Softscape vs Hardscape Design: What’s the Difference?

Are you looking for landscaping ideas to take your home’s curb appeal to the next level? Perhaps you’re one of the thousands of Americans who’ve caused seed sales to escalate by 63% in recent times. 

Either way, if you’ve discovered a newfound love of gardening, you’re surely in search of new things to try. Get started by finding out more about softscape and hardscape design and how they impact your yard’s aesthetic.

What is Hardscape Design?

As the name suggests, hardscaping features are the solid elements found in many yards. These include:

  • Paving 
  • Concrete fixtures
  • Gravel
  • Stones and rocks

They’re an important part of any yard, used for walkways, patios, retaining, walls, water features, or raised flower beds. You can view some examples of hardscaping on Hydrodynamicscorp.com or hardscapesusa.com.

Apart from their functional uses, hardscaping elements prevent your garden from looking like an unkempt jungle. 

What is Softscape Design?

Softscaping includes all the soft, living elements of a garden. Flowers, groundcovers, lawns, trees, and shrubs are the major elements used in softscaping.

Unless you have an extremely large yard, you can’t incorporate a rose garden, vegetable garden, flower beds, and orchard into one space. 

You’re bound to lose control of all the tasks involved in keeping these plants neat and pest-free. Limit your softscaping to specimens that you can maintain in good order.   

Getting the Balance Right

Hardscaping involves less yard work than softscaping, so it’s tempting to overuse it in your landscaping projects. Yet, too much hardscaping creates an overly formal ambiance and can make your home look like a commercial property.

You can’t have a garden without plants, but an overabundance of them can create an untidy appearance that may impact your entire neighborhood.

The right mix of hardscaping and softscaping features creates a neat, orderly appearance in your yard. So, how do you get the balance right?

Planning Your Yard Design

When deciding on a layout for your yard, the first things to consider are your utility areas.

You need hardscaping for your patio, driveway, outdoor entertainment area, pool paving, and retaining walls. Anything else is purely for decorative appeal.

Like hardscaping, soft features such as a vegetable garden and lawn also have functional aspects to them. So if you want to include these features, put them on your priority list too.

Draw a map of your garden and mark out these priority areas. Try to spread them out to give your space a balanced look. You can plan the rest of your decorative hardscaping and plantings around these mainstays.

The easiest way to get it all laid out in perfect harmony is by hiring a landscaping service to plan or implement everything for you. When you return to work after this craziness, they can help maintain the final design in perfect order too.

Make Your House a Home

Whether you opt for DIY softscape and hardscape design or get professional help from a landscape company, a beautiful garden can add enormous appeal to your leisure time.

It’s a wonderful, tranquil place to hang out with friends, relax, or let the kids run wild. 

For more top tips on how you can make your home or business a better place, browse some more of our blog articles.

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