What are the Differences Between Hard and Soft Landscaping?
The chances are you’ve heard of the terms hard and soft landscaping. But what do they really mean?
When you’re redeveloping your garden, you need a good blend of the two so it’s important you understand the distinctions.
Here at Gardenscapes, we understand the importance of both hard and soft landscaping and have put together a guide explaining the two elements and how they can help enhance your garden.
What is hard landscaping?
In short, hard landscaping refers to all the hard materials in your garden, be it concrete, bricks or stone. Hardscape items are inanimate objects and don’t change, making them essential to tying your garden together with the rest of your home – and the outside world.
As well as the basics, hard landscaping can also incorporate the likes of water features, gazebos, patios, decking and driveways.
Hard landscaping forms the foundation of your outdoor space and shouldn’t be overlooked. Often landscapers can neglect the hard landscaping side of a job, tending to focus on plants and other softer features.
However, doing this can leave your garden unbalanced and there is also an environmental benefit to hard landscaping when done properly.
For example, if you install a pavement in your garden, it can help with runoff from rain, carrying water into soil and grass and providing it with the necessary nutrients to grow. As well as this, certain paving types may also be porous meaning water can soak directly into the soil below.
What is soft landscaping?
In a similar way that hard landscaping refers to hard materials, soft landscaping refers to soft ones. In particular, soft landscaping focuses on things that grow in your garden such as flowers, shrubs and trees.
Soft landscaping is a lot more changeable, particularly when you consider that the vast majority is alive. This means that as the seasons change, your soft landscaping may change too. For example, when it comes to plants, in wintertime you may decide to go for things such as pansies, snowdrops and honeysuckle. But when the temperature increases, begonias, geraniums and petunias are more appropriate.
Ponds hold the unique position of being both hard and soft landscaping. While the brickwork and construction materials of a pond are inherently hard landscaping, the greenery that surrounds it comes under the umbrella of soft landscaping, combining the two landscaping elements in perfect harmony.
Why is it important to balance hard and soft landscaping?
Both hard and soft landscaping play an integral role in the overall look and feel of your garden. You cannot have one without the other, and to keep the aesthetics nicely balanced, a good blend of the two is required.
Many people neglect hard landscaping somewhat. This is mainly because soft landscaping is often perceived as more enjoyable than the alternative. But, it’s important not to fall into this trap.
Having significantly more soft elements than hard can make your garden feel a bit like a jungle. Conversely, an outdoor space that is predominantly made up of hard landscaping can make it look coarse, commercial and not very appealing for visitors.
Therefore, striking that perfect balance between the two is the way to go.
If you’re on the lookout for a garden design and landscaping service that are experts in both hard and soft landscaping, then Gardenscapes are the ones for you. Whatever your requirements, the dedicated team are always on hand to create an outdoor space you can be proud of. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today.