Landscaping is so much more than meets the eye. To many times, it is overlooked, and something that the gardener just takes care of. The design process is ignored, and everyone just assumes that these picturesque landscapes come together on their own. This is not true of course, and any experienced gardener or landscaper understands that a great landscape is a combination of different pieces that come together to create beauty. Carefully selected plant material, shrubs grown for privacy, and turf cut with precision seen from the street. However, any great landscape is also a combination of hardscape and softscape. These terms might be unfamiliar, but if you are curious about what they mean and how they cohesively come together, read on.

Hardscape vs SoftscapeWhat is Hardscape?

The term itself, “hardscape” is used to refer to any installation on your property consisting of stone or rock. The Oxford dictionary defines hardscape as “the man-made features used in landscape architecture, e.g. paths or walls, as contrasted with vegetation.” Even in the definition of hardscape, we see how it is already referencing its counterpart. In a yin-yang fashion, one cannot exist without the other. Easy examples of hardscapes can be found all across the landscape, with the installation of one typically referred to as “hardscaping.” Some of our favorite hardscape installations include fire pits, patios, walkways, retaining walls, and decorative rock mulch. These have all become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer both aesthetic and functional benefits, and are incredibly sustainable. Requiring almost no maintenance due to their inanimate nature, they take up fewer resources and result in a positive effect on the environment. They are also extremely durable and last for many years when compared to other landscape installations that need replacement every so often.

What is Softscape?

This is the part of landscaping that you are more familiar with, although maybe not using this terminology. Softscape refers to any of the animated objects in your landscape. All of the living material, including plants, shrubs, trees, and even soil. The combination or installation of any of these parts is referred to as “softscaping” although most people would just call it landscaping. Anything you do to manage and maintain these pieces of your landscape also falls into this category, with activities such as edging, grading, pruning, trimming, aerating, and the like. Obviously, many of these services are essential to a great-looking landscape. Compared to hardscapes these installations require much more maintenance, and they are more prone to damage and death. You have to worry about disease and pests, as well as storms. This is why they are so effectively used in combination with hardscapes. While hardscapes are sturdy and foundational, softscapes offer colorful happiness to the property. 

Final Thoughts

Every landscape needs both hardscapes and softscapes. Neither should be overlooked, and both should be maintained. For either a professional is sure to offer the best consultation and design advice, so we have to plug our team at OakLawn. Feel free to give us a call anytime as you attempt to combine these two essential elements.

Your landscaping is the first thing noticed by your visitors, friends, and customers. Let OakLawn Landscaping ensure that your first impressions are top-notch and have your guests in awe before they even reach the door. Visit our website, or contact us today at (301) 854-0684 for any of your landscaping needs, commercial or residential.

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