY project, attempting to undertake an extensive backyard design on your own can be grounds for a host of mistakes, both in planning and execution. Consulting landscaping or a hardscaping contractor will greatly reduce the risk of your project going wrong.

Aside from the importance of expert advice, you may also need an extra pair of hands; moving elements of hardscape around can be physically demanding. Hiring labor to help you around will make the entire process a whole lot easier and less time-consuming. Regardless of the prices involved, professional interference could ultimately prevent many unexpected costs in the long run.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian