design/build hardscape elements

Hardscape is a term used to include walls, paths, patios, outbuildings and other constructed elements in the landscape.

Walls  return to top

Segmental mortarless concrete block

Stucco with lattice

Sonoma fieldstone

Blue stone with mortar

Blockwall with cultured stone

Manufactured stone veneer

Dry stacked tumbled blue stone
Curved stacked mortared slate
Curved stacked mortared slate
Painted stucco seat wall with flag stone top
Painted stucco seat wall with flag stone top

Lawns  return to top
Lawns may be used for many reasons, but must be used wisely as they do take more water and more maintenance. Other soft surfaces are also available for playgrounds.

Extend the space for children or entertaining

For visual interest
No-mow lawn.
No-mow lawn.

Patio/Decks  return to top
Many different surfaces can be used for seating areas. Plain or patterned, formal or playful. Concrete patios are perhaps the most common with colored, stamped, or broom finishes. Different types of flagstone, tumbled stone, and pavers used alone or in combination with concrete or goundcover planted in between.
TREX, Timber Tech or similar product is the most enduring choice for decks. When railings are needed, pickets to code or perhaps with clear panels to allow for a view and block strong breezes.

Used brick

Concrete with flagstone edging

Timber tech deck

Pool patio

Stamped concrete with bands, broom finish

TREX decking and railing

Patio railing with clear panels

Patio with stucco wall and flagstone cap

Steps  return to top
Steps are necessary to transition from one level to another and can provide an opportunity for architectural interest that ties to the house or can blend with the landscape. It is very important that the proper relationship between risers and steps be maintained to allow them to be climbed comfortably, without their being too tall or too long or short for a natural stride. Width is another consideration, as people don't want to brush against plantings or to be forced to walk single file.
Here are examples of the materials that can be used.


Brick-edged flagstone

Segmental mortarless concrete block

Timber Tech steps with lights
Timber Tech steps with lights

Segmental mortarless concrete block


Recycled steps with DG

Moss back stone Pavers with fieldstone

Curved concrete with lights and wrought iron handrail.
Curved concrete with lights and wrought iron handrail
IPE deck and stairs
IPE deck and stairs
Timber Deck steps
Timber Tech steps and deck
Colored concrete
Colored concrete
Colored concreted
Colored concrete

Walkways/Pavings  return to top
Like steps, walkways have requirements for ease of use and width requirements. However, some paths are just meant to be single walkways, either for solitude or because they are little used. Solid walkways would include concrete, flagstone or brick paths and wooden paths. Stepping stone paths can be flagstone, pavers, tiles, fieldstone of appropriate shapes, and other materials.


Arbors/Trellises  return to top
Arbors can provide shade and support plants. Trellises also support plants and vines and add vertical interest to a garden. The lattice on an arbor or trellises can be thick or thin, strictly functional or more fanciful. The ends of the crosspieces can be simple and blunt or be more ornately styled.



Fencing  return to top
Fencing can be decorative, functional, or both. Wooden fences are the most common, whether painted, stained or left natural. For larger expanses, such as pastures, or deer fencing, plastic fencing or wire fencing can be used. Fences can be solid wood, pickets or latticed, short or tall. They can be used to screen unwanted views, frame desirable views, keep pets in and deer out, to separate areas, or to provide a decorative background.


Water Features  return to top
Water enhances any garden, regardless of size, of the garden or the feature. The serenity of a pond and the soothing sound of a waterfall or fountain can ease any anxiety. They provide an extra dimension to the landscape. Fountains provide vertical interest and can help mask traffic noise. Pondless water falls can supply the same value without the body of water. In a sloped area, a series of small pools can flow one to the other. And even a small garden can have a water lilies and reeds in an urn.

Building a pond

Stone-edged pond with fountain

Pond with sculpture and fountain

Building river / waterfall to pond

Waterfall to pond

Details  return to top
Attention to the smallest detail enhances the landscape.

New gate with a stucco surround to match house and a covering for the water softener

Enclosure hiding trash cans

Storage shed

Sonoma fieldstone planters with deer fence

Redwood hot tub deck and stairs

Impact post raised vegetable beds

Storage shed to match house siding

Trash enclosure
Privacy wall with IPE gate
Privacy wall with IPE gate

Pool side shower
Pool side shower

Lighting  return to top
Lighting can be essential for safety and security. It can be used to highlight specimen trees, light walkways and steps, and add to the ambience of the evening. It can be a specific element of drama for the garden or be nearly invisible. Lights can be automated or used manually. "Moonlighting" down through a tree may provide an interesting accent. Silhouette lighting thru a plant against a wall can add drama to the garden.


Plants  return to top
A variety of plant materials are available for your garden. They can create a formal feeling, show an array of perennial color, be low maintenance, create a backdrop, or fill other needs. Large or specimen trees can provide a focal point, as can a splash of bright color in an otherwise single-palette garden. Grasses can add a different vertical element and a nice change of texture. We discuss plant choices with the client during the design process to determine what will work best for a particular client's landscape. A favorite existing plant can often be transplanted within the new design. For color, perennials as well as shrubs can give long-lasting color that changes over the seasons. Annuals can be added for additional color, depending on the amount of effort to be spent gardening.


Fire Pits / Kitchen  return to top
For a warm gather area — wood burning or gas fire pits. "Dancing" fire is also popular. Kitchens with your choice of appliances.