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Elevate Your Outdoor Space: Hardscaping in Southwest Missouri

I'm Kevin Runyon

…and I’ve been the owner of Custom Creations for over 20 years.

I work with clients around Southwest Missouri to create their outdoor vision, while taking into consideration natural limitations like water flow, topography, and long-term functionality.

People ask why I haven’t expanded my business to run multiple crews, and the answer is simple. I expect perfection on every project. By personally managing and working at every job site, I know each client will get the outcome they desire.

I encourage you to set up a consultation to see what we can do for your outdoor space. Unique ideas welcome!

Hardscaping, a key term in landscape design, refers to the built, non-living elements that provide structure and functionality to outdoor spaces. These features, usually crafted from materials like stone, wood, or concrete, play a vital role in defining the space, as well as the way it’s used. They can be simple or ornate, utilitarian or aesthetic, but they always serve a purpose.

The benefits of hardscaping vary widely depending on the specific hardscaping elements used and the design of the outdoor space. They give form and direction to your landscape design, allowing you to delineate spaces for different activities, provide paths to guide movement, and add vertical elements for visual interest. Hardscapes are also typically resilient and low-maintenance, providing enduring functionality and beauty in all weather conditions.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at different hardscape elements and how they are used in the Ozarks. Whether you’re an avid gardener or just interested in home improvements, you’ll get an idea of some solutions to your landscape issues.


Picture of a charming stone path winding through a lush garden, bordered by vibrant plants - an example of the paths and walkways designed by Custom Creations in the Ozarks.

Paths and walkways are the arteries of your outdoor landscape, guiding foot traffic and connecting different areas with ease and flow. They are an essential hardscape element, providing practicality by defining clear routes around your property while also offering ample opportunities for aesthetic expression.

A walkway can be as simple as a gravel path leading to your front door or as complex as a winding, stone-laid journey through your garden. The choice of material greatly influences the path’s look and feel. For instance, gravel and pebbles can create a more rustic, relaxed atmosphere, while brick and stone materials suggest formality and permanence. Concrete, on the other hand, offers a sleek, modern look.

When designing paths and walkways in Southwest Missouri, always consider their purpose and location. Are you guiding visitors to a particular destination, or encouraging a leisurely stroll through the garden? The path’s design should reflect its intended use. Also, consider the impact of weather: materials should be slip-resistant and able to withstand your region’s climate conditions.

Finally, remember that paths and walkways don’t exist in isolation—they should harmonize with the rest of your landscape design. Whether it’s by echoing the colors of your home, repeating patterns found in your garden, or drawing inspiration from the surrounding natural environment, a well-designed path can blend seamlessly into the landscape while still making a statement of its own.

Patios and Decks

Photo of a high-end patio surrounded by a selection of suitable plants for Missouri, indicative of the patios and decks that can be installed by Custom Creations in Springfield, MO.

Patios and decks serve as the heart of outdoor living, creating welcoming spaces for relaxation, entertainment, or dining al fresco. These hardscape elements can transform any outdoor area into a vibrant extension of your home, blending the comfort of indoor living with the freshness of the outdoors.

Patios, usually built at ground level, are typically constructed from durable materials such as concrete, natural stone, or pavers. These materials lend a grounded, timeless feel to the space, making it a sturdy platform for outdoor furniture or even a grill. However, their design needn’t be dull—using a variety of pavers in different colors, shapes, or laying patterns can yield a patio that’s as visually captivating as it is functional.

Decks, on the other hand, are typically raised platforms made of wood or wood-like materials, including composite decking, which offers the look of wood without the associated maintenance. Whether attached to the house or freestanding, decks add a distinct, warm, and cozy vibe to your outdoor space. They can be a simple flat surface or incorporate features like built-in seating, planters, or even a hot tub.

When designing patios or decks, keep the architectural style of your home in mind. You want this outdoor living space to feel like a natural extension of your indoor space. Consider the size of your furniture and the activities you plan to do in this area to ensure you provide ample room. Finally, remember to plan for privacy and shade so that you can truly relax and enjoy your outdoor retreat.

In the end, whether you opt for a patio or a deck will largely depend on your personal preferences, your budget, the topography of your land, and the desired function of the space. Whichever you choose, these hardscape elements offer a versatile foundation for creating your ideal outdoor oasis.

Walls and Fences

Image of an elegant stone wall providing structure and privacy in a garden, exemplifying the walls and fences services offered by Custom Creations in Marshfield, MO

Walls and fences, the unsung heroes of hardscape design, do more than just mark boundaries and provide privacy. They can add depth, create spaces within spaces, protect delicate plants, and serve as a canvas for decorative elements in your outdoor setting.

