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7 Hardscape Components of Landscaping in Architecture

Hardscape components are in fact the hard components that are seen in landscapes. In order to have a good landscape design, it is necessary that there is a good balance between the hardscape and softscape elements.

Hardscape elements help create interest in the design and provide definition by bringing rigidity to landscaping. They can be decorative, abstract, basic, functional, or practical based on the choice of the client and the designer.

Hardscape Elements of Landscaping

  1. Walkways
  2. Swimming pool
  3. Water features
  4. Pergolas
  5. Retaining Wall
  6. Patios
  7. Gazebos

1. Walkways 

Walkways are the most common Hardscape elements used in landscaping which:

  • Enhances the users' walking experience
  • Helps connect different spaces.
  • Provides a sense of direction
  • Gives a definition of a landscape design

Ragan Residence

Walkway of Ragan Residence
Walkway of Ragan Residence

This design is an example of how a good backyard can bring more life to a project. The residence, before redesigning, had no viable walkway for the user to enjoy due to the steep slope. 

Hence the architects designed retaining walls and a meandering pathway so that the user could enjoy the beautiful woody area behind the house.

2. Swimming pool

A swimming pool, in addition to making a space seem more luxurious, adds a certain balance to the landscape by incorporating a still water body. It also breaks the monotony of the hardness of the hardscape.

  • The shape, typology, depth, and design of the pool matter considering the design requirements. 

Outdoor Oasis, Surrounds Inc

Swimming Pool of Outdoor Oasis, Surrounds Inc
Swimming Pool of Outdoor Oasis, Surrounds Inc

In this case study, the pool area is designed in such a way that water via a waterfall over boulders is flowing to the main pool, curved in an organic style. Wide grass steps with bluestone risers connect the pool and patio to add to its earthy look. 

3. Water Features

The soothing sound and visuals of flowing water give not only an architectural but also a sensory experience for the users. Cascades, artificial ponds, fountains, and waterfalls are some of the examples.

  • Add elegance and a sense of grandeur
  • Helps break the rigidity of hardscape
  • Brings a contrasting play of elements into the design
  • Reflective and calming properties

Lakeside Retreat by Di Stefano Landscaping

Water Feature at Lakeside Retreat by Di Stefano Landscaping
Water Feature at Lakeside Retreat by Di Stefano Landscaping

The lake in front can be accessed by a stone pathway and bluestone outdoor sitting area that provides a getaway nook towards the lake. A transition was created from the back deck to the stone step making the entire backyard easily accessible

A black granite band of pavers in front of the garage helped to solve erosion problems by the excess runoff from the rooftop.

4. Pergolas

A pergola is an ideal element when a user wants an outdoor experience despite it being an extremely hot or rainy day. The pergola must be construed using a weather-resistant material.

  • It adds to the aesthetic value of the garden
  • A shaded walkway can also be made by adding plants.
  • Added seating spaces can maximize usability 

A residence designed by Jon Kontz

Pergolas at the Residence by Jon Kontz
Pergolas at the Residence by Jon Kontz

The architects designed a pergola to suffice the users' needs for a beachy vibe and a pavilion with overhead protection and a deck as a cozy nook. They used natural materials, muted earth tones, and a shared wooden deck surface to bring both spaces and unified them together as one entity.

5. Retaining walls

This is more of a structural element as it helps provide extra support when needed. Additionally, retaining walls can also be used for other purposes:

  • It can be used for planter beds
  • It provides a sense of direction to the landscape
  • It provides support to natural slopes

Concrete Retaining Walls In Residence

Retaining walls at a Residence

The designer has used the placement, pattern, and repetition of rock boulders to create retaining walls, giving a contemporary look. It helps hold soil back while also acting as a planter bed. The choice of materials was done so that the walls blend in well with the natural environment. 

6. Patios

Patios are outdoor paved spaces used mostly for recreational purposes. 

Residence In Kansas

Patios at the Residence in Kansas

Since the design was too small to accommodate a patio, the architect included an area for the patio with stone sitting walls and outdoor kitchen space. The space that was once a small and uninspired outdoor space is now warm and inviting, with ample space for family play and a space to entertain guests. 

7. Gazebos

Gazebos act as focal points and centerpieces in the garden. It also provides shade from the sun, winds, and rain. 

Mid Wales

This architect designed a large oak-framed gazebo with the use of a cedar shingle roof. The oak adds richness to the Gazebo and creates a great space for fun family activities on a warm summer evening.

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