How to Choose Landscaping Materials for Your Garden

Less is more. That's your mantra when picking out hard materials such as brick, stone and wood for your garden.
Bridging the Pond

Bridging the Pond

Garden bridge plans can form part of a garden or landscaping, plus add dimension. A garden bridge can take guests over a water feature or can act as an ornament.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Until fairly recently, the choice of materials for hard landscaping features in your garden wasn’t great. You used what was available. That was generally local stone for patios and paths, or local wood for summerhouses. The advantage of using materials from your environment was that they had an inherent link with the surrounding landscape and with the building to which the garden was attached, which would also generally be constructed from local brick or stone. But now we have a much greater choice.

The range of materials available to us has broadened for a number of reasons. First, falling transportation costs have made it viable to import materials, even heavy stone, from all around the world. One example is the recent influx of inexpensive Chinese and Indian stone. Second, we have become material-mad, and are demanding more choice. This greed for choice is reflected in our home decoration and is beginning to become apparent in our gardens, too. Third, many new weather-resistant materials are available, and we have learned how to use them from books, magazines, and television shows. 

When selecting materials for your outdoor space, remember, one of the most important rules is “less is more.” Choose one or two hard landscaping materials, and make sure they suit the style of your garden, rather than simply following the latest trends. Young designers are using lots of contemporary metals, such as stainless steel and aluminum, which are fantastic for really cool, sleek gardens, but may look out of place in more traditional settings. Having said that, there’s a substantial range of very interesting new materials, and it may also be worth revisiting some that have been out of favor for a while, such as terrazzo.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Design a Landscape

Designing a landscape can be a breeze with the proper resources and tools.

Choosing Landscaping Materials

Learn how to shop for plants, patio pavers and other items you need to redo your outdoor space.

Rooftop Landscaping

Perfect for a modern patio or roof terrace, this contemporary design combines drought-tolerant grasses and spiky irises to enclose a stylish dining area.

How to Landscape With Woodland Flowers

Build a soothing lawn or garden area with soft woodland flowers and plants to achieve a beautiful outdoor space.

How to Design a Fishpond

Fish bring a pond to life, complementing the planting with color and movement. Here's how to create the optimum environment for them.

How to Landscape With Prairie Flowers

Decorate your lawn or garden with soft prairie flowers to achieve beautiful pops of color throughout your outdoor spaces.

Garden Designers

Learn about garden designers—how to find one, what you can expect and what those letters ASLA and ASPD actually mean.

How to Plan and Design Your Lawn

Learn how to plan and design your outdoor grass and garden spaces with these landscaping tips.

How to Plan a Landscape Design

Learn the four steps to creating a scale plan for your landscaping project.

How to Train Fruit Trees

If you think your garden is too small for a fruit tree, you may be wrong. Fruit trees are some of the most amenable plants — they can be trained along walls and fences and look beautiful and even fruit better when grown in this way.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Home Afloat

7:30am | 6:30c
8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Saving Spaces

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Vintage Flip

11pm | 10c

Vintage Flip

11:30pm | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12am | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Vintage Flip

2:30am | 1:30c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.