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Beautifying Your Paver Project with Softscaping
Where there are hard lines, there should also be soft edges. The use of greenery and plant life, known as softscaping, counters the structural lines of pavers providing natural softness, varying textures and a colorful backdrop. Here are some helpful tips to find the perfect balance between hardscaping and softscaping.
Choose pavers that complement plants
Trees and woody plants with their richly textured bark and the browns of their trunks go well with pavers that have a natural appearance and earthy brown undertones such as Beacon Hill Flagstone.
Decorative grasses have a minimalist feel, fine texture and understated elegance. Match these with a paver with similar characteristics such as Umbriano.
A lush, deep greens softscape is enhanced by the addition of deep charcoal-colored pavers such as Richcliff in the Smoke Shale color option, or Unilock Limestone in Black River. Both will bring greens to the forefront of your landscape design.
The free-flow arrangement of an English country garden calls for a paver with an old-world feel such as Courtstone, which is available in a wide range of colors to complement the delicate and varied textures of flowers and leaves.
Turn a retaining wall into a planter
Retaining walls often serve as raised planting beds. A combination of both tall and low-growing shrubs softens the upper level and balances the hard vertical of the wall itself. To further break up the strong horizontal lines of the retaining wall, add flowers, vines and ground cover that cascade over the side of the wall coping.
Soften the edges of your patio
Breaking up a spacious patio with plants contrasts with the hard textures. Plant soft, flowing grasses and blooming flowers in retaining wall planters. Use potted plants and small trees in planting beds near the edges of a patio to add intimacy and warmth. Overhead structures like an archway or pergola can be used for hanging flower baskets or draping vines, which further contribute greenery to a paved patio.
Blur the lines of your stairs and walkways
On their own, stairs have hard, square angles. Install garden beds at different levels filled with voluminous plants, or place potted plants on the edges of the stairs to create a warm, welcoming stairway.
Low-growing plants and ornamental grasses are ideal alongside paver walkways for a softer aesthetic. Create your very own secret garden by using taller shrubs and trees along meandering walkways. The vertical presence of these plants add drama to curved edges.
Bring softscaping poolside
Your pool area can be transformed into a lush oasis through the clever use of greenery. Clusters of plants in planters near the pool visually soften the hard edges of your pool’s construction and paver floor. Beds of flowers and ornamental grasses at the patio edge introduce color and soft movement, while small trees and shrubs can be used to separate the pool from the rest of your yard, all while providing additional privacy.
It takes little effort to incorporate greenery and flowers into your landscape design – but the beautiful payoff can be dramatic. Take photos of your stairs, walkways and patio areas, and then talk to a local nursery or garden center about locally grown plants to help you plan your softscaping today.