Hard landscaping is the bones in any landscape design. Hard landscape construction consists of patios, paths, decking, drives whether gravel or paviors, then perhaps walls and steps in different areas of the garden, followed by fencing or hedging to enclose and define the boundaries of the garden.
Decking & Wood
Decking in wood as an outdoor area is promoted in many gardens, and adds the natural feel of wood, instead of all paving or concrete for patios, or garden seating areas. Decking whether in soft wood or hardwood is a product that will last as long as it is maintained. Being wood it needs to be cleaned and oiled annually. Depending on the site whether it is level or on a slope, the construction of the base frame can make decking more expensive to build than paving. The planks can be either grooved or smooth, and come in different widths and can be cut to exact lengths. It is best to build the deck size to the plank lengths size, so as to save wastage cutting the planks. This then also provides a much more stable floor as the planks are all of a uniformed length.
Fencing & Hedging
Fencing whether in wood, metal or wire, is part of the division and boundary of a garden. Trellis is also popular, to grow climbing plants up, providing a good screen, also for a bird wildlife habitat, if planted with suitable plants. This also includes wooden pergolas or galleries which can help to divide a garden into separate rooms, with entrances from it, also providing a structure for climbers, and making shade for soft planting underneath. Hedging can be planted also, to provide a garden’s enclosure.
Gravel Paths & Drives
Gravel drives, laid on a consolidated hard core base, with a membrane between materials, also act in the same way, allowing rain water to pass through into the ground. Gravel drives and paths are also a cheaper option to a hard surface, and are long lasting. They consist of natural materials and are easy to manage if laid correctly and have low running cost.
Patios & Paths
Patios and paths I build are mainly out of natural sandstone or concrete paving and are the main hard landscaping works undertaken. Until recently sandstone was the most popular because it is a natural stone product imported from India. The sandstone comes in many forms and colours and is better priced than concrete paving. It is more versatile and comes in many styles and designs. Being a hard natural stone it therefore adds value to any features created with it. There is no deterioration of the paving, with stone paving, unlike with artificial concrete paving.
Paviors & Drives
Paviors are made in various materials, either clay or concrete. There are different types and colours. Paviors when used in drives and paths are eco-friendly, as they allow water to enter the sub soil instead of channelling it into public drain and watercourses which can cause flooding.
Walls & Steps
Walls come in many forms, from concrete block and rendered, to brick or stone. Walls built in gardens need to be of solid construction, especially retaining walls. This therefore means a solid foundation is essential, with reinforcing built into the wall and foundations.
Steps built into walls also help with access to different levels in a garden as can be seen in the photos in this landscape portfolio.