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Minnesotans Pave the Way with Hardscaping

Hard • scape: The inanimate elements of landscaping, especially any masonry work or woodwork. For example, stone walls, concrete or brick patios, paver paths, wooden decks, and wooden arbors would all be considered part of the hardscape. But by extension, anything used in landscaping that is not part of the softscape can be considered a hardscape element, including home accents such as water features and, yes, even pink flamingoes!

During the last decade, there has been a strong infusion of hardscape elements into residential landscapes. “Hardscaping” is gaining popularity due to its ability to tie the architecture of a home to the landscape surrounding it. By blending components of hardscaping with traditional landscaping elements, landscape professionals can help create a serene outdoor environment for your entire family to enjoy.

Since Minnesota is home to many major national manufacturers of hardscaping products, the state is always on the leading edge of the growing hardscaping trend. And, homeowners are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of using hardscape materials in patios, walkways, and driveways.

Patios, Walkways, and Driveways

Hardscaping materials for patios, walkways, and driveways are available in a wide range of types, colors, textures, and patterns. If you're striving for a more natural look, you may want to consider using limestone, sandstone, or granite for walks and patios. Concrete pavers allow for a more modern, tailored look for your patio, path, or driveway. Also, they are often stronger than typical concrete and allow for the freezing and thawing typical of Minnesota winters. Whether you install the project yourself or have a qualified contractor do the work, make sure you take a little extra time to review the information in the table (see Table 1) in order to get the best possible results.

Editor's Note: There is a table and photos available to run with this story and you can receive them by e-mailing .

To find a landscape professional, hardscape supply center, or garden center in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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