Landscaping 101 – Hardscape Vs. Softscape

Before you start calling residential landscaping contractors for quotes, it would be a good idea to be very clear about what is it that you want to be done on your property. Landscaping gives you an incredible array of choices for any type of space, and while landscaping contractors will help you ensure the choices you make are good, you will need to know where these choices lead.

Luckily, the Internet is here to help you get some great landscaping ideas, but it can also get confusing sometimes. Take the terms ” hardscape ” and “softscape ” for example. You’ll often read that these two need to be in balance. Balance is great, but if you don’t know what softscape and hardscape are, you won’t really know what is it that you need balancing. So let us explain.

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What Is Hardscape?
All of the big, heavy, and inanimate objects that are used in landscaping are a part of the hardscape. Rocks are a part of the hardscape. Patios and walkways are a part of the hardscape. If you want to have a swimming pool, you’ll be having another feature that falls under hardscape on your property. Arbors and gates are also a part of hardscape.

In any landscaping project, a landscaping contractor will work on the hardscape first. Hardscape determines the shapes and the sizes of the space, but it also involves all of the elements that are harder to remove or put into another position later. Hardscaping is the most labor intensive part of a landscaping project, and it’s usually the most expensive part.

What Is Softscape?
Once you’ve dug up and installed a pool or a pond, put up the walls around your property, and made all the paths that will allow you to move around the property, the next step is to get some living things on your property.

Every landscaping element that can grow is a part of the softscape. Trees are a part of softscape, as are grass, shrubs, and flowers. In fact, you can even call the soil you need to be able to grow all of these plants a part of softscape. Elements of the softscape are easier to move than the elements of the hardscape.

In fact, you can do much of it on your own, if you want to grow your own garden. Softscaping is also less labor intensive and costly and hardscaping, but softscaping elements will require more maintenance.

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