Hardscape walls come in two main types: retaining walls and decorative walls. Retaining walls are functional structures designed to hold back soil, manage water runoff, and prevent erosion. They are typically made of stone, brick, or concrete blocks and can add a dramatic touch to sloping yards while creating flat spaces for gardening or seating.

On the other hand, decorative walls can be used to define spaces or provide a backdrop for plants or outdoor artwork. Whether low or high, straight or curved, they can enhance the aesthetics of your landscape by introducing interesting textures, colors, and patterns.

Fences, another staple in hardscaping, range from practical chain-link or wooden privacy fences to more decorative options like wrought-iron or vinyl. Fences can enclose a garden, provide a safe play area for children, or define property lines, all while adding a personal touch to your landscape.

When designing walls and fences, it’s crucial to keep functionality in mind while also considering the overall aesthetic of your landscape. Material choice, color, and design should harmonize with your home’s exterior and other hardscape elements. And remember, even a purely functional wall or fence offers an opportunity for creativity—consider integrating planters, lighting, or decorative accents to make the most of these versatile hardscape features.


Picture of a striking driveway crafted from natural pavers and lined with flowering plants, illustrating the driveway design and installation capabilities of Custom Creations in the Ozarks.

Often regarded simply as a utilitarian feature, driveways can also be a significant hardscape element that adds to the aesthetic appeal of your property. Beyond providing a space for vehicles, a well-designed driveway can enhance curb appeal, guide guests towards your home, and even increase property value.

The choice of materials for driveways can greatly impact their appearance and longevity. Asphalt, a common choice for its cost-effectiveness and durability, lends a classic, clean-lined look. Concrete, while typically more expensive, offers increased longevity and the possibility for decorative finishes such as staining, stamping, or scoring. Pavers—whether brick, concrete, or natural stone—offer a high-end, customizable look, creating a driveway that is both practical and stylish.

In designing a driveway, functionality should not be sacrificed for style. The driveway should be wide enough to comfortably fit vehicles, with a surface that is durable and easy to navigate in all weather conditions. Consideration should also be given to drainage, ensuring that water runoff is properly managed to prevent damage to the driveway or nearby structures.

The driveway’s design should blend harmoniously with the overall landscape and architecture of your home. Consider using edging or borders for a polished look, and echo the colors and materials of your home and other hardscape elements for a cohesive aesthetic.

Remember, your driveway is often the first point of contact for visitors to your property. With thoughtful planning and design, this often overlooked hardscape element can offer a strong first impression while serving its essential functional role.

Water Features

Photo showcasing a serene backyard water feature surrounded by lush, locally suitable plants, representing the water features that can be installed by Custom Creations in Springfield, MO.

Water features bring a unique dynamism to outdoor spaces, introducing movement, sound, and a sense of tranquility that is hard to match with any other hardscape element. Whether it’s the gentle babble of a garden fountain, the mesmerizing flow of a waterfall, or the serene stillness of a pond, water can transform your landscape into a truly immersive sensory experience.

Fountains, in their many forms, are a popular choice for adding a water element to an outdoor space. They can range from ornate stone structures that serve as a central showpiece to small, bubbling features that add subtle charm. Their sound can mask background noise, creating a peaceful oasis even in a bustling neighborhood.

Ponds and waterfalls, on the other hand, bring a touch of wilderness into your yard. Ponds can attract a variety of wildlife and provide an opportunity to grow a different range of plants. Waterfalls, whether standalone or incorporated into a pond, offer an ever-changing play of water and light that is visually captivating.

The choice of materials for your water feature, like natural stone or ceramics, will greatly influence its aesthetic. However, it’s also important to consider the practicalities: proper installation, adequate drainage, and ongoing maintenance needs.

One key design tip when it comes to water features: think about their placement carefully. They should be positioned to be enjoyed from both inside and outside the house, and the sound of water should complement, not overpower, the ambience of your outdoor space.

Whether used as an accent or a centerpiece, water features can add an element of surprise, beauty, and elegance to your outdoor environment. They symbolize the perfect marriage of hardscaping and nature, creating spaces that soothe the mind and invigorate the senses.

Outdoor Living

Image displaying a luxurious outdoor living area with a full outdoor kitchen, a cozy fire pit, and comfortable seating, an example of the outdoor living features that Custom Creations can design and install in the Ozarks.

As more people seek to blur the line between indoor comfort and outdoor enjoyment, features that enhance outdoor living have become a significant part of hardscaping. These elements—such as outdoor kitchens, grilling areas, fireplaces, and seating areas—transform your yard into an extension of your home, allowing for relaxation, entertainment, and dining in the great outdoors.

