Unlike other parts of the country, in the Bluegrass when we think of stone in the landscape we immediately envision the limestone walls that line our country roads and pastures. They are considered a trademark of Kentucky — particularly the Bluegrass region. These landscape features evoke a sense of history, but they also illustrate the fact that even the most utilitarian elements of a landscape can be beautiful.  

Hardscapes are considered the non-living parts of a landscape, such as walkways, walls, patios and driving surfaces. Materials range from wood and metal to concrete and stone. In addition to their practical function as a paver, divider or retainer, hardscapes allow for the creation of focal points, gathering spaces and places for peaceful reflection.

Hardscape designs can range from very structured to extremely subtle. Some spaces require definition, and a change in material can be used to signify a transition in use. Other settings necessitate a more restrained approach, and man-made elements can be used to complement and enhance the living aspects of the landscape. 

Human-made or human-placed components in the landscape can also include boulders, fire features, water features, sculptures and other artistic elements. How does it connect with the architecture of your existing home or business? Is it formal or a natural oasis? The possibilities are endless for expressing your lifestyle through a well-planned landscape, but it is easy to get overwhelmed.

Consider the outdoor space that you ultimately want to create. What do you want that space to feel like to you and how do you want others to experience it? Consider what areas of the space are being underutilized. A well-designed plan will combine living elements with human-made materials to create a space that ultimately feels like second nature. 

With the proper balance of plant material and hardscape elements, any space can become extraordinary. The next time you journey down Old Frankfort Pike, pay attention to how something as ordinary as a fence can create not only a stunning landscape, but also an entire experience.

A rustic, ruin-like stone wall was created and combined with a man-made weathered steel door to the forest. (Photo submitted)
Boulders, flagstone, ½-inch limestone chips, Mexican cobbles and man-made pavers combine to create a dynamic contrast in this Japanese inspired garden. (Photo submitted)
A stone pathway through the garden allows visitors to experience the garden and walk through it. (Photo submitted)
Stones create a pathway and focal point in this garden. (Photo submitted)