40 Wow-Worthy Hardscaping Ideas

Make the outdoors an extension of your home with smart hardscaping solutions. We share our top tips for transforming your front or backyard into a go-to destination.

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December 12, 2019

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Use Your Imagination

An outdoor getaway is the perfect place to flex your creativity. Think of a place that inspires you — whether it's a luxury resort you've visited or even a photo you saw online. Decide which elements you like best and incorporate those into your design. Pulling inspiration from Balinese style, this home opens up to a covered lounge area with stone pillars and Peruvian travertine flooring. The contemporary pool stretches out to an additional gazebo and outdoor living space.

From: Bea Pila

Embrace Your Home's Style

Look no further than your home's architecture for hardscaping inspiration. This paver driveway is a mix of soft tan and brown hues that blend seamlessly with the southwestern style of the home. Easy-to-maintain landscaping full of cacti and low-water plants is just right for the dry climate while also creating ultimate desert curb appeal.

Plan for the Elements

When designing outdoor spaces, know where the sunrise and sunset will happen, as well as the historic prevailing breeze. Create structures that maximize the best parts of your outdoor elements. The corrugated metal roof of this covered lounge area provides protection from the afternoon sun, while large cutouts allow for cool breezes to pass through.


Work With the Natural Setting

Take advantage of the surrounding environment you already have. This patio and pergola completely blend into the towering trees and colorful plantings. Concrete and rustic wood stepping pads jump right off the natural stone boulders to lead out to a floating deck above the pond.

Pick a Palette

Hello cool blues and whites. This contemporary backyard retreat highlights the blue of the pool (perfectly, we might add) through well-placed accessories. Stripes of grass soften the white stone patio and keep upkeep to a minimum. Multiple cozy seating areas are spread throughout the outdoor space so one can sit poolside, warm up by the fire or head under the pavilion to get out of the sun.

Pull It All Together

Gorgeous stonework defines every aspect of this home's outdoor space. Clean-lined stones mark the perimeter of the swimming pool, as well as the in-ground fire pit, where a bed of pebbles add dimension and texture. The repetition of stacked stone on the home's exterior, the porch and the cascading waterfall ties the entire space together.

Create a Fairytale

Making full use of the hanging wisteria, this massive structure, which houses a welcoming outdoor living space, has an almost hidden storybook-like atmosphere. Classic brick columns with rustic stone bases surround the pavilion, creating an Old-World vibe.

Vacay, Any Day

You might think it'd be hard to pull your eyes away from the gorgeous mountain views in the distance, but with a playful and stunning outdoor design like this, there might be a little competition. From the covered living and dining areas to the spa and pool complete with water slide, there isn't a kid or adult who wouldn't be ready to have some fun.

Make It Multifunctional

A fireplace takes an outdoor living space from typical to luxurious. It's the perfect gathering spot for adults and kids, whether they're cozying up on a cool evening or roasting marshmallows. The same rustic stacked stone of the home's exterior finds its way to a deluxe and multipurpose fireplace. Under the hearth is built-in storage for firewood and a flat-screen TV above lets you to enjoy the outdoors while watching the big game or House Hunters International.

Extend Your Living Area

Truly designed as an indoor/outdoor home, this contemporary patio has a seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces. Clever flower beds allow for lush greenery to break up the uniformity of concrete, and defined areas — a living space around the fireplace and a streamlined dining spot — enable homeowners and guests to completely embrace the outdoors.

Create Destinations

A custom-designed stone bridge allows the homeowners the ability to enjoy every aspect of their wetland-inspired pond. Masonry walls mix with natural boulders to create awe-inspiring waterfalls. The entire outdoor space is surrounded by native Colorado plantings to add softness and richness to the hardscaping.

Mix Stonework

A combination of different stonework gives this outdoor space a customized and visually interesting look. The dining area features etched-finish pavers set in a grid with a pebble border separating it from the tinted concrete, while the living area has shell-inlaid concrete pavers surrounded by decomposed granite.

Don't Compete With Surroundings

Arches covered in creeping fig vines lead to the back entry of this elegant home. A neutral stone patio provides timeless flooring without distracting from the beautiful architectural details of the walkway. Design by Thompson Custom Homes

Find the Right Material

Consider your home's style when selecting exterior materials; for instance, this loosely defined flagstone patio adds to the rustic cottage look of the house. Brick is a great option for traditional homes, while granite lends itself to a more contemporary vibe.

Have Some Fun

Backyards are a place for adults and kids to relax, enjoy the outdoors and most importantly, play. In addition to your patio, outdoor kitchen or pool, incorporate a favorite hobby into your plan. Whether it's a putting green, climbing wall or play structure, think of a way to personalize the space for your family's enjoyment.

Use Hardscaping to Define Zones

Mark the perimeter of your yard or separate different areas of your property with smart hardscaping. These low-level stacked stone walls reflect the house's architecture, define the estate and still permit for amazing views of the landscaping and home beyond.

Incorporate Antiques

Just like your interiors, if you're a lover of antiques and pieces with a story, look for hardscape materials along the same vein. Reclaimed from China, these century-old stone pavers top the benches and walls and are used as floating steps across the koi pond. They completely infuse the space with historic appeal.

Make It Work

Select materials that will stand the test of time and plants that will thrive in your surroundings. No one wants an aspect of their design that is a battle to maintain. These natural boulders will weather the elements while creating a striking border around the flower beds, as well as establishing the six-foot-wide tumbling waterfall.

Leisurely Walk Through

Even simple hardscaping is transformative when encircled by lush natural surroundings. This easy-to-install concrete walkway leads the homeowner and guests through a colorful environment of budding trees and flowers. Mixing a variety of plant and tree heights creates eye-catching dimension and interest.

