Creating the ideal hardscape for your business can be intimidating–especially when you live in Minnesota where the weather can be volatile from season-to-season. Whether you’re completely redesigning your landscaping, or just trying to spruce things up, here are a few spring hardscaping ideas to consider before you start a project.

Understand Your Region

Topography, soil type, and regional climate are all things to know when planning your hardscape. Start by checking the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine where your yard falls. These factors are important for understanding the microclimate created by your location and surroundings.

Your microclimate differs from those surrounding you because your area may have differences in temperature, light, and wind based on buildings or other environmental factors. These factors, specifically light and temperature, play into the level of shade your yard receives. Shade levels have been broken down into four categories: deep shade, shade, partial shade, or full sun. This is important for your hardscape because a well-placed arch or row of trees could adjust your yard’s microclimate. As the levels of light, temperature, or wind change they allow different varieties of plants to thrive where they couldn’t before.

Determine The Uses for Your Outdoor Space

Do you enjoy entertaining other business leaders in your outdoor space? Is your outdoor space a private sanctuary for your employees? Determining how you want your outdoor space to be used will allow you to design a landscape unique to your business. Do you prefer hardscape features like paved walkways to separate areas? Or would you prefer some sort of a natural, stone-lined path to guide people’s way? What’s your maintenance style? Or, if you don’t have the time, what’s your maintenance budget? Maintenance will play a key role in using your outdoor space for years to come. Walkways or fountains can take up space that otherwise may contain yard elements requiring additional upkeep. A good rule-of-thumb is that fewer plants and more hardscapes generally entail less maintenance.

Create Focal Points with Your Hardscape

Thoughtfully placed visual elements like plants lining a path or a fountain centerpiece can be a great way to add your own unique style to a landscape. Use a low brick wall to define areas within your landscape, the red will certainly make any plants around it pop. A row of colorful stones or bushes could be used to identify where your lawn ends without using a fence. Section your outdoor space by creating implied barriers with a row of bushes or pagoda. A focal point wall could supply an interesting architectural element while imparting privacy and a different microclimate for growing different plants.

Use Your Space to Your Advantage

Every outdoor space is different. Elevations and drop-offs should be taken into consideration when designing your hardscape. Create a sitting area with a fire pit inside a dip in the yard or a retaining wall to create a level playing field for outdoor events. It’s been said that having a yard with elevation changes can make it more difficult to hardscape but that’s entirely mistaken. There may be a bit more work involved upfront but drops in elevation pose an opportunity to create a more dramatic appearance with less maintenance. If your space is flat, you essentially have a blank canvas so use that to your advantage. Place lines of stones around an employee garden or position low, spreading bushes to provide a pleasing backdrop for colorful plants and accents.

Call the Professionals

There’s obviously a lot to keep in mind when creating hardscapes and it isn’t going to build itself once you design it. Choosing resource-efficient plants, conscientious maintenance, water management, environmentally sound hardscapes, and our customer’s desires come as naturally to us as winter does to Minnesota. If you want the perfect hardscape created for you, contact Land Concepts today!