It's time to think outside of the box when it comes to your landscape design. Many homeowners limit themselves to using only plants when they are landscaping, but adding a few hardscape elements can do wonders to enhance the appearance of your backyard. The land of hardscaping is vast and can open up a whole world of landscaping opportunity.

There are so many things that you can add to your landscape other than flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. Hardscape elements can add a touch of personality to a landscape design in ways that plants sometimes can't. Read on to see some great hardscape elements that you can use in your landscape.

Architectural Elements
Adding pieces of architecture to your landscape is a wonderful way to beautify your backyard. There are many different pieces of architecture that you can use in your backyard. Arches with lovely woodwork designs are a popular choice. They can stand alone as focal points or they can be used to lead to a certain area of your backyard--like to a garden, for example. You can make them look even more beautiful by growing vines on them. Bridges are another great choice. They are perfect if you are planning on creating a pond or brook in your backyard. They are also great to place over a rocky area or any area that is a little difficult or dangerous to walk through. If you love to mediate, then a pagoda would also make a wonderful addition to your backyard. Pagodas are gorgeoous temple-like structures with beautiful architectural designs.

Garden Ornaments
Bring a little playfulness and whimsy into your landscape design with garden ornaments. Garden ornaments might seem a tad kitschy to some people, but they can make beautiful additions to backyards and there are many ways to tone them down. First, buy your garden ornaments in muted and earth toned colors. Also, do not place them all over your yard. Instead, place them singularly or in small groups. A small family of bronze colored frogs would add a lovely touch near a pond or fountain, for example.

Sculptures
With sculptures you can create your own sculpture garden in your backyard. There are many different sculptures to choose from. Right now modern sculptures are growing in popularity. Some sculptures can also serve as garden lighting, like moonlight globes, for example.

Outdoor Cooking Equipment
Outdoor cooking equipment can be both functional and beautiful. Pizza ovens and outdoor kitchen islands add a terrific design element to landscapes. Outdoor kitchen islands can even become the central focus of the backyard. Some homeowners create large entertainment areas that revolve around their built in BBQ grills. Outdoor kitchen islands can be bought pre-made or you can have one custom designed for your home. Homeowners love outdoor kitchen islands because they can cook outside and still have all of the perks of an indoor kitchen. For the pizza enthusiast, an outdoor pizza oven is a must. A stone or brick pizza oven can add a beautiful rustic look to your landscape design.