Are you looking for a way to make your paths and patios a more decorative part of your backyard design? These surfaces, collectively known as the hardscapes, are just as important as the plants and water features when it comes to your landscaping. The following are just a few ideas to take them from plain to amazing.
Idea #1: Skip the concrete
Concrete patio pads and sidewalks are the builder's grade option for more homes. Consider replacing the old paved surfaces, especially if they are old and cracked, with new stone or brick pavers. You can get these in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors. Neat brick or cobblestone works well for a formal or cottage look, while a more rustic stone or flagstone surface gives a more natural flair to the space.
Idea #2: Try a dye job
If the patios and sidewalks are in good condition and you can't justify a replacement, concrete acid dying can be just the thing. This process uses a special dye to tint the concrete a new color. You can have a mosaic tinted onto the concrete, or you can have it dyed to look like stone tiles. Once dyed, it is sealed and polished so that you can't even tell that it used to be concrete.
Idea #3: Add some wood
Small foot paths and walkways in most yards are made of concrete or stone pavers. Why not get creative and try wood? You can use thick-cut rounds from a durable hardwood tree much the same way that you would use stepping stones or pavers to create a path. Just make sure the wood you choose is either naturally rot-resistant or treated to resist rot.
Idea #4: Get detailed
Small details can go a long way toward dressing up boring hardscapes. For example, use decorative rock, brick, or stone to create a decorative edge around paved surfaces. Not only will this add a pop of color, it will also give the pavement a more finished appearance. You can also add in some decorative touches, such as tiles or small stone mosaics, by sinking them into the concrete before it cures. There are even nighttime options, such as tiles treated to glow in the dark, or solar tiles that actually store energy and then produce a soft glow once the sun sets. The little splashes of color break up the expanse of concrete and make it more attractive.
Talk to a landscaper or hardscaping specialist for more ideas.