Skip to main content

Getting Creative With Hardscapes

By September 1, 2015October 6th, 2018Uncategorized
hardscape stairs and sidewalk

It’s late summer in Lake Tahoe, the leaves and pine needles are beginning to fall, and the flowers are enjoying their final summer bloom. The green of the summer fades fast in South Lake Tahoe. Very quickly, we are left with gardens devoid of color and paths of hard-packed brown earth, which can rapidly turn to mud with fall rain and winter snow. Hardscaping can allow you the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful, enjoyable outdoor space year round.

To many, the term “hardscape” might conjure up images of flat grey concrete, which is burning hot in the summer, flat, and ugly in the spring and fall. This is not true at all! Hardscapes can be a creative way to improve your outdoor living space with beautiful stonework designed in harmony with vegetation.

For the last 20 years, Tahoe Outdoor Living, under Tahoe Paving Stones, has designed and installed many creative hardscape features with workmanship guaranteed for 7 years and a lifetime guarantee on materials.




What is a “hardscape”?

Hardscape refers to any solid landscaping surface or structure, from patios and decks to retaining walls and driveways. The ‘hard’ elements are non-living features of a garden. Meanwhile, softscape refers to the elements of a landscape that are alive, such as flowers, grass, shrubs, and trees. Blending softscape and hardscape elements can create a beautifully creative and functional outdoor space.

Hardscaping helps provide an attractive year round ‘backbone’ structure for your garden. Done well, it can be visually compelling and provide you with the foundation for a beautiful year-round living space. Paired with good lighting, hardscapes can also be great areas for enjoying evenings outdoors and entertaining guests.

Studies show that hardscaping can add 12 to 15 percent to the value of your home.


How to Create a Stunning Hardscaped Living Area


  • Research is Fundamental
    Hardscapes are not easily moved. Be sure that you are completely happy with your plans and placement before you get going. Our landscape architect is happy to assist with project planning.
  • Consider Your Whole Garden
    Even if you will only be working in one small section of your landscape, have an overall plan that works well with the rest of your outdoor living space.
  • Beware of Mother Nature!
    Placing a wall/patio in your garden may be a great idea, but when the rain falls, and a pond begins to form, it might not seem so wonderful. Always consider runoff and movement of rain and snow on your property.
  • Create Focal Points
    Create one or two visual elements that draw your design together such as a water feature or dry creek bed, a patio or sitting area.
  • Keep the Greenery
    Resist the urge to pull every living thing from your beautiful new hardscape. Plants provide ‘greenness and beauty’ that complements the structure of your hardscaping and allows it to transition gracefully into the rest of your landscape.
  • Remember the Experts are Always on Hand
    Structural elements like walls really need some professional expertise and at Tahoe Outdoor Living (Tahoe Paving Stones) we can design and build a structured, easy to maintain outdoor living space specifically for your family.


3 Great ideas for a Great Hardscaped Garden in South Lake Tahoe

  1. outdoor kitchen

    Outdoor kitchens are a great way to entertain.

    Cozy Up By a Fire Pit
    For that perfect outdoor living space include a fire pit and create an epicenter for your outdoor home. The perfect socializing spot for those chilly days and evenings in the spring and fall.

  2. Entertain in an Outdoor Kitchen
    Summers in Lake Tahoe are famous for their endless days of sunshine and great evening temperatures, which are perfect for grilling. Consider including an outdoor kitchen in your hardscape design.
  3. Dry Creeks for Natural Flows
    Enhance your garden year round and build some inspiring integrated landscape features. Dry creeks are a unique, sustainable and creative way to give the impression of movement and flowing water in your garden- without actually using water. They also help to divert runoff on your property and create natural drainage.


Finally, A Word on Permitting

While permeable pavers can infiltrate stormwater, paved areas are considered “coverage” by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). It’s important to get a site assessment and go through proper permitting processes before installing your hardscape.

Fortunately, Tahoe Outdoor Living is here to help! In addition to designing and installing your hardscape features, we will gladly take care of all permitting procedures with TRPA.


Get Started Today!

Contact Phyllis at (530) 544-8873 or [email protected]