October 12, 2016


If you’re discussing a new home project with a home designer and the topic of outside hardscapes doesn’t come up, we’d suggest you look for another designer.

The outside is not simply a space that surrounds your home and can be “filled in” later. It’s an extension of the inside — and as such, it deserves equal attention.

When the David Hopkins Design team begins a project, we look at the outdoors as an opportunity to set the stage for the interior of the home. By the time visitors walk to the front door, we want them to know they have come to a truly special and unique place.

The double duty of hardscapes

As we all know, first impressions count. We love hardscapes because they’re versatile and can be used in so many interesting ways. They bring mass and scale to an assembly — and can be used to provide both backdrop and details.

But hardscapes are not limited to serving only an aesthetic purpose. Just as we do on the inside of the home, we try to create private spaces where clients can relax and unwind. Hardscapes are the perfect tool for designing these outdoor rooms.

The water feature in this waterfront project is a good illustration of hardscapes’ double duty as artistic and practical elements.

We combined various materials — steel, large rocks, small rocks, concrete — as well as plants to create a private space, just 30 feet away from the beach. The clients can enjoy a peaceful and private setting while listening to the calming water feature, even though the property is located right off a relatively busy city street.

Debunking the idea of perfection

Before any plants go in, concrete, rock and retaining-wall features have to be in place. This is where clients can sometimes become anxious because it may be difficult for them to envision the completed assembly as it comes together in stages.

This is especially true for those who love the idea of everything to be perfect. The best advice we can give at this stage is: patience.

The reason we ask for patience is simple. The final assembly — the finished space — takes just the right blend of perfect materials (like geometrically precise concrete walls or stainless-steel fixtures) and imperfect ones that reflect nature.

By combining the perfect with the imperfect, we achieve synergy and balance in the outside spaces. Spaces that, in the end, can truly be described as “perfect.”

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