21 May 2012

Create Your Own Hard Landscape Garden – And Reduce Water Usage

Posted by bcsands

“What is a hard landscape garden?” Well the answer is another question. Have you ever seen a Japanese Zen garden? Pebbles raked into different shapes every day and a water feature tinkling gently onto rocks, disappearing underground to be pumped up again from below? That is one example of a hard landscape garden. Others use artificial lawn to create flat, useful areas, and still others use outdoor artworks such as large urns and concrete pillars to add beauty and intrigue. It’s all about using the least amount of water and still having a usable, welcoming space.

A hard landscape can be a very low, or even no maintenance garden if set up correctly in the first place. The last thing you want to happen is for weeds to sprout between your lovely white or grey gravel garden, with its carefully planned and shaped footpath and calming water feature. Here then, is the checklist for achieving this Zen calmness in your waterless or hard landscape garden.

Site Preparation for a Hard Landscape Garden

  • Dig out all unwanted growth including lawn, plants and even trees if your local council approves.
  • Sculpt the site into levels, ensuring that all stones, roots and sharp objects are removed and that rain water can flow safely and comfortably into a planned and approved drainage area.
  • Shape and build any retaining walls you have planned.
  • Lay down building plastic, weed matting or pond liner in areas where there will be no plants. This should be done as seamlessly as possible, but if you need to overlap the sheets, make sure that the overlapped area is sufficient to prevent weed growth.
  • Test the future rainwater drainage by pouring water over the plastic and adjusting the levels under any area where water congregates.
  • If you are having a pond or submerged water feature, install it at this stage. Ensure it is leak-free, that the electric cable is protected by conduit, and is connected to a power supply using approved outdoor electrical fittings.
  • If you plan to have plants in the ground, or in pots, lay submerged drip irrigation pipe to water them. The more you can automate the watering the less maintenance it will be.
  • Lay down the final aggregate(s), mulch and materials of your choice over the site as per your design.
  • Install any artificial lawn areas, and arrange decorative features such as bridges, columns urns or statues where you planned them.
  • Position your chosen material for a walking path and, if you are using individual stepping stones, ensure that short people can walk comfortably along the steps.

Sculpting the Hard Landscape Garden

When you have everything the way you want it, take a hard-earned rest and enjoy your new creation.

Turning a water-greedy garden into a maintenance free hard landscape garden, not only means you don’t have to spend endless time on pruning, mowing, digging and weeding – if you leave out a water feature – you will know you are also saving one of our most precious resources – water!



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