Highlight the Focal Point

For this courtyard, smart hardscaping is used to preserve historic landscaping. The courtyard was renovated to lessen water usage so the native oak tree could remain a showstopping centerpiece of the home. Simple square pavers are laid in a grid pattern over pea gravel for a cool geometric design that still feels right at home in this Mediterranean-inspired space.

Switch It Up

Vary materials to add visual interest. Instead of a solid concrete patio, this transitional outdoor area combines earth toned-gravel with elevated concrete stepping pads to lead guests throughout this home that blends the indoor/outdoor living experience.

Reflect the Design Style

This Arizona home's exterior already meets the quintessential southwestern standards with stucco walls and terracotta roof tiles. To complement the look, the outdoor space is grounded in sandy bricks and pavers, while blue tiles around the pool and Mexican tiles bordering the patio add life and color to the desert landscape.

Bring on the Color

Blue tile insets take a simple concrete patio to the next level and highlight the watery blue of the pool. Mosaic tiles used around the perimeter of the pool and on the stairs are repeated behind the water feature to add an iridescent gleam to the concrete facade. Tiered garden beds full of drought-resistant plants add life and softness to the space.

Stick With the Classics

Simple and classic materials — brick and concrete — combine for an awe-inspiring hardscape in this backyard. Concrete is used throughout the space to create even patios and pathways, while bricks define each line for traditional style and warm color. Additionally, the brick wall off the pergola has a built-in fire pit designed so you can enjoy its warmth while taking in spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

Minimal Style, Major Impact

Nothing distracts from the breathtaking views at this desert escape. The negative edge lap pool seamlessly flows into the stained concrete patio. Taking its cue from modern style, this outdoor space embraces crisp, square lines. Even the fire pit doesn't interrupt the continuous streamlined look.

Inventive and Playful

Crossing over water is an enjoyable experience no matter how old you are. Even at the chicest event, the floating paver walkway will have you feeling like your hopping from lily pad to lily pad across the most elegant of ponds. This luxurious space shows that water needn't be a hindrance to amazing hardscaping with palm trees planted firmly in the middle of the pool and the clean-lined yet out-of-the-box layout.

Making a Point

With a simple stone pathway leading to it, this stunning wooden pavilion is as unexpected a destination set in the trees as it is in its design. Rather than sticking to the simple rectangular layout of the concrete patio, the pavilion roof comes to an impressive point that's one of a kind. Underneath, a seating area gets cozy in front of the fireplace and the industrial-style table and chairs allow for ideal dining al fresco.

Think About the Journey

The bird's eye view of this opulent outdoor getaway showcases how each level of this design is a new experience with different pathways, stairs and even floating steps across the pool. Creating a vision of how you will walk through your outdoor space helps determine the right hardscaping and landscaping design.

Add One-of-a-Kind Touches

Custom pieces take your outdoor space to the next level. This naturally inspired waterfall is an impressive focal piece for the luxurious swimming pool. Complete with fire features and LED lights that change the color of the water, the waterfall's cascades bring a beautiful ambient sound to the backyard.

Take a Seat

Not only do this patio's low walls act as defining borders, but they also double as extra bench seating and firewood storage spots. Flagstone is placed closer together nearer the fireplace to create an even setting for the patio furniture and is then spaced out with grass planted in between as it blends into the surrounding lawn.

Waterside Retreat

This on-the-harbor modern home takes full advantage of its outdoor spaces, from the roof to the water. The stained concrete patio that extends out from the main living room is the real showstopper though, housing a dining spot and outdoor kitchen. Clear railing provides an unobstructed view of the harbor.

Rustic Chic

Even simple hardscaping can make a stunning impact. Large concrete pavers are separated by smooth pebbles that add interest and texture. The covered porch mixes cedar planks with corrugated metal siding to create a welcoming farmhouse entry.

In the Country

A low stacked stone wall borders this provincial property, adding a from-the-Old-World aesthetic. The barn-like structure, which pairs reclaimed wood and a tin roof, is actually a cozy guest house. The bronze sculpture of interlocking circles brings a decidedly modern note to outdoor space.

Part of the Landscape

Though modern in style, this home still blends flawlessly with the surrounding nature. The raised wooden porch wraps around the home and continues under hanging trees, creating a one-with-the-environment effect.

A Little Taste of Europe

This hill is designed to mimic the look of the Tuscan countryside. Oversized stacked stones and sweeping grasses and plants surround the welcoming outdoor dining space. Overhead, a custom-built pergola provides shade and style.

Safe Passage

An Old-World-inspired breezeway creates a seamless (and covered!) transition between the house and the detached garage. Rustic columns line the blue flagstone, which is the same stone used for the back patio overlooking the lake to create continuity throughout the home's design.

From the Earth

Around the front of this lakeside house, the hardscaping has the look and feel as if it has always been there. Well-placed natural stones, boulders and pebbles all work together to highlight the rugged, locally milled materials of the home's exterior.

Gathering Place

You don't need a lot to create a restful outdoor getaway. A dozen flagstone are inlayed in the grass to surround a simple stacked stone firepit. Throw in a pair of comfy chairs and you've created the perfect spot to sit and watch the water go by.

Streamlined Design

Polished concrete really shines as the front patio and steps leading into this contemporary-meets-country home. The simplicity of the hardscaping doesn't distract from the gorgeous blooms and views beyond.

A Contemporary Wave

The benches and firepit are made from stacked stone, but instead of the typical rugged aesthetic, the stones are honed to create a sleek linear look. The curvy design and thin layers showcase that stone can be as ultra-modern as its counterparts: metal and glass.

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