Now that winter is keeping us out of the garden, what's a gardener to do? That's easy -- plan. Plan for all the big ideas you'd like to turn into reality once spring planting fever hits. It's the perfect time to start planning structural hardscape changes in your
Today, our landscapes are becoming extensions of our homes. They bring us outdoors, in rooms and areas
that provide entertaining space, room for kids and pets to play, or maybe a quiet
Where to start? Ask yourself -- was your
patio too small for entertaining last year?
Did you, or your dogs, wear a dirty path in the grass to get from area
to area? Or do you just want to remove
some grass, water a little less or solve a drainage problem with a dry creek?
yourself some preliminary questions. First,
consider your personal style – are you traditional, natural or contemporary? Think about the existing area – do you want
to use the same material as your house or other structures, or do you want
something different? Identify whether you’d prefer creating a color contrast
color or seamless hues of a single color.
the type of material best suited to your project. Stone is sold by the ton -- decomposed
granite by the yard -- your local landscape supply yards can help you determine
how much you’ll need based on your measurements. Here are some of the choices that are
commonly used for hardscape projects.
Flagstone – Can be used for a variety of
landscaping projects, from paths to patios and walls. It can be mortared into place or simply set
in decomposed granite or gravel so it remains permeable. Wondering what to do with the sidewalk strip
in front of your house where the grass is perpetually dying? Consider some attractive flagstone set in
decomposed granite. If you want a softer
look, add a few Mexican feather grasses or a few small agaves or a boulder or
two for interest.
River Rock – Available in a variety of size
ranges, river rock is smooth and comes in a blend of colors. It can be used to create a meandering dry
stream through your landscape or to solve drainage issues. You can also simply replace grass with an
attractive contrast of natural material in your yard. It can be used to puddle below a water
feature or a birdbath. Always be sure to
vary the size of the rock in a dry creek, scattering in the larger rocks
before you put down the smaller size for a more natural look.
Pavers – Man-made pavers come in very
imaginable color and size. The most
commonly used are made of concrete and can be used for patios and porches,
paths and even walls. They can be laid
on a bed of sand, placed close together for a more manicured look, or can be
laid with spacing to allow for either grass or pretty little ground covers to
grow between. Pavers create a more
manicured, formal style in outdoor rooms.
Decomposed or crushed granite – Weathered granite that has broken
down into small pieces and particles of silt, DG is commonly used in patios,
paths and even beds with arid plants.
It’s versatile as a filler for many different projects – just be careful
not to use it on a steep hill – our periodic gully washers can wreak havoc with
it. You’ll want to make sure to use some
sort of edging – metal or stone – to keep the granite in place and separated
from grass or beds adjacent to it.
Gravel – Available in many different colors
and sizes, gravel is a great material.
It can work wonders to help with small drainage issues and it adds
texture and contrast to the garden.
Because it is larger, when used in a path, it is less likely to wash
away than decomposed granite.
Chopped block – Most stone can be purchased as a
rough-hewn brick-like shape that is more natural in form. These are used to build retaining walls,
benches, planting beds or pathway borders.
flagstone, chopped block and other stones come in specific palettes of color –
Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado or New Mexico – are some of the choices you can
find around Austin. From golds to browns
and reds or grays and pinks, the right hues in your garden can be like a fresh
coat of paint in your house.
If you are
creating paths or dry streams, remember to use long, sweeping curves to provide
flow and make your garden more natural and inviting.
different types of material to you landscape can make it interesting and
inviting – creating contrast and texture that enhance your garden.
These are all landscape design projects I created. For more ideas and information, go to Diana's Designs
and see other projects.
Labels: dry creek, flagstone, granite, hardscape, hell strip, leuders, paths, patios, paver, river rock, rock, stepping stones, stone, stone edging, walls