Are you looking to upgrade your landscaping with a new design that your family will love and your neighbors will notice? Whether it's your front yard or backyard, Marino's Landscaping will take care of all your hardscaping and softscaping needs. From your flowers, trees or shrubs to the gravel, pavers or stones, Marino's Landscaping has the layout and installation covered for you.
At Marino's Landscaping, we understand the importance of having beautiful, well maintained landscaping. It not only helps with increasing the value of your home, but it gives you a sense of pride when you look at the curb appeal of your property.
Using landscaping can create a visually appealing outdoor experience around your home. Knowing the difference between hardscaping and softscaping and knowing how to get them to work together will make it easier to create that experience.
What is the difference between hardscape and softscape?
To better understand how to design for a landscape... the elements that make up outdoor living areas are referred to as hardscape and softscape. The easiest ways to remember the differences... hardscaping and softscaping are the complete opposites of each other, yet both are necessary to make a landscape fully functional. Both terms emphasize the distinction between the two.
Ideally, a well-designed landscape incorporates a balance between hardscaping and softscaping. We've all seen properties, maybe in your own neighborhood, that have too much of one or the other. An overly hardscaped front yard might have a circular paved driveway, kind of like a hotel. While some people, those who have or want lots of cars, love the idea and it used to be a swank design feature, it's just too much concrete or paving and can look like a commercial property. All you need is a valet.
A home that goes overboard with softscape might look like a jungle, maybe that unkempt old house down the street or just a neighbor who's become a tad plant-happy and has a vegetable garden, herb garden, roses, succulents, fruit trees, ornamental grasses, and topiary.
Too much hardscape or softscape in a front yard can compromise your home's curb appeal and might bring down property values for the neighborhood.
As for the backyard: Too much hardscape is not relaxing and soothing; while too much softscape cries to be pruned and weeded. Strike a balance between the two.
Here are some hardscape elements:
- Can be thought of as "hard," yet movable, parts of the landscape, like gravel, paving, and stones.
- They are inanimate objects, solid and unchanging.
- Other examples of hardscape include walkways, retaining walls, pavers for paths or patios, outdoor kitchens, water features, gazebos, decks and driveways.
- Can be natural, like stone, or man-made, like an outdoor structure or a planter.
- Hardscape materials have different effects on the environment. Pavement, which is hardscaping, prevents water from soaking into the soil, thus increasing runoff, which can carry contaminants into streams. Porous materials allow water to soak into the soil.
- A shrub is not hardscape.
Here are some softscape elements:
- Consider these the "soft" horticultural (living, growing) components of the landscape. These might include flowers, trees, shrubs, and groundcovers.
- Change and evolve constantly, as they grow and adapt to climate and other conditions.
- Are softer to the touch, quite literally. Think about touching the leaves of a tree or perennial, or blades of grass. They are soft, not hard.
- A brick wall is not softscape.
Tips for using hardscape in your design:
- Make sure that your hardscaping matches or complements the exterior and the interior of your house. You want the two environments to appear to flow together seamlessly. If, for example, there is stone on the exterior of your home, incorporate that into your hardscaping.
- Landscaping should be like a journey for the eyes. You want to create a focal point to draw the viewer's gaze, but there should also be one or two places for the eyes to rest along the way.
- Include curves and rounded edges in your design. Having too many straight lines will make the landscape feel unnatural. It should feel like it was unplanned yet retain visual appeal.
- There are many practical points to take into consideration such as how your design will affect drainage. Make sure to plan for drainage so that the landscape is neither flooded nor deprived of water. Both situations could be disastrous.
- Make sure to settle hardscaping below the frost line. You do not want to put all that time and energy into creating a landscape only to have it completely destroyed in the next few years by the natural expansion and contraction of the earth when it thaws and freezes.