Hardscape design specialists typically do almost everything that traditional gardeners do – getting dirt under their fingernails on a daily basis – but they add another element on top of the usual topiary, garden, and lawn details.
Hardscape design is exactly what it sounds like: creating and implementing plans to use "hard" materials such as concrete, brick, wood, metal (usually iron or copper), and the like to beautify the environment. Some hardscaping services also readily incorporate the element of water into their designs as most fountains and the like are primarily "hard" materials.
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When most people think of landscaping, they think of mowed grass, pristine flower beds, and trimmed shrubs arranged under trees whose leaves are carefully collected and removed once a week throughout the fall. But as hardscaping becomes more popular countrywide (not only because it's new and different, but because it's easier to maintain as well) the idea of what it means to have your house 'scaped' is changing rapidly.
Hardscaping doesn't stop there, however many hardscape design professionals will also readily draw up plans for a patio, a barbeque pit, a deck, walkways, decorative retaining walls, exotic fences and gains, and even artistic sculptures as well! The applications of hardscape design are as varied and beautiful as any live garden, just more permanent.