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Using extra yard space for HARDSCAPING additions

Outdoor living spaces are a growing trend in Maryland for over the last few years. A large backyard is a major draw to many homeowners. If you’re tired of looking at wide open spaces, but are hesitant to add more plants and shrubs, consider adding a hardscape addition to your property. Hardscapes consist of all the non-living portions of your landscape, including: patios, retaining walls, walkways, fire pits and grills, and outdoor kitchens. Hardscape additions create lovely and useful new areas for social gatherings, as well as beautiful focal points for unwinding in your backyard oasis. The added bonus of hardscaping is that it can boost curb appeal, resulting in an increased home value on of 5-10% (on average).

When designing your HARDSCAPE, here are four factors to keep in mind:

  • Functionality/usability

  • Budget

  • Space

  • Circumstances/situations

FUNCTIONALITY: To get the most out of your handscaping, always consider the functionality or usability of your space and your intended purpose of the space. If you frequently have friends over for a cookout, then a grill or outdoor kitchen may be an option for you. If your landscape is a place of serenity and peace, then consider a bubbling boulder, water feature or a Zen garden.

BUDGET: Designing your dream handscape can be exciting and overwhelming with so many possibilities, until you’re running full-force into the reality of “how much of my budget can I allocate into this project?” Keep in mind what’s important to you, and how you want your hardscape to function. Is this a project you would like to complete all at once, or do you want to make changes in phases? If you continue in phases, consider the big picture. For example, if you would like to have a gas fireplace at some point - but not in the initial phase, let your landscaper know so that they can prepare the foundation with a gas line. Otherwise, you may end up having to remove the ground work later which could result in additional time and money.

SPACE: A limitation in handscaping is the available space, but you can always work with what you got! If you have an extremely sloped yard, you may think about building a deck to provide a more level space, or including a retaining wall to help level off the land. If your landscape is small, a pergola seating area might be an option to make the area feel more socialized – when you can’t move outwards, move upwards!

CIRCUMSTANCES: There are so many reasons for buying a home and hardscaping it – first-time home, forever home, vacation home, empty nester’s renovation etc. If you’re a first-time home buyer but have plans to purchase another home later on, you may not want to dive into an all-out dream hardscape. Perhaps, you have a baby on the way – you might then need to keep in mind a landscape where your child can run around safely. You may want to install non-slip surfaces and avoid projects with sharp edges like a fire table. The circumstances or situations you are in are important to the hardscape you design.

Now that you’ve planned out the function, budget, space and circumstance, you can begin the process of looking at what features you may consider for you landscape project.


PERGOLAS: These structures are perfect to provide shaded areas for relaxing or entertaining. Pergolas are fun to decorate with curtains or lights to make your own little oasis in your backyard.


What’s better than one kitchen? Two kitchens! With the luxury of grills, sinks, fridges and a sound system, outdoor kitchens provide an exciting place for entertainment and socialization. The return on investment of an outdoor kitchen is astounding – home value can increase up to 20% (In Maryland-percentage varies from state to state) with this gorgeous hardscape addition.


Fire pits, fireplaces and fire tables provide a warm and comforting ambiance to your landscape. They give you a feeling of camping without leaving your backyard. Consider a wood-burning option if the smell and warmth is important to you, but be mindful of the cleanup required and fire safety precautions. For a very low-maintenance but still visually pleasing option, consider a gas fire feature.


The sounds of moving water are soothing which can be a big motivator for people who choose these types of water features. Rooted In Nature loves water features near patios and windows to help you feel immersed in relaxation. Water fountains, as well as other water features can offer a great return on investment - but be mindful of the maintenance of these features, such as clean up and winterization.


Patios are so versatile – they can fit any style or theme and you can mix with other hardscaping additions for more functionality. There are many options to making patios a year-round opportunity as well, such as including a fire pit, installing heaters or adding a shelter-like structure. You can’t go wrong with a patio.

Ready to talk to a pro and make the most of your backyard space? Please feel free to contact us at 443-846-0199 or

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