Hardscaping Your Landscape

When most people think of landscaping, they think of plants and gardens. However, landscaping often incorporates hardscapes which is comprised of non-living components. Hardscapes normally include structures made of concrete, brick, stone, or wood, but can also incorporate items like sundials or any other non-living element of your landscape. Adding hardscapes bring variety to your outdoor areas and can bring new functional uses to your area.

Patios and Decks

A challenge in landscaping is providing a transition from the indoors to the outdoors. Patios and decks can provide for a smooth transition when entering or leaving a home and can also provide an extra living space. The difference between a patio and deck is usually what materials the area is comprised of. For instance, if the space is laid with concrete, stones, or tiles, it is more likely a patio whereas an area comprised primarily of wood is a deck. Regardless of its composition, a patio or deck is a great way to add to your outdoor entertainment and can host seating areas, tables, and even grills.

Arbors and Pergolas

A challenge in outdoor spaces is how to provide shade in certain areas. Arbors and Pergolas are great shade solutions while also providing design aesthetics to your landscape. Both are usually made of wood and often used with climbing plants to add to gardens or provide shade over a patio or outdoor living area. The difference, however, is that Pergolas are normally more solid and used to cover outdoor sitting areas as compared to Arbors, which are normally more decorative and used over a walkway or within a garden. However, the terms are used interchangeably by most people because they essentially serve the same purpose.

Stone Walls

To provide a masonry element to your landscape, people often use a stone wall feature. Besides just adding a design appeal or barrier of sorts, stone walls could also serve as retaining walls to prevent erosion in your garden. You can also use stonework to build up grill areas or fire pits in order to add to your outdoor living space.

Fences

A picture isn’t complete without a frame and that is essentially what a fence would do for your property. Fences can be made of wood, metal, or stone, depending on what design aesthetics you prefer. They can also function as a safety measure, to keep pets or children on your property and a barrier for intruders. Regardless of its purpose, fences are a great investment to your property but the sturdier the materials, the more costly it becomes.

Walkways

When designing your outdoor space, it is important to establish walkways to guide people through areas without destroying the grass or gardening elements. Walkways perform many functions like sidewalks for pedestrians, providing a path to your home’s main entrance, or a trail from a patio to a garden. The materials you choose to use depend on the durability you wish your walkway to possess and its function. For instance, a sidewalk is usually made of concrete but a walkway to your main entrance may be made of stone or brick for more design appeal.

Outdoor Lighting

An inanimate component that should be featured in your landscape is outdoor lighting. Take the appearance of your home or landscaping to the next level by illuminating it at night. Outdoor lighting will make you feel safer at night by eliminating dark shadowy areas and also, show off your unique home and landscaping design.

Water Features

Most artificial water features could be classified as hardscapes since they usually incorporate some kind of barrier to retain the water. Water features include man-made waterfalls, fountains, or koi ponds and usually incorporate other hardscaping features like stone walls or walkways. These tend to be complex and hard to install but can add unique design elements to your landscape. Affects like the faint babbling from a water feature can provide a soothing environment that’s perfect for relaxation.

Japanese Landscape Design

The Japanese have been fond of gardens as far as more than 500 years ago, especially when it comes to Zen, a Buddhist practice. One of the main aspects of Zen is all about creating landscape into an art, and thus were the earlier Japanese landscape design.

In today’s world there are about a few dozen Japanese gardens located all over the world, which some are famous, aside from Japan. Of course, the Japanese have their own gardens, whether it’s big or small, but it’s all about the essence of having a small world in their own backyard. For most Americans, it’s mostly just bonsai and bamboo trees, but there are more things to consider when having their own Japanese garden. Japanese landscape design is an art form like brush calligraphy or painting in Japan, and to treat the garden should be a devotion unlike any other.

Most contractors in Japanese landscape design have specialized in creating Japanese gardens, and there are several varieties, which would definitely have its own cost considering the complexity of having such a garden. Some variety of gardens, called dry or rock gardens, utilize hauling over huge rocks, a pump to pour water over the rocks and some clever landscaping to create a small waterfall. Others uses sand in order to represent water, which surrounds huge rocks to represent a country. And to make sure that the Japanese landscape feel would be genuine is a total amount of tranquility, which would likely mean away from noisy neighbors.

It also applies with gates and walls, which uses bamboo that is found in most countries in Asia. Flora such as bonsai, sakura (Japanese cherry blossom tree), and pine trees are also part of Japanese gardens and landscapes. Other piece of decoration involves the usage of stone lanterns and steps, a koi (Japanese carp) pond, and even a small bridge.

Japanese landscape design is a lot more costly, considering the amount of rocks, sand and even effects like a bamboo water pendulum, that strikes the rock in a timely manner once water has been empty out by its weight. To begin with having a Japanese landscape is to have a sizeable piece of land required, usually best if starting from scratch for any homeowner. The cost may seem half as expensive as building a second house, but the ambience and the pleasing effect it brings would definitely make the investment worth it.

What You Need To Know About Decorative Concrete Paving

Home remodelling is not just about stylish interior and landscaped garden, but also eye-catching driveways. If you need to try something a bit different, then you may want to look at the driveway decorative options available. Decorative concrete paving is a great way to spruce up your driveway and patio. It is made through a finishing process that’s intended to offer an aesthetic quality. Different colors, patterns, and textures are applied to produce decorative effects that improve and beautify concrete. This technique can create stunning effects for your patios and driveways.

How it is Prepared

Decorative concrete is prepared the same way as the normal mixtures. However unlike the normal grey concrete which is only used for strength, this is mainly used for remodelling the floors, walls and ceilings. Therefore, the concentration of is not as strong and thick as the structural concrete mixture. The styles and the designs also play a vitally important role in the concentration of this mixture. For example, a heavy concentration is required for floors or the walls that are imprinted with the modern designs.

Types

There are a number of decorative concrete finishes, ranging from budget to high end with stylish and trendy effects. Coloured mixture remains the most widely used decorative concrete. The primary reason for the wide usage of coloured decorative concrete is its ease of preparation. Another popular finish is Trowel Down. This involves adding a layer of wear-resistant cement that’s troweled to resemble the patterns of natural slate finishes. The Stamped method is an innovative and decorative style. Stamped is made by impressing a mould into a wet mixture and left for some time to dry.

Maintenance

All types of flooring material require maintenance, and decorative concretes are no different. While concrete floors require little maintenance compared with other kinds of flooring, they do necessitate regular attention. How much maintenance the floor requires depends a great deal on the amount of traffic that it experiences. Be sure to clean your concrete flooring to evade any oil spills and moisture risks. Keeping dirt at bay is also another factor that needs to e maintained so the surface of the concrete remains protected. As well as improving the look of your home, it will also significantly increase it’s value.

The Benefits

Decorative concrete is gaining popularity in almost every state, and isn’t limited to just the outdoor options. The option of creating many different colors and textures makes it the most sought after flooring choice for home owners who would like to experiment with different floor colors. Because concrete is much cheaper compared to other flooring options, it’s a low cost effective alternative that can guarantee splendid natural finishes. In addition to these, it can be applied to any surface within the home and outdoors as well.

If you are looking at undertaking a home improvement project, creating hard surfaces outdoors for the kids to ride their bikes on, a grand statement for the entrance of your house or just to complement your landscaping, decorative concrete is one of the best, if not the flooring choice available.