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Modern Hardscapes to Transform Your Backyard

Whether your backyard is large or small, modern or traditional; whether your taste runs toward clean, low-key minimalism or eclectic combinations of colors, shapes, and textures, the right hardscape can help you achieve the look you want while making the most of your outdoor space.

A “hardscape” is a landscaping term that refers to just about any “hard” element in your backyard: think patios, decks, retaining walls, terraces, and steps, just to name a few. And today’s range of available textures, materials, colors, and shapes makes it easier than ever to design the backyard of your dreams.

Considering an update to your outdoor space? Need some inspiration to help you get started? Here are some of our favorite trends in hardscaping.

Wood-look porcelain

Wood is a beautiful and classic choice for outdoor flooring and decking, but let’s be honest. It takes a lot of work to keep wood looking beautiful. Get the look of wood without all of the high-maintenance upkeep with porcelain pavers that mimic wood planks. They’re available in a wide range of colors and sizes and require virtually zero upkeep. They’re stain and fade resistant, and they never need to be sealed or refinished.

Vertical Spaces

If you’re working with a sloping yard, consider using layers and levels to add interest and make the most of your limited space. Think tiered retaining walls, planter boxes at varying heights, or steps that can make your space feel bigger and add points of interest – without taking up valuable real estate.

Grass and Gravel

Instead of installing a solid layer of stone or porcelain pavers, consider placing single, oversized stone or wood-look pavers atop a bed of loose gravel. Leave several inches between each tile for a an ultra-modern “floating” effect. If you’d prefer more of a quaint garden-style aesthetic, plant wide strips of grass between your pavers instead.

Don't mow, go faux!

One surprising new trend in outdoor design is the use of artificial turf instead of grass. And this isn’t that fake, plastic daisy-studded stuff from the 70s. Today’s faux turf is soft and lush, and it makes a convincing and low-maintenance accent that blends well with any hardscape, from travertine to flagstone to wood-look porcelain. It’s a great way to get that soft pop of green without having to worry about mowing, watering, or fertilizing.

No Grass At All

There’s no hard-and-fast rule that says your backyard has to have grass at all. Use pavers, tile, or gravel in place of grass, and add the occasional touch of green with the addition of planter boxes, container gardens, and a few artfully placed trees and shrubs. This is an especially good choice if you’re working with a small yard or if you’re going for a pared-down, minimalist look.

Double-Duty Design Elements

Get the most bang for your outdoor design buck by adding hardscape features that serve more than one purpose. For example, a wide retaining wall can provide bench-style seating for guests, and a strategically-placed planter box or trellis can help you create the feeling of separate walls or rooms. A winding bed of gravel or rock can add texture to a garden flowerbed – but it also helps prevent harmful erosion. Get creative and make the most of your hardscape.

Mix Materials

Wood and stone. Concrete and steel. Grass and gravel. By using a variety of materials and textures in your hardscape design, you can add interest and create a one-of-a-kind look. Don’t be afraid to play with unexpected combinations – the results might surprise you!

Add Cover

Put a finishing touch on your hardscape by adding a pergola, sail shade, or gazebo to keep your space – and your guests – protected from the elements. There are a wide range of options available, from custom-built, permanent shading structures to affordable, easy-to-assemble structures made of steel and cloth. A pergola or other covered structure is also a great way to create a separate “room” in your backyard.

Looking for more great features? Check out the Outdoor Elements Magazine here.


Staycation-in-Style Team

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