Though many homeowners may dream of a lush green yard perfectly manicured year-round, that goal can often be difficult to achieve without substantial work. One way to get closer to that dream while keeping maintenance low, however, is to incorporate hardscaping elements into a landscaping design. This simply refers to using non-plant materials such as landscaping stones to add structure, definition and visual interest to an outdoor space. Here are five easy ideas for how to incorporate stone into your yard:
- Casual Dividers
If you want your yard (or different spaces within your yard) to have some definition, but don’t like the precise look of fences or masonry walls, then putting some boulders side-by-side in a line might be a more appealing option. They won’t keep your dogs in the yard, but they’ll mark a clear dividing line and provide a little protection for your soil.
- Tree Rings
You can increase the stature and visual impact of a tree by adding a stone ring around it. For a more formal look, this could be a low masonry wall containing a raised flowerbed. But you can create a ring of stacked stone without any sort of binder as long as it’s lower than a foot. And for an even more casual look, you can simply spread a variety of smallish stones around the base of a tree in a rough circle.
- Perfectly Imperfect Patios
Hardscaping design can often add extra functionality to an outdoor area, and patios can do just that by turning a plain lawn (which will suck up water and require regular mowing, too) into a comfortable outside gathering space. Instead of pouring a plain concrete slab, consider using stone pavers with narrow borders of grass in between. You can mix and match sizes for a whimsical, laid-back feel, or create a more orderly grid depending on your preference.
- Sculptural Focal Points
Large landscaping stones can serve as focal points in an area, much like sculptures or fountains. The terms “rock” and “stone” are often used interchangeably in gardening, but here there’s a reason to draw a distinction: Moss and lichen will grow on stone, which has been exposed to the elements for a while, whereas they won’t typically grow on rock, which has been broken off from larger pieces in a quarry. You’ll simply need to choose which appeals to you.
- Flowerbed Fillers
If you want to mix stones in with plant elements, consider using smaller stones or pebbles in a flowerbed between widely spaced, striking plants. This is commonly done with succulents in desertscapes, but there’s no reason you can’t try whatever plants are regionally suited to you home.
Do you have any front or backyard landscaping ideas to share? Would you use landscaping stones in the ways described here? Share your opinions in the comments.