Hardscape Makes The Landscape

by Ben Bowen

Hardscaping and Landscaping

A landscape that is nothing but plants is just a big spoonful of frosting.

What is more important: the cake or the frosting?

I love a good cream cheese frosting as much as the next guy- don't get me wrong. But we all know it takes a "special" appetite to prefer straight frosting. Cake is the reason frosting exists. The best cake you ever ate was great, not because of the frosting, but because of the cake. (People who buy frosting shots at Cupcake Jones are free to disagree.)

When it comes to landscaping, too many people (I'm looking at you, designers) focus on the frosting. Plant material is the frosting. I love it, you love it- but a "landscape" that is nothing but plants is just a big spoonful of frosting. It makes me sick. Well, not sick, but maybe a little sad. Why?

Portland Landscapes Need Hardscape

paver walkway

Hardscape is the cake. Walkways, paths, patios, boulders, walls, steps- these are the foundation of a great landscape. Get these elements right and then worry about the plants. When hardscape is well planned you get to enjoy a proper landscape. A landscape that works. A garden that is walkable. Property that is usable. And while all these elements (with the exception of accent boulders) are functional, they are also beautiful- when done properly.

Types Of Hardscape

The right hardscape material and layout are two of the bigger decisions we make during the landscape design process. Here are just of the possibilities:

  • Natural stone. The best, no doubt. Stone lasts longer, looks better, and can fit literally any style you want. It is also the most expensive! But if your budget can include true stone masonry you won't regret it.
  • Pavers. Pavers exist because stone is so expensive. Concrete pavers are easier to install and cost less per square foot. They also take less skill to install. Done properly, pavers can be a smart and beautiful choice.
  • Concrete. Simple, long-lasting and relatively budget friendly. Modern or contemporary landscapes often call for concrete instead of pavers.
  • Gravel or Decomposed Granite (DG). Budget choices, for sure, but often the right call for aesthetics too. Gravel gardens are a thing, and a thing we really like!

Examples of our hardscapes:

Whatever type of hardscape you are looking for, Ross NW Watergardens is the Portland landscaper to call!