Any garden or outdoor living space can benefit from a hardscape design. Simply put, hardscaping consists of the hard objects in your yard, including stone, bricks, water features, and gazebos. These elements create balance with the plants and add focus and dimension to a landscape. If you've decided to build a hardscape design outside of your own home, try some of these tips to help you make a successful backyard transformation.

1) Plan your design with a focal point in mind.

You'll need to determine what hardscaping element will be the centerpiece of your design. For example, you may choose to add a fountain or stone fire pit that will draw attention immediately. A great landscape design strategy is to choose something that matches the proportions of your yard. In other words, don't pick a large statue that towers over six feet high to go into a small backyard garden. Once you know what your core item will be, you can create your plan outward from that focal point. You could build a seating wall around the fire pit or place stone benches near the fountain. Having a clear, main feature will bring your overall vision to life. If you're not sure where to start with your design, you can always work with a professional to craft your ideal plan.

2) Be sure to set up a water drainage solution.

Your hardscaping project should include a plan for water runoff. If you don't account for where rainwater will go, your hardscaping elements could experience major problems. Puddles can settle around the hardscaping in your yard to create mud, and the foundation of brick retaining walls can weaken significantly. It's important that you ensure that a build-up of moisture doesn't accumulate in the wrong places. Avoid installing raised hardscaping elements in the way of your yard's water runoff paths, and consider creating artificial trenches or ditches if the layout of your lawn doesn't provide natural drainage options.

3) Don't be afraid to call professionals for any complicated parts of your plan.

Hardscaping can certainly be a DIY project, but there might be some pieces of your design that require a little help. For instance, hardscaping professionals can assist in preparing your land for the architectural work that will be added. Trained technicians will know exactly how to create a proper foundation, which decreases the likelihood that your hardscaping could sink which is a risk if you have clay-rich soil on your property. If you have even the slightest uncertainty about how to anchor a retaining wall or safely place a gazebo in a sloping yard, it's best to call upon skilled professionals to lend a hand.

For the greatest success in your hardscaping project, these tips will help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.