When it comes to residential landscaping hardscape design is becoming more popular. Hardscape refers to inanimate portions of your outdoor landscaping; this would include things made from stone, wood, concrete and brick.

For example, building a deck or patio is considered a hardscape design project; just like incorporating a stone wall, wooden fence or brick walkway. However, keep in mind that it is not just big items that make up the hardscape in residential landscaping any kind of non-living element in outdoor landscaping is technically considered hardscape.

Hardscape design is where you should start when you are planning your outdoor landscaping, as much like a house you need to start with the basics. You would not normally set out your accessories or hang your pictures without arranging your furniture; the same holds true here. Hardscape is usually the heaviest work involved the backbone of your residential landscaping project so its foundation needs to be laid first. Once this has been completed it will make the rest of the project flow much more smoothly.

It can be difficult for some to know how to integrate softscape with the hardscape design; one idea is to use something like a water garden. Because this is so impressive looking by itself and even more so when you add statuary or a fountain, the softscape aspect of it can be minimal. You can some aquatic plants, in containers, to your outdoor landscaping as a minimum or you can choose to be more elaborate with things like palm trees and bigger plants.

Another hardscape design to build the rest of your residential landscaping project around is to install a patio, gazebo or deck; this lays the ground work for the rest of your landscape so that your softscape items are displayed more favorably. A deck or gazebo is perfect for showcasing potted plants and window boxes; and a vine growing over the top of a wooden arbor appears to be more than just a vine as it beckons to you to pass through the arch.

Starting with a good hardscape design allows you to have more freedom in the choices that you make for the softscape portion of outdoor landscaping; use your imagination and create your own private retreat.