If you are looking to reduce the amount of landscape on your property and thus reduce your water usage, consider adding hardscape. Defined as the non-living elements of landscaping, hardscape consists of stone walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, wooden decks and wooden arbors.
Of course, pervious (or permeable) hardscape is preferable to impervious hardscape because it allows water and oxygen to penetrate the ground and soil where they benefit plants long-term. One of the most popular approaches to hardscape is the addition of flagstone walkways and patios. Decorative materials such as decomposed granite, pebbles or river rock are also attractive additions to your hardscape. These are all considered pervious materials. Other materials to consider are pavers, brick, cut stone and gravel. A rather exotic but very “green” material that can be beautiful in your landscape is recycled tumbled glass.
To see these materials, take a visit to WaterSaver Lane at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Each of the landscape styles feature examples of a hardscape that you can incorporate into your own landscape. A great way to incorporate hardscape is to remove any existing landscape materials and replace them with hardscape materials such as a bench, or arbor and fountain for a relaxing outdoor living space. Place a bird feeder in the area and enjoy watching the birds that will come to the feeder and fountain. They will be extremely happy about the water and you’ll be pleased with your lower water bill!