Hardscaping & Dry Garden Landscaping Ideas

Hardscaping or dry garden landscaping might just be your solution . . .

. . .if  you are the type of person who hates mowing a lawn and everything else that goes with it  — yet  you want an aesthetically pleasing front yard which is low-maintenance.

If you have rocky areas, high hills, or extra shady spots, in other words, land where grass does not grow well, an option is to convert to dry garden landscaping or hardscaping.

Here are some ideas which may help you. Click on the picture for a better view.

dry garden landscaping: building a gazebo

dry garden landscaping: building a Soft waterfall fountain at base of steps

Soft waterfall fountain at base of steps

1.Paving  walkways  (hardscaping) or — even better — putting in patios and/or gazebos or other dry garden landscaping ideas such as a waterfall at the foot of stone stairs will reduce the amount of grassy area in your lawn, giving you a very low-maintenance yard.

2. You might consider putting wood chips or shade-loving ornamental plants like ivy, hostas, periwinkle or pachysandra at the base of a tree, or even do some hardscaping by using big rocks to create eye pleasing “sculptures”.  This type of dry garden landscaping could save time, money, and water resources.

Here is an example of an area where it was hard to get grass to grow.

Dry garden landscaping: Using rocks to simulate a dry river bed

Simulate a dry river bed with rocks

Dry garden landscaping: Creating pathways with wood chips to separate flower beds

Using wood chips for pathways between flower beds

The home owner decided to do a bit of dry garden landscaping and give this area a completely different look by
1) using small- to medium-sized rocks to create a dry river bed in one area and
2) alonside this “little dry river,” creating a series of small beds filled with different types of hostas
3)creating wood chip paths to separate the beds. Looks very nice and is easy to maintain.

Dry garden landscaping idea: replace grass with wood chip lawn

Replacing grass with a wood chip lawn interspersed with shrubs/plants

dry garden landscapng with wood chips on left side of front lawn

Dry Garden Landscaping with Wood Chips

Here’s another version of a lawn where grass has been replaced by wood chips.

Ben Conte, a young home owner here in Oshawa, decided he did not want any grass, so he came up with this delightful layout for his lawn.

By creating this dry garden landscaping idea, his only lawn care will be adding wood chips every so often to keep any grass from growing through the wood chips and providing a feeding place for worms and microorganisms which will provide necessary nutrients for his shrubs/weeping caragana and other interspersed plants.

Using beautiful ground covering plants to replace grass3. Another  option is to cover the area with one of the many excellent ground covering plants available. Three of these many great ground covering plants are:

- The Creeping Juniper, an excellent ground cover for rocky slopes for it grows slowly, grows well in full sun, can tolerate dry rocky soil, and loves good air circulation. There are different cultivars, so you can easily find one for heights from 20 cm to 60 cm.

- Thyme, often used between patio stones, for it thrives in full sun and dry sandy soil. In addition, it has scented leaves and tiny flowers in late spring.

- The ajuga, a fast-spreading groundcover which, in spring, has spikes of deep blue flowers over shiny rosette-looking leaves. It can tolerate sun to light shade and moist soil. It grows to about 10 cm high and multi-colored leaf cultivars are available. Some cultivars can be especially resistant to insect attacks.

See other examples of beautiful ground covering plants .

using-boulders-to-create-levels

Using boulders to create levels

If you have a large area where the slope is steep enough, you may want to use huge rocks as a  retaining wall to correct it (hardscaping).  Several different kinds of retaining walls exist, but they all serve the same purpose. Basically, the idea is to hold back areas of soil so that you can separate your yard into levels of flatter surfaces. Retaining walls also prevent soil erosion.

If you don’t like dealing with grass or growing grass is a problem, you can use some form of dry garden landscaping or hardscaping and still have your  beautiful front/back yard!

Marcie

Bio: A gardener since the 70′s, Marcie Snyder knows the value of growing your own vegetables and plants organically. To help the budding gardener, Marcie offers information on four blogs (each one dealing with different aspects of gardening) plus a FREE ebook “The Complete Guide to Organic Vegetable Gardening” (OVG GUIDE). She also offers a very comprehensive step-by-step ebook detailing 4 methods of composting. Check for more articles at http://organicvegetablegardeningguide.com/blog

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