How do you design a hardscape?

The hardscape, i.e. designing with roots and/or stones, is a very important part of aquascaping.


Designing with stones
Designing solely with stones is called "Iwagumi" and it comes from Japan. Root wood is not used in this case; the harmony of the stones is the focus of the layout. The substrate structure has been formed with DeponitMix and Nano Shrimp Gravel. An uneven number of stones is important for the perfect design. The dominant rock is placed on the right hand side and the second-largest one points in a different direction. Smaller stones emphasise the natural effect and simplicity of the hardscape. Planting only low-growing and small plants preserves the dominance of the stone design.


Designing with roots
The design structure here proceeds from the left-hand side. The tank is filled with a deep layer of DeponitMix nutrient substrate and Nano Shrimp Gravel on the left-hand side. A decorative horizontal swamp root is the dominant component of the layout. Smaller stones support the natural look. Higher-growing plants are placed in the rear-left corner. Low growing plants are placed near the root. Later on, the root should appear as if it grew there, like an old tree's root system. Tall plants that rise up in the background in one corner form the strong point in this type of design.


Designing with stones and roots
Both materials are harmoniously combined in this design. DeponitMix, Nano Shrimp Gravel and beige-coloured decorative sand make up the substrate structure. The stone and root structure rises up in both corners and is divided by a "gorge". The ratio of the two stone and root groups should be 3:2 in order to create a harmonious effect. In this example we used colourful sandstone from the Palatinate Forest in combination with two different types of roots. The small branches of the swamp roots emphasise the special mood of this hardscape.