Softscape and Hardscape: Striking the Perfect Balance in Your Outdoor SpacePublished: 27/03/2023 | Updated: 10/09/2023
Dreaming of the perfect home with a beautiful yard and enjoyable outdoor space is something we all share. But what exactly makes an outdoor space perfect?
There are no rules when it comes to designing stunning yards, you can tailor your outdoor areas to suit your personal needs and lifestyle.
To start personalizing your yard, it's important to first determine its purpose and the function you want it to serve.
Will it be a space for entertaining guests, enjoying the natural scenery, practicing gardening, or a combination of all these activities?
In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between softscape and hardscape elements, share valuable tips on how to achieve the perfect balance between the two in your yard, and guide you in selecting the most suitable hardscape and softscape features to create your ideal outdoor space.
Hardscape vs Softscape
The art of landscaping a space involves two primary objectives - aesthetics and function.
The goal is to make the space both visually pleasing and practical for its intended function.
If you're new to landscaping, it's important to begin by developing a good understanding of the two main components of landscape design.
Doing so will equip you with the knowledge necessary to transform your outdoor space into a functional and inviting haven.
1. What is Hardscape?
Hardscape represents the inorganic, non-living elements of a landscape arrangement, that use materials like concrete, stone, wood, and other hard materials.
This includes all features from patios, walkways, and retaining walls to fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and water features.
Hardscape elements often establish your yard's structure, style, and functionality.
2. Softscape elements
Softscape is all the living elements and ever-changing aspects of a landscape layout, it includes plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees.
These features, as opposed to hardscape, are constantly evolving and changing, providing a dynamic backdrop to your outdoor space.
Softescape is responsible for the beautifying or aesthetic aspect of the landscape, though it can be employed to provide privacy, soften harsh hardscape lines and deter pests.
It can also be highly employed to express one's style or shift an outdoor space's entire vibe or theme.
The Perfect Ratio
A beautifully designed space should have a balanced hardscape-to-softscape ratio. Both elements should be used to complement each other and have one harmonious theme.
Too much hardscape can make your home look like a commercial property and lead to a cold and sterile environment and too much softscape can result in a nightmare of maintenance requirements.
The perfect ratio between the two elements is not a fixed one, it differs based on the size of the yard you're working with and your personal needs.
For instance, entertainers usually go for a higher hardscape percentage to accommodate all the entertainment elements they need to include.
While families with pets and young children prefer to have more open green spaces for their children to run around and play.
The hardscape-to-softscape ratio is often determined by the city or Hoa.
The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong answer; it all comes down to creating a space that meets your unique needs while also reflecting your style.
Best Hardscape Elements in An Outdoor Living space
Just like every other part of the landscape, choosing hardscape elements ultimately depends on individual needs to help you make good choices, we will walk you through different hardscape structures and features that are likely to add value to your home and entertainment areas.
1. Patios And Decks
Patios are one of the most essential hardscaping elements in an outdoor setup.
They expand your living space by creating a seamless indoor-outdoor transition and offer a sturdy surface for relaxation, dining, and entertainment.
In addition to their practical benefits, patios can provide a substantial return on investment, with some estimates suggesting up to 60%.
This means that you can enjoy your patio for many years and then potentially make a profit when you decide to sell your home.
2. Fire Pits
Firepits are among the best hardscape features in an entertainment setup. They draw people creating the perfect hangout spot for friends and family.
Fire features range from built-in pits and fireplaces to portable options that are both space efficient and budget-friendly.
3. Retaining Wall
If you have a sloped yard, a retaining wall will prevent soil erosion, give you more flat surfaces to entertain, and increase the value of your property by increasing the functionality of outdoor spaces.
How to Choose The Ideal Softscape
While hardscape creates the structure of a yard and makes it functional, softscape enables you to customize your space and create your masterpiece.
With color-changing seasonal plants, colorful perennials, and other beautiful elements, softscape is what brings warmth and life to an outdoor area.
When choosing softscape features in your yard, the following points are what you should be considering to avoid losing precious plants.
Climate and planting zone.
Surrounding environment