You are speaking with your landscape professional and hear the terms “landscape” and “hardscape” being used. You start wondering what the difference is between them and what each term really means! The answer is simple enough to understand but encompasses a third term: “softscape.” So what are these three terms?
Put plainly, “softscaping” is the living elements of your design while “hardscaping” refers to the nonliving pieces. “Landscape” is the overall term that encompasses both your softscaping and hardscaping. Let’s dive in to each and discuss how considering both aspects is essential to a successful landscape project.
Hardscaping is the nonliving part of your landscape design. These can be rocks, boulders, and bricks but can also include structures such as pergolas, arbors, and patios which are used specifically in your landscape. What materials you use and how you incorporate them into your design is very important to your overall landscape. These materials are not purely aesthetic but must also be considered for the role they will play in how your landscape functions. Will your hardscaping act as a protective barrier for your landscape design? Are you looking to use hardscaping to aid in water erosion prevention and have you considered how it will affect water drainage? A lack of planning could lead to flooding or too much water deprivation, both of which could be disastrous to your project. These are all things to consider when planning a hardscape installation.
Your hardscaping, too, should work with, and compliment, your home. You want the two to be seamless and visually pleasing. For example, if you have river rock as part of the exterior of your home, consider using similar materials in your hardscaping to create a cohesive design. If going for a more natural look, consider curved lines and rounded edges. Too many straight lines and hard edges detract from the natural feel. You want your overall landscape to feel planned, but visually appealing.
Now let’s consider softscaping. To have a successful landscape, your softscaping and hardscaping should work in unison.
Softscaping, as described above, consists of the living elements in your landscape project. For this, we usually think of flowers and plants but trees and shrubs are also part of softscaping. When planning your softscaping, consider how the various plants, flowers, etc. will mature. Will they end up working against your hardscaping? Is it possible that your softscaping will have a difficult time thriving in its current placement? Will your plants receive enough water and sunlight to survive? You want to plan your softscaping to compliment various hardscaping focal points be that a patio, deck, pool, or even a walkway.
Also when planning your softscaping, it is essential to consider how much maintenance your plants will require. Do you need your plants to be a little more self-sufficient or do you have the time and desire to give them more attention? Are the plants you have chosen going to thrive in your local climate? This is something to discuss with your landscaping professional when choosing what type of softscaping to install. He or she will be able to tell you what will work best to achieve your landscape goals.
Considering all of this, it is fair to say your landscape is truly the sum of its parts: hardscaping and softscaping. Planning ahead is the best way to create a thriving, successful landscape where elements work together harmoniously. Consider your overall goal. Do you want your own private island oasis? Perhaps you are looking for a woodland feel? These projects can increase your curb appeal, better your outdoor experience, and increase overall home value. Your ideal outdoor oasis could be one well-planned project away! What would be your ideal home landscaping aesthetic?
NVS Landscapes offers Hardscaping Services to create beautiful spaces. Contact us using the form below if you’re interested in a quote, or give us a call!