10 Oct Variety, the Spice of Landscaping!
When thinking of landscaping, many homeowners never get past plant material. Plants are great and represent most of the landscaping that has been done down through history. They also represent a major portion of the cost of many installs and add their own cost to maintaining the look and feel of your landscape. More and more today’s outdoor living areas are featuring hardscape, water features, fire, and wooden architectural elements. Here are some basic categories.
Softscape is most of what has comprised traditional landscaping throughout the years, it is the plant material itself. This includes trees, shrubs, flowers and decorative border and bedding plants and ground covers, including lawns. The softscape sets the tone in most landscapes and serves as a backdrop to other elements. It is where much of the color and flavor is added. It can be used to separate and outline areas, such as along paths and other large hardscape features, or to help blend structures into the landscaped, such as bedding plants along the front of a home, that ease the transition from soft to hard elements.
Hardscape is any landscaping element that creates a hard surface along the top of the ground so that the topsoil is no longer exposed. Hardscape elements can be composed of stone or pavement, or a combination of the two and include, walkways, driveways, patios and other paved areas. It is used for traffic control and to protect areas from wear due to heavy use and foot traffic. Hardscape is also used to control erosion and provide a base for other landscape structures, such as architectural elements, like decks, pergolas, bridges, and other decorative construction.
A water feature is any landscape construction that makes use of water by moving or concentrating it in a specific area for aesthetic purposes, such as a lake, pond, pool, fountain, waterfall or stream. Most water features in traditional landscaping were supplied by a natural source and fed by gravity. Modern technology has made pumping possible, so that water can be used in more versatile ways. Today’s innovative designs often incorporate lighting, stonework and softscape elements into a larger feature that has more impact than the water might have on its own. We specialize in water features that mimic nature, such as closed circulating streams, ponds, and waterfalls.
Adding a Little Heat
WDG creates three main types of feature for adding the drama of fire. Outdoor fireplaces are enclosed fireboxes made of paving or stone with a vented chimney to carry smoke away from the area. Open fire pits are another type of construction we do. A firepit can allow for a small, to medium open fire within a contained stone or paving ring. We can also add fire in the form of forced gas jets that burn to provide light, or add a dramatic flare. These can be built as lights or even added into a water feature to create a “floating fire” effect. An extension of the forced gas lighting and design elements is the outdoor kitchen. These areas can be as simple as a built in grill, to a complete kitchen, with all of the comforts of a modern kitchen, including appliances designed to withstand the elements.
Large architectural features, such as pergolas, gazebos, decks, bridges and trellises can be added to a landscape to create points of interest, or provide more comfortable outdoor living space. Many times these elements can be designed to echo or amplify the architecture of the home, whether through repeating design elements, or using similar stylistic lines. They can help to define your space and its intended use.