October 31, 2016

The Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab landscape is getting closer to groundbreaking. You might remember that Lisa (our backyard rehab winner) visited both a Xeriscape Demonstration Garden and a local nursery to look at plant materials. However, another important shopping trip to take before you break ground is to a landscape materials supplier… you know… rock yards and paver companies – those places that offer great selections of your ‘hardscape side’ of the landscape. Hardscape includes any non-plant features in the landscape such as patios, benches, flagstone walkways, sculptures, boulders, and more. These structures and accents can provide visually appealing sitting areas, barbecue space and places for entertaining, and best of all, an extension of your home’s living space to the outdoors. Choosing hardscape is also a great alternative to planting water-thirsty grass. You can also use hardscape to direct the flow of rainwater to water your plants, which is another water-saving measure.

In this video, Episode 6 of the 10-part series, Lisa meets with Blaine from Integrated Landscape Management (her landscape contractor) to discuss granite and paver selection. Together, they visit with Marty Monroy from Cutting Edge Curbing Sand & Rock to see the great selection he had available.

When it comes to hardscaping, there is no end to design concepts. Just google ‘hardscape ideas’ and you’ll see enough designs to make you dizzy. However, keep in mind that cost of materials and labor can add up quickly. Simple hardscape elements can also add functionality to your landscape at a very affordable cost. Here are our favorite ‘hardscape’ tips to share:

  • BOULDERS – Use boulders to accent the landscape. A grade of boulders called “surface boulders” look more natural, and the color usually matches the natural-colored granites. Bury boulders by at least 1/3 and place plants close by to soften them.
  • GRANITE – Use 1/4 or 1/2 inch minus granite (not screened granite) as this provides a more natural desert look, is easier to maintain, and is easier to walk on. Use natural colors like desert gold, beige or brown. Visit rock suppliers and collect samples of granite or crushed rock in plastic bags and take them home to see how they look with wall color and other landscape elements.
  • PAVERS – Be sure to set your pavers, flagstone, or other surface materials on top of sand or other permeable base. This allows rainwater to percolate into the soil. If you do decide to use concrete or non-permeable surfaces in your yard, be sure to consider ways to harvest the rainwater runoff from the surface into your surrounding landscape areas.
Hardscape can be simple and inexpensive. This landscape features a simple block wall and pathway and inexpensive seating. Photo: Charles Mann
Hardscape doesn’t have to be expensive. This landscape features a simple block wall and pathway and inexpensive seating. Photo: Charles Mann

Find these helpful links:

Landscape Planning and Design

Xeriscape: Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert

Rainwater Harvesting Resource Page

If you missed Parts 1 through 5 of our series, visit our Drab to Fab page to meet our winner and watch as she begins the processes of transforming her yard from Drab to Fabulous!