When it comes to garden landscaping, professionals in the sector will often speak to hard landscaping and soft landscaping; but what exactly does this mean? Hard landscaping refers to all of the garden’s hard surfaces and materials, and soft landscaping refers to anything soft, such as flowers and vegetation. Examine the distinctions between hard and soft landscaping, as well as the types of work that can be expected with each.
What is soft landscaping?
Soft landscaping refers to living, horticultural, and non-permanent parts of a landscape design. It entails the use of plants, trees, flowers, grass, soil, and other organic elements to create and improve an outdoor space’s aesthetic appeal, utility, and environmental features.
Soft landscaping is concerned with the natural materials and live beings that comprise a landscape. Planting, seeding, turfing, mulching, and maintaining plant beds are all part of it. The purpose of soft landscaping is to use vegetation and natural elements to create a visually appealing and harmonious outdoor environment.
Some examples of soft landscaping include:
Planting is the process of selecting and planting various types of trees, shrubs, flowers, and ground coverings in order to produce an appealing and balanced composition.
Lawn and grass management is the process of seeding or laying sod to establish a lawn area and then maintaining it through mowing, watering, and fertilising.
Flowerbeds and borders: Creating and maintaining colourful flowerbeds using annuals, perennials, and decorative grasses to offer visual appeal and variety.
Soil preparation and improvement include measures such as soil testing, supplementing soil with compost or organic matter, and improving drainage.
Mulching: Applying a layer of organic material around plants and trees, such as wood chips or bark, to preserve moisture, control weed development, and improve soil health.
Irrigation and watering: Creating proper watering systems, such as sprinklers or drip irrigation, to deliver necessary moisture to plants.
Regular upkeep tasks such as pruning, trimming, weeding, and pest treatment are performed to ensure the health and vitality of the landscape.
Hardscaping, which refers to non-living, man-made parts of a landscape such as paths, patios, walls, and structures, is sometimes contrasted with soft landscaping. To create a harmonious and practical outdoor area, both soft and hardscaping elements are used.
What is hard landscaping?
The non-living, man-made aspects of a landscape design are referred to as hard landscaping. These elements are often long-lasting and permanent, made of materials such as stone, concrete, wood, metal, or composite materials. Outdoor spaces benefit from hard landscaping because it adds structure, functionality, and visual appeal.
Examples of common hard landscaping features include:
Patios and terraces are outdoor areas paved with materials such as stone, concrete, or brick that are used for seating, dining, and entertainment.
Paved or surfaced paths that direct people across the environment, linking various regions of the outdoor space.
Retaining Walls: Walls constructed to keep soil in place and prevent erosion, sometimes used to create terraced areas or raised beds.
Fences and gates: Structures used to define property boundaries or enclose certain regions for privacy, security, or aesthetic reasons.
Decks and Pergolas: Elevated platforms or buildings constructed of wood or composite materials that provide outdoor sitting, shade, and recreational areas.
Water Features: Man-made objects such as ponds, waterfalls, fountains, or streams that enhance the landscape’s visual appeal, sound, and tranquilly.
Sheds, gazebos, arbours, trellises, or pergolas that create functional or ornamental spaces in the landscape are examples of outdoor structures.
Lighting: Outdoor lighting fixtures used for safety, ambiance, and highlighting specific features, such as path lights, spotlights, or string lights.
Steps, walls, edging, or decorative components composed of natural stone, concrete, or pavers that lend structure and texture to the landscape.
Hard landscaping elements are built to resist weather, foot traffic, and other environmental considerations. They support the soft landscaping components such as plants and vegetation by providing the framework and infrastructure for the overall landscape design.
Developing a hard and soft landscaping strategy
We believe most gardens will benefit from a combination of hard and soft gardening.
Durable, man-made features such as patios and gravel should be considered the bones of the area since they will provide a structure that will survive the test of time. Hard landscaping is often required to sustain the presence of soft landscaping, whether through rockeries and flower beds or brick walls that end up supporting climbers and other plants.
A well-planned combination of hard and soft landscaping contributes to the creation of a welcoming, functional area that can be enjoyed by everyone who use it. Whether it’s a residential garden, hotel grounds, or outside space around offices, it’s crucial to think about how the space will be used and how it may benefit people. Our landscapers Solihull have a wealth of experience of creating amazing gardens combining hard landscaping and soft landscaping and will be happy to go through and discuss your requirements.