Creating An Outdoor Space With A Balance Of Hardscape And Softscape Elements
Beautiful landscaping can do wonders for both residential and commercial properties. To achieve the desired look, it helps to understand the different terms and elements that go into creating an attractive outdoor space. Below, we’ll go over two important fundamentals of landscaping as well as a few tips to help bring life and balance to your open-air escape.
Before laying out a design, it’s best to be familiar with the types of elements you’ll want to incorporate. While each landscape design is unique, they all have a similar goal: balance. Producing this sense of alluring composure requires both hardscape and softscape elements. What’s more, these components should be creatively applied with the intention to establish a meaningful and complete look.
What do hardscape and softscape mean? Hardscape refers to the inanimate elements and features in landscaping. From a colorful brick patio or simple gravel path to an ornate stone birdbath or rich cedar deck, these manmade articles serve a purpose and support the space’s structure.
Conversely, softscape essentially describes the living elements in landscaping, such as the soil, trees and hedges. It also encompasses aspects of lawn care, such as maintaining a lush, grassy area. As plant life often changes with the seasons, softscape is typically seen as temporary whereas hardscape is more permanent. Many hardscape elements lay a foundation for the entire design and, therefore, are established first.
As both serve a purpose, incorporating each throughout the design is important. However, certain elements interact with one another better than others. Because of the inconsistent relationships, homeowners or those designing a commercial space need to focus on coordinating them in an efficient and effective manner.
A great area to start is the driveway. Whether it’s a long, winding road or a conventional approach, there are many ways to spruce it up. For extended drives, consider lining both sides with oak trees in a symmetrical spread. Doing so enhances the ambiance while the road still serves its purpose. Shorter driveways could benefit from a row of shrubs or simple stepping stones running alongside the length.
Another area where hardscape and softscape elements can come together harmoniously is in fencing. Securing privacy or erecting a border can be done stylishly when considered carefully. For instance, a retaining wall used in conjunction with plants works to elevate the earth in an elegant display while concealing what lies behind. A simpler idea could be to plant tall hedges along a stone wall. The goal is to walk the line between looking too industrial or too unkempt.
A backyard can become a wonderful escape from our day-to-day stressors. Remember, as you work to create an outdoor oasis of your own, plan ahead, be patient and reach out for help when needed. Soon enough you’ll be relaxing in the nature retreat of your dreams!
For additional tips on striking a balance between hardscape and softscape elements, please see the accompanying resource.
Infographic created by Sweep-All, a driveway sweeper provider