Hardscaping vs Softscaping: Know the Difference

Around this time of year when spring is right around the corner, everyone starts to envision their dream landscape. When you can finally start to spend more time outside enjoying your backyard, it’s important for your space to be inviting and well-maintained. In order to capture that dream, you need to know all of the different methods for landscape design. The two major approaches to beautifying your yard are adding softscapes and hardscapes. Never heard of these before? Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the difference. 


What is Hardscaping? 

A quick and easy way to remember the difference between hardscaping and softscaping is knowing the material that’s used in each method of design. Hardscaping is when you use rough or hard materials to create a patio, wall, pathway, or even a waterfall. Some examples of hardscape elements are brick, stone, concrete, wood, or pavers. They’re considered permanent yet movable features of landscape design. Hardscapes are fantastic for creating useable space, such as patios or decks where you can place tables and chairs. They also serve as functional aspects of the yard, such as steps leading to the entrance of a home or pathways guiding you through gardens. There are many benefits to having hardscapes. There is a wide variety of designs that you can achieve with hardscapes that look beautiful and add function and livable space to your yard. However, it’s important to remember that hardscapes don’t allow the soil to soak up water. You need to work with an experienced hardscape contractor in Cumming to make sure that you’re placing your hardscapes in the right place without causing a runoff of water to other areas. 


What is Softscaping?

Now that you understand what a hardscape is, you can probably guess what kinds of materials make softscapes. That’s right: soft stuff! Items like plants, shrubs, trees, flowers, mulch, and sod are considered softscapes. You’ll know you’re creating a softscape if you’re planting items that are literally soft to the touch. Adding softscapes like flower beds, ground cover, grassy areas, or herb gardens is a fantastic way to make your yard look colorful, rich, and luscious. If you have a lot of stone, brick, or concrete around your yard, accenting the yard with softscapes is always a nice touch.  Of course, it’s important to remember that unlike hardscapes, softscapes need to be maintained all year. Softscapes contain elements that grow and change throughout the year. That’s why it’s nice to have a great blend of both hardscapes and softscapes in your front and back yards. A good rule of thumb is asking yourself what you’d like to use your yard for first. For instance, if you plan on hosting big outdoor dinner parties this summer, then installing a patio or deck with plenty of room for a dining set will be key. Then, once you’ve planned for your hardscape, you can arrange softscapes around it to add style and beauty. Regardless of the size of your budget or your yard, experts from companies like Service First Landscapes can design the perfect outdoor space for you! Contact them today to start designing your dream landscape.