Patio Landscaping Provides Finishing Touch to Hardscape Projects

A stone retaining wall and classic stone steps are enhanced with the addition of color, texture and eye-appeal from an assortment of plants for hardscape designs.

A stone retaining wall and classic stone steps are enhanced with the addition of color, texture and eye-appeal from an assortment of plants for hardscape designs.

Once a new stone, brick or paver patio, walk or wall is installed the finishing touches come from timely patio landscaping details. Complementary plants for hardscape designs soften and brighten installations in Madison WI and throughout Southern Wisconsin. Among the most popular trends in bringing green elements into a new hardscaped yard center on making wise use of water and nutrients. The concept of “green” landscaping, or sustainable patio landscaping focuses on conserving water, reducing the use of chemicals and relying upon more and more native plants.

Patio Landscaping – Think ‘Green’

Thinking “green” when it comes to your property means more than a lush, wide expanse of grass. Adding patios, decks, garden beds and structures reduce the volume of grass – and demand for watering, weeding and mowing. They also present a hard, less inviting surface. Bringing plants into the hardscaping plan combines the two elements. Plants for hardscape soften the initial appearance while providing color and texture of their own. The green portions of the patio landscaping attract wildlife, reduce air, soil and water pollution and provide healthy recreation spaces.

Developing a sustainable plan for green spaces comes with many choices:

  • Using recycled materials in patio landscaping

  • Mulching in gardens, flowerbeds and via mulching lawn mowers

  • Using permeable paving materials for water flow

  • Planting native plants for hardscapes – native plants are more drought-tolerant than imports

  • Consider solar options for outdoor lighting

  • Shelter seating and eating areas with structures to reduce sun exposure

Applying a “green” approach to patio landscaping not only benefits the environment, it can give your finances a boost, too. Sustainable plants for hardscape areas require less maintenance – less gas for the mower, fewer fertilizer and pesticide applications and less supplemental watering.

Start at the Beginning – Plants

Plants are the focal point of landscaping to soften hardscape installations and bring the real “green” into the process. When evaluating planting, work with a professional landscaper or nursery to get the best insights into which varieties work best in Madison WI and the surrounding area. Consider:

  • Native Plants, Cultivars – native landscaping plants adapt to local conditions much easier. NOTE – just because a plant is “native” to the country or the state doesn’t mean it will work in your neighborhood. Soil types, available light and water all make a critical difference.

  • Trees – deciduous trees (the ones that lose their leave in fall) provide shade and cool an area in summer while letting sunlight warm the space in winter. They’re ideal for the South and West side of the yard.

  • Evergreens – available as shrubs and trees in many colors, shapes and textures. These versatile plants work well as foundation plantings around retaining walls and to define spaces as borders. Tall varieties can provide privacy and protection from the wind.

  • Ornamentals and Edibles berry plants, fruit trees and decorative vegetable do double-duty providing color, shade and décor to the patio landscaping effort. They attract birds and butterflies, too.

Water Critical to Plants For Hardscape

With any planting plan, providing enough water is always a vital concern. The more lawn, the more water it takes to keep it green. Landscaping plants usually don’t require as much water once they’re established and water can be delivered efficiently direct to them through sprinklers and irrigation systems.

TIP FROM A PRO – Do you want extra water for free? Consider installing modern rain barrel. One inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot roof with eaves and downspouts delivers 600 gallons of water to the ground every time it rains. A new rain barrel will hold about 50 gallons of that rain water, making it available to use for container plantings, landscaping and the garden. A solid cover and regularly using the water reduces the risk of mosquitos. In Madison WI you’ll have to drain it in the winter.

The goal of patio landscaping is to conserve water and energy, reduce waste and decrease runoff – based on four principles:

  1. Water is a Resource – wasteful irrigation accounts for about one-third of the residential water used in the U.S. while rain water is treated as a waste and allowed to flow into gutters and sewers. Proper plants for hardscape, drainage plans and ways to capture storm water contribute to conserving this valued resource.

  2. Soil, the Foundation – Proper drainage after a hardscape installation is vital to keeping soil fresh and responsive to the needs of surrounding plants. Compacted soil restricts plant growth and promotes erosion, runoff and flooding.

  3. Respect Native Plants – when you plan a hardscape installation avoid removing healthy plants already on the property. Those plants are doing well for a reason and should be preserved. When adding new plants for hardscape areas use varieties native to the region whenever possible. Remember: Right Plant In The Right Place! As your guide.

  4. Minimize Waste – construction projects are notorious for generating waste. A sustainable approach to patio landscaping relies upon appropriately-sized plants and building materials that are eco-friendly.

Planning a patio landscaping project to go with a hardscape creation? Consider the view you see from your window as you enter the space. How will the overall outdoor living space be enhanced by your proposed addition? Design concepts vary from many natural features like small groves of trees, water features and large rocks to stark Zen appeals. Your plan should reflect you lifestyle.

The University of Minnesota has a FREE PLAN for designing green landscapes. The Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series, or SULIS, provides information on sustainable green landscaping to homeowners and horticulture and landscaping professionals.

Professionals Create Great Spaces

To extend the value of your new hardscape, call Proscapes LLC today and review the wealth of plants for hardscape highlights to enhance your outdoor living space. Proscapes LLC creates and maintains outdoor living spaces in Madison WI and throughout South Central Wisconsin.

Contact us at (608) 244-6464 or email us for a professional’s approach to plants for hardscape installations and tips for patio landscaping around your Madison WI home.

American Society Of Landscape Architects