Gardening with Hardscape



And how to create an outdoor space like this on your own.

This front yard speaks to gardeners who like a more structured and defined look. Utilizing hardscape materials, like concrete, mulch, and different sizes and colors of rocks means the bulk of the yard requires zero water but is still full of texture and interest. Life is brought in with the use of grasses, golden ball cacti, silver protoamericana or the silver surfer, and succulents in a variety of colors. Spacing and using a pattern in the plant layout allow for growth while keeping the look defined and low maintenance. The stylish concrete walkway breaks up the hardscape materials as it directs you through the garden to the front door. At night, the lighting brings the garden alive and highlights the ponytail palm and olive tree, which provide dimension with their height.

Some tips for the home gardener

  • Make sure to research your gardening zone and pick the right plants for your area to maximize their success. 
  • At a neighborhood nursery or garden center, you can easily find dedicated spaces and staff knowledgeable about grasses, succulents, cacti, and drought-tolerant plants. 
  • For a more DIY approach, the poured-concrete pathway could easily be replaced with large concrete pavers.
  • Pick colors for both your hardscape materials and plants that play off and highlight each other or choose a simple, monotone look with your plants and let the different textures bring interest.

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Laura McLean
Laura McLean
Laura McLean is a native San Diegan who is the plant expert co-owner of Sweet Seedlings, and has spent over 20 years working for a nonprofit and as a marriage and family therapist. She has transformed her yard into an urban vegetable and pollinator garden, and strives to connect mental health, self-care, and a commitment to our earth with every seed she sows.
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