What is the Difference Between Soft and Hard Landscaping?

What is the Difference Between Soft and Hard Landscaping?

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What is Landscaping?

We’re all aware that landscaping is the process of making an open space or a garden more attractive. This is done by changing the design and adding items like paths, walkways, lawns and various flowers and shrubs, etc. Landscaping can turn an area from a wilderness into a pleasant walk, even a park or a garden of great beauty. But within the landscape framework, there are various terms with which we should become acquainted if we wish to understand landscaping better. They’re quite simple and not at all difficult to learn. Let’s have a look at them.

What is Hard Landscaping?

Hard landscaping is part of the process of landscaping. It is also known as ‘hardscaping’. What does it mean exactly? It just means the process of transforming an outdoor space or garden by changing its appearance significantly. This is, of course, done with the addition of some different materials. It is what these materials are that concerns us. These ‘hard’ materials refer in general to construction materials. Items like stone, gravel, pathways and even garden furniture contribute to ‘hardscaping’. ‘Hardscaping’ can include a graceful gazebo or a statue of some sort. Basically, anything ‘hard’ which contributes to the landscape.

What is Soft Landscaping?

Like hard landscaping or ‘hardscaping’, soft landscaping (or ‘softscaping) refers to the process of transforming an outdoor space or garden into something more attractive and interesting by the addition of some materials which were not previously present. These materials include plants. They also include shrubs and grasses. They include bushes. They even include trees. Any kind of altering of the landscape with the addition of items composed of any of these mentioned materials appertains to ‘softscaping’. And soft materials can have a wonderfully profound effect on any landscape. Just look at a few ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to get an idea.

Harmony and Balance

There is no ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘better’ when it comes to making a decision about hardscaping or softscaping. The truth is, we must always strive to achieve harmony in whatever we do. Natural growth must balance with the discipline of cultivated growth and trimming. And a balance of hard and soft is what we aim to achieve when deciding how to transform a landscape so as to show it off to its best advantage. The ideal balance, in my humble opinion, is mostly soft materials, with the hard providing some guidance and some relief. We need beautiful trees and flowers. We need lawns and flowerbeds. But we also need organized bushes and pathways so we can move freely around and see the space to its best advantage. Everything has its place in the order of nature. Not to mention in landscape gardening.

Contrasting Landscapes

I’ve walked through orderly gardens that resembled crazy forests. Secluded woody glades with beautiful statues. I thought I was in fairyland. But no, it was just clever landscape gardening. I felt like I was walking through a deserted wood, but it was simply some rich person’s idea of a secluded paradise. I’ve walked through labyrinths made by bushes and nearly gone crazy trying to escape. Thank heavens for mobile phones! But whether it’s a preponderance of ordered flower beds or a series of manicured lawns, every person has their own idea of what makes the perfect garden. For some, its rosebushes growing wild. For others, it’s garden furniture thrown haphazardly. But whatever your choice, a nice fusion of hard and soft landscaping will transform your garden or outdoor space into something truly unique and memorable. I think it’s best to let your professional do the job, keeping your preferences in mind. You will be glad you did.

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