Backyard Design Tips: Hardscapes

Designing Your Dream Backyard: Hardscapes 101

A backyard should be your own personal oasis—a place where you can relax and escape the stresses of everyday life. But designing the perfect backyard can be tough. Where do you even start?

One great place to start is with your hardscape. Hardscape refers to any features in your backyard that are made from wood, stone, concrete, brick, or all the above. This can include patios, pools, fountains, fire pits, pergolas, and more. In this blog post, we’ll give you a crash course in hardscape design to help you transform your backyard into the envy of the neighborhood.

The first thing you need to do when you’re planning your hardscape is to develop a plan. You need to decide what kind of feel you want for your backyard, and what kinds of features are must-haves.  Take the time to consider how you want to use your backyard space. Below are just a few popular ideas for backyard designing. I hope you find your inspiration to get started soon!

Pool & Patio Oasis

If you have a large backyard and have always wanted a pool and patio surrounding it, then map out where you’d like to position your back yard oasis. At the same time, you could have a patio with a sitting area under a pergola or pavilion. Include some lawn up to your patio and plan out the walkways toward your house. If you have enough lawn space for some fun yard games like badminton, horseshoes or just an area for playing corn hole.

Hot Tub & Fire Pit Get-Away

A medium size backyard area could be a great spot for a patio with a hot tub area and a smaller sitting area with a fire pit, add a stone wall surrounding a portion of the area for privacy or just a designated hang out among the lawn and gardens. Adding a café table with chairs and an umbrella will give you and your guests several areas to enjoy your backyard. String up some lights and call it a night out- at home!

Pergola & Fountain Retreat

For smaller backyard lots you may want to choose a formal brick patio with a pergola overhead for a shaded sitting area surrounded by beautiful plants and gardens. Take it one step further and add a formal walkway to a circle patio which has a fountain as a serene water feature for perfect relaxation while you enjoy your cozy little formal gardens.

Dining & Living Garden Side

If you have sloped backyard, this is when you could use a retaining wall to level up an area for a patio close to your back door. Add a stone wall surrounding the stone patio area where you can have a dining and living area on flat ground while looking over a grassy slope below; or continue the slope and have several tiers with supportive rock walls with mini gardens going down the slope. This will help with erosion from rain running down the hill. Add a granite stairway meandering down towards the woods for maintaining your flower beds throughout the seasons. Even better have the stone mason include lighting in the stairs for a beautiful ambiance as evening approaches. You’ll have a wonderful view from the dining & living at the top!


Layout Plans & Materials

Once you’ve decided on the materials you want to use, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to put it all together. This is where the real planning comes in, and it’s important to take your time and make sure everything is just the way you want it. With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can create the perfect hardscape for your backyard. You should plan on seeking a professional landscape designer to go over your entire idea and help you work within your budget, design plans and timeline for the project to be completed.

There are three main types of materials you can choose from for your hardscape: natural stone, pavers, and brick. Natural stone is exactly what it sounds like—stone that has been pulled from the ground or quarried. Pavers are pre-made concrete or stone blocks that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Brick is also a popular choice for hardscaping due to its durability and classic look. Your landscape designer can bring some sample of product choices to your property so you can really get a feel for the characteristics of the stone or brick as well as how the color will work with your style of home and overall design.

Décor & More

Once you’ve decided on a material, it’s time to start thinking about the specific elements you want to include in your design. Some popular options include outdoor patio furniture, dining table sets, overhead shading or protection, adding electricity and outdoor lighting, paths, and walkways from the backdoor or driveway. You have a blank slate so now is the time for incorporating all your wants and needs. If you’re working with a limited amount of space, try incorporating some vertical elements like trellises or privacy screens. These can help add interest and dimension to your yard without taking up too much space. The fun part is decorating after all the hard work is installed and ready for your personal touch and finishes!


Designing the perfect hardscape for your backyard is all about finding the right balance between form and function. Style and ambiance are also a big factor when choosing your outdoor hardscape. After all, patios, stone walls and labor is expensive and will certainly add value to your home and lifestyle. You want to make sure you’re happy with your choices once it’s all put together and complete. Use this idea guide as a starting point to help you create a backyard that you’ll love spending time in for years to come.