Are you tired of feeling like your outdoor space is missing something? Do you struggle to bring your design ideas to life? Are you looking for ways to create a space that your friends and family will love? If so, you're in luck! In this blog post, I'll be sharing five hardscape design rules that will help you transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional oasis.
Rule #1: Understand the Purpose
Before diving into the design process, it's crucial to understand how your space will be used. Do you envision sipping coffee on a quiet morning? Hosting lively parties with friends and family? Allowing your dogs to roam freely without tracking mud and debris into the house? By starting with the end in mind, you can ensure that the design aligns with your vision. Think about the daily, weekly, and yearly use of the space before finalizing the layout.
One design approach that I often use is to create a landscaped buffer between the hardscape and the house. By pulling the pavers off the house by three to six feet, you not only create a visually appealing landscaping feature but also provide more functional space. This buffer allows for easier movement and creates a sense of openness.
Rule #2: Create Dead Ends
To maximize the usability of your outdoor space, it's important to create dead ends. Dead ends are areas that provide a sense of destination and prevent unnecessary traffic through functional spaces. For example, if you have a kitchen area, avoid placing it in a high traffic area. When people constantly pass through, it diminishes the usability of the space and can be quite frustrating. By channeling traffic into dead ends, such as a pergola, fire pit, or kitchen space, you create a flow that feels natural and inviting.
Rule #3: Incorporate Organic Seating
I know what you might be thinking, but no, we’re not talking about sitting on logs or having shrubs as chairs. Organic seating refers to creating comfortable spaces where people can gather without necessarily needing formal chairs. This allows your outdoor space to expand and contract easily, accommodating larger groups of people. One simple way to achieve this is by adding low-rise stairs out of the back of the house. These steps, with a comfortable height and depth, provide a seating area that is versatile and convenient. Another option is to include seating walls at about 18 inches in height. While not the most comfortable for long periods of time, seating walls provide additional seating options and are great for kids to hang out on.
Rule #4: Capture the Senses
To create a truly memorable outdoor space, it's important to engage all the senses. Start by considering elements that appeal to our primal needs, such as fire and water. A fire pit, for example, adds a cozy and warm element to the space, creating a gathering point that draws people in. Water features, like fountains, can provide a soothing and captivating element, attracting attention and creating a sense of tranquility.
Visual appeal is also vital, and you can achieve this by incorporating design principles such as the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Series. These principles can guide you in creating visually attractive squares, rectangles, and shapes throughout your space. Additionally, lighting plays a significant role in stimulating our sense of sight. Consider using low voltage lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere without overwhelming brightness.
Lastly, don't forget about scent! Incorporating plants with pleasant fragrances, such as gardenias, jasmine vines, and rosemary, can add another layer of sensory delight to your outdoor space.
Rule #5: No Curves Without Purpose
While curves can add visual interest to a design, it's important to use them purposefully. Avoid incorporating curves just for the sake of having curves - it can lead to a messy and disorganized look. Instead, focus on creating areas of attention and balance in your design. A well-placed circle can serve as a focal point, and you can complement it with curved lines that flow towards and around the circle. By doing so, you add purpose and intentionality to your design, without sacrificing visual appeal.
By following these five hardscape design rules, you'll be well on your way to creating the outdoor space of your dreams. Whether you prefer a cozy and intimate setting or a grand and extravagant one, these rules provide a solid foundation for transforming your backyard. Remember, these rules are my opinions, but I'd love to hear what you think. Let me know if you found this helpful and whether these rules resonate with your own design aspirations. Happy designing!
About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!