Hard Landscape Elements
Landscape elements on the ground are the foundation to your landscape. They govern where people and cars can go, how to move between levels, and the shapes of defined areas. Your design will include some (but not necessarily all) of these:
- Paved areas
Paths can be level, sloping, straight or curved. They can ramble among landscaping features to give a sense of adventure and expanded space. There are many materials that can create a path that is beautiful, safe, and artistically complements your other elements. Can you picture crunchy white marble gravel that lets you hear when visitors are coming? Stepping stones of slate, sandstone or railway sleepers embedded in smooth turf? A classic paved path of tiles, polished limestone or granite? Talk to us about your needs and vision - le's see what ideas we can come up with.
The borders of your paths, driveways, steps and paved areas are just as important as the main elements themselves. They can be sharp straight or waving lines that clearly divide the access way from the surrounding gardens. You will find that shaped terracotta edging tiles, contrasting pavers, smooth cement, bricks, or a strip of gravel or river stones achieves this effect nicely. Or your paved areas can blend organically into the green surrounds using natural stones, sleepers, crazy stone flags or edge plants for your borders.
Our specialist driveway team can design a beautiful driveway with you to complement your landscape. Whether it's smooth cement, paved with tiles, stone pavers, cobblestone, artistic mosaics or gravel in your choice of colour, we can do it. Head over to our Driveways site for more details.
Please go to our materials list to see the range of what we can use for your ground-based landscape elements.
Not only do steps provide access between different ground levels. Like paths, steps influence how people feel when they move through an area. They psychologically prepare the person for the next experience. Is it preferable for your staff or visitors to relax, trust and feel welcome, for example when entering a legal office, medical clinic, etc? Or be impressed by the quality of your image? The style of your steps can express a lot to people and influence how they feel. Steps can range from formal stone, bricks or tiles, to the more freeform organic look of railway sleepers, sandstone blocks, crazy stone slate, and many other options. Steps can be part of the structure of special purpose areas, such as wrap-around steps for outdoor decks, stages and gazebos. Or they can lead down into sunken think tanks and entertainment pits for a less abrupt transition to those special areas.
You can really let your expression run free with paving! Pavers and tiles come in an enormous range of materials, shapes, sizes, strengths, textures and colours. They can be used for steps, paths, borders, driveways, courtyards, patios and special purpose areas as well as walls, partitions. Use one type and colour for a sleek contemporary look. Or use different types and colours to create interesting geometrics, freeform designs, borders, zones and even mosaics. Crazy stone paving has long been popular to artistically enliven the outdoor environment. Because it is salt and chemical resistant, slate is often a good choice for around pools and spas. You can intersperse most types of pavers with turf or gravel for a 'stepping stone' look. And edge your paved areas with contrasting materials.
Support for the landscaping layout
The shape of the land you have seldom complies exactly with your landscaping vision. Sculpting the land moves the soil and rock into the terrain you require to provide:
- Foundations for smooth paths, driveways, paved areas, turf, etc
- Better drainage
- Bedding for retaining walls
- Raised or lowered ground for special purpose areas
- Aesthetically pleasing changes in ground level
- Enhanced interest and functionality of your grounds
Paving & decking support:
Depending on the size of your project, a variety of ways to support your raised decks or paving is available. You may require a roof garden, pool surround, deck or pedestrian walkway, etc that needs to be kept raised and level without a heavy layer of cement, sand or gravel fill to support it. There are adjustable pedestal systems to support your above-ground structures. Moreover they provide a space to run pipes and wires out of sight yet accessible, and allow air flow and water drainage.
Automatic irrigation system:
Do you have a big garden? Or is it a complex layout of garden beds and other features that makes it difficult to get around with a hose? Perhaps you just don't have time. In that case, a timer-controlled automatic irrigation system, such as popup sprinklers or soaker hoses will take the load off and keep your garden looking lush, with minimal water wastage.
Some soil types, particularly clay, lead to waterlogging for some time each year. The role of subsurface drainage is to carry away excess underground water. This not only improves the health of the soil and plants, but also stabilizes the ground for landscaping and reduces salinity build up.
Stormwater is the large amount of water up on the surface of the ground that tries to get away during and after heavy rain. It's important to have that water guided safely away. This is because it will erode and undermine your land, wash away turf, gravel and plants, and carve channels in unwanted places. Controlling stormwater helps reduce subsurface waterlogging too.
Turf & slope stabilization:
If you have sloping ground with a high volume of rainwater running off it, it damages your ground and your landscaping work. Depending on your land, size of area and other unique factors there are several effective solutions. Some of these are:
- Reinforced turf
- Spray-on erosion control
- Erosion control matting
- Turf-reinforcing mats that do not degrade
- Rock baskets
- Silt trapping
- Soil binding
- Retaining walls