Types of Hardscapes

Making a statement in your yard is easy with a hardscape, or any solid landscaping surface or structure. Here are some examples of hardscapes to choose for your landscaping project.
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Driveways are difficult to design aesthetically, but their size makes them important for curb appeal. Make your driveway more appealing with interesting materials like stained concrete, cobblestone or concrete pavers. The HGTV Green Home 2008 features a double-ribbon driveway with concrete pavers — a permeable option that filters rainwater.


There are many different surface choices for walkways and paths, including pavers, brick, stone, concrete, terrazzo and glass pebbles. Be sure to choose an option that fits your garden and complements your home. This simple brick path works with the warm colors of the summer flowers and gives the garden structure in the winter.

Gravel Paths

One of the easiest and least expensive landscaping projects, gravel paths offer flexibility in shape and design. This simple gravel path is accentuated by a border of moss.


Fences can give your home a sense of privacy and security. Picket or narrow slats provide a psychological barrier, while taller, more solid fence walls shut out the world. This aesthetically interesting fence, with its horizontal planks, is the perfect height for privacy.

Walls and Wall Materials

Whether installed for privacy, stability or function, walls are a lasting design statement. Choose wall materials according to the architecture and the region of the house. Rate My Remodel user twd33 turned an unsightly wall into an artistic masterpiece by adding some color and plantings.


When constructing a patio, be sure to include enough room for lounge chairs, cocktail tables, a bar and plenty of space to move around. Patios can be constructed from many materials, including flagstone, brick, stamped concrete and concrete pavers. This picturesque patio features a dining area and a barbecue island.


Decks are made of wood or low-maintenance composite material. Just like patios, decks should be large enough to accommodate dining, sunbathing and other activities. This deck design features clean white railings that beautifully complement the lightly stained wood. Design by Peter Langham

Stairs for Your Landscape

Keep the topography in mind when planning stairs for your landscape. If you have a steep slope, break up stairs in sets of steps with landings, turns or switchbacks. Here, fragrant thyme accentuates the gentle curve of these stairs and ties them to the larger landscape. Photo courtesy of John Feldman

Built-In Furniture

Furniture in the garden is both functional and visually appealing. The architecture of your home should influence your garden furniture style. Hugged by morning glories, this handpainted bench invites you to sit at the edge of the lawn. Design by Dan Berger


An architectural focal point, pergolas provide shade and extra curb appeal. They can be freestanding or cantilevered from your house, and can be built from many different types of materials. Pergolas can be made from wood or vinyl with fiberglass columns, stone piers or metal framing. They can also be wired for electricity. This pergola offers a beautiful view and comfortable, shaded seating. Design by Scott Cohen


Similar to a pergola, a ramada is a hardscape structure built in a yard to provide shade. It is completely covered by a roof and often complements the home's style. This ramada is all about comfort and style, with plush wicker furniture and warm copper and stone accents. It also has curtains to completely block out the hot summer sun. Design by Morgan Holt


A beautiful addition to a landscape, an arbor turns an ordinary walkway, gate or patio into a focal point. Arbors are functional as well, providing treillage for plants. Surrounded by a mix of perennials and shrubs, this trellis serves as an entrance to a small birch grove accessorized with a bench. Design by Barbara Paul


Freestanding gazebos are extremely popular in landscaping projects. Before you drop one into your yard, be sure it has a purpose. Whether it's a satellite patio, a spa enclosure or a sheltered play area for your kids, decide what you want the structure to be used for.