Learn About Materials
Although plants are considered the mainstay of many landscapes, it is important to remember that other landscape materials are available that will add to the beauty and function of your yard. For example, you may want to incorporate hardscape or structures into your landscape plan. These include the following design elements:
  • patios and ramadas
  • walkways
  • boulders
  • a barbecue or fire pit
  • built-in planters and seating areas
  • a swimming pool, spa or fountain
  • walls or fences to separate or screen an area
  • trellises that support vines and soften the look of fences and exterior walls

Annuals and perennials in planters can provide seasonal color.
Photo credit: Charles Mann, Charles Mann Photography

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You can choose from a wide variety of materials and colors. Consider materials like flagstone, bricks, exposed aggregate and colored concrete in addition to more traditional hardscape materials like natural colored concrete and pool-decking. Also consider adding interest in the landscape by incorporating unusual shapes or a combination of hardscape materials into your landscape design.

Investigate your hardscape and structural options before planning your landscape. Purchase some landscape design books (there are several available in paperback) and house and garden magazines, or borrow some books from the library. While visiting neighborhoods and other public areas for plant possibilities, take time to observe how hardscape and structural features have been incorporated into landscape designs. You may want to visit some landscape materials suppliers as well to see what's available locally (look in the Yellow Pages under Landscape, Garden, and Lawn and Garden).
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Annuals and perennials in planters can provide seasonal color. A variety of different agaves grow in the shade of a mesquite tree. Agaves and spiderwort provide a rainbow of color in their leaves and stems. The flagstone pathway and the walled-in front patio define the structure and planting areas of this yard. Seasonal Flowers soften the edges of a flagstone walkway. A small water feature surrounded by desert plants (Autumn Sage - red, Desert Marigold - yellow, and Parry

Additional Resources:
Patios & Paths

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