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Hardworking Hardscape

Paths, patios, and pergolas are just a few of the structures that make a garden lively and livable

Fine Gardening - Issue 166

If I had a gardening time machine, I would use it to return to the day I started my garden. Instead of going to the nursery and getting a trunkful of plants, most of which wouldn’t live to see today, I would head to Staples to get some graph paper and a pencil with a big eraser. I would use them to create a framework for my garden with hardscape. Any element in your garden that isn’t a plant is probably hardscape: paths, walls, patios, pergolas, water features, etc. These man-made elements are best planned before any plants go in because of the way they influence the purpose and execution of the design.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to improve your hardscape. Sure, some happy plants might have to move to a temporary home—or be lost altogether. But the improvement in your garden’s design will be worth it.…

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