Outdoor kitchens and grilling areas bring the joy of cooking and dining to your backyard. Built-in barbecues, pizza ovens, or even fully equipped outdoor kitchens with countertops, sinks, and refrigerators make al fresco dining a breeze. These features can be crafted from a range of materials such as brick, stone, or stainless steel, ensuring durability and ease of maintenance.

Fireplaces and fire pits, whether wood-burning or gas-fueled, create a cozy gathering spot for family and friends. They provide warmth on cooler evenings, add a mesmerizing visual element, and can even serve as a place for outdoor cooking. Design options are endless—from traditional stone fireplaces to modern fire pits or even portable options that can be moved as needed.

Outdoor seating areas are another crucial element, offering comfortable spots to relax, socialize, or simply enjoy your surroundings. Built-in benches, lounges, and even daybeds can be incorporated into your hardscape design, often integrating with other elements like decks or patios. They provide an inviting place to pause, reflect, and connect with nature.

When designing these outdoor living features, consider how they will be used and ensure they are positioned for convenience, comfort, and beauty. Aim for a harmonious blend with your home’s architecture and the surrounding landscape, selecting materials and styles that complement the overall design scheme. The goal is to create an outdoor living space that not only meets your functional needs but also serves as a personal retreat, enhancing your enjoyment of your outdoor environment.

Outdoor Lighting

Picture of a beautifully illuminated garden path, highlighting the lighting services offered by Custom Creations in Marshfield, MO

In the realm of hardscaping, outdoor lighting is a powerful, yet often underutilized, element. Beyond providing safety and enhancing security, well-placed lighting can dramatically transform the ambiance of your outdoor space, highlighting architectural features, illuminating paths and driveways, and showcasing the beauty of your garden even after the sun sets.

There are several types of outdoor lighting to consider. Path lighting is essential for guiding the way along walkways and entrances, ensuring safe navigation. Accent lighting can highlight key features such as trees, statues, or water features, adding depth and drama to your landscape. Security lighting, often motion-activated, provides illumination for higher-risk areas like entrances or dark corners, adding an extra layer of safety.

Designing an effective outdoor lighting plan requires a balanced approach. Avoid overly bright lights that may cause glare, and aim for a soft, diffused effect that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Using a combination of light fixtures, such as spotlights, lanterns, and ground lights, can add layers and depth to your outdoor lighting.

Also, consider the use of energy-efficient options such as LED lights. With advancements in technology, these alternatives offer excellent lighting quality, are cost-effective, and reduce the environmental impact.

Remember, outdoor lighting should enhance your hardscape and landscape, not overpower it. When thoughtfully executed, it can extend the usability of your outdoor space into the evening hours and elevate the aesthetics of your property to a new level.

The Role of a Hardscape Contractor

Hardscaping is undoubtedly an essential aspect of landscape design, weaving together functional, durable elements with the softer, living components of your garden. However, effective hardscaping requires a deep understanding of materials, design principles, and environmental considerations. This is where a professional hardscape contractor like Custom Creations can truly make a difference.

We bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, helping clients select the right hardscape elements for their outdoor spaces. Kevin and the team understand how to blend aesthetics with functionality, ensuring that each hardscape feature—from paths and patios to water features and outdoor living spaces—complements the overall design of your property.

But our services extend beyond hardscaping. We also excel in plant installation, understanding the symbiotic relationship between hardscape and greenscape. We know that the best outdoor environments feature a harmonious blend of these elements, and our team is adept at integrating plants into the hardscape design. The result is an outdoor space that feels balanced, cohesive, and uniquely tailored to your preferences and needs.

Whether you’re looking to install a new patio, design an outdoor kitchen, or transform your entire landscape, Custom Creations can bring your vision to life. We are located in Marshfield, Missouri and serve Springfield and the rest of Southwest Missouri. By choosing us as your hardscape contractor, you’re investing in a beautiful, sustainable, and functional outdoor space that will provide enjoyment for years to come.

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With On-Site Consultation

Fill out the form below for a place on our Consultation List. I will call a few days beforehand to confirm the date, time, and what you’re wanting to accomplish. You’re welcome to be there during the walkthrough, but it’s fine if you have to be away.

I do charge a $25 fee for quotes. Consultation fees allow me to work with clients who are serious about their projects. It also allows me to provide more value in each consultation I do. I can spend more time discussing your property including drainage issues, tree/plant evaluations, taking measurements, and discussing improvement options. I create detailed notes and keep them on file so you have a plan to reference in the future.

If you have a specific question or concern about your project, be sure to detail it in the form and I’ll contact you to discuss.

Download our free eBook: 21 Outdoor Living Ideas

Download our free eBook:
21 Outdoor Living Ideas

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