Hardscape vs. Softscape Landscaping


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    Hardscape vs. Softscape Landscaping

    To create an effective landscape design, it is crucial to understand the differences between hardscape vs. softscape landscaping. Understanding the unique characteristics associated with each element will help you create a balanced and appealing space that is easier to maintain. As a leading provider of complete landscape design and construction services, the team at Jovak Landscape & Design knows how difficult it can be to strike an effective balance between hardscape and softscape elements. That is why we have compiled some information about each element to help you understand their characteristics and how they can be effectively used in your landscape design.

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    Hardscape and Softscape — What is the Difference?

    Hardscape refers to hard materials such as stone, bricks, wood, and concrete while softscape refers to softer materials such as grass, flowers, trees, and shrubs. While the type of labour and materials used are the two main differences between hardscape and softscape elements, they feature several other unique characteristics that set them apart:

    Hardscape Characteristics

    Hardscape elements are used to provide structure to a landscape design and help keep everything organized. The materials used in hardscaping are often referred to as hard, inanimate, and difficult to move. Examples of these materials include stone, gravel, wood, and concrete. Hardscape elements can include:

    • Retaining walls
    • Pavers for paths
    • Patios
    • Water features
    • Gazebos
    • Firepits
    • Decks
    • Driveways

    Hardscape features tend to be more difficult to set up and build, but they require less maintenance over time. Each of these features can have a prominent environmental effect on your property. For example, a large driveway or pathway can increase the amount of water runoff. The location of hardscape design elements tends to shape the direction of softscape elements. For example, your garden(s) will typically be framed by a stone retaining wall or other hardscape element.

    Softscape Characteristics

    Softscape elements are often used to “fill in” the landscape design set out by hardscape elements. The materials used in softscaping are referred to as soft, living, growing, and ever-changing. Examples of softscape materials include flowers, shrubs, grass, and trees. Softscape design elements can include:

    • Perennial and annual plants
    • Gardens
    • Shrubbery
    • Trees and branches
    • Lawns

    Softscape elements can be easier to implement than hardscape elements, but they require far more maintenance and upkeep. Due to being living elements of a landscape, they are also more susceptible to changes in temperature and other environmental conditions. This means that regular monitoring and care are crucial for keeping your softscape elements in optimal condition, especially if your property experiences harsh seasonal weather conditions.

    To learn more about hardscaping, softscaping, and other areas of landscaping, reach out to the experts at Jovak Landscape & Design. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to work with you to bring your landscaping project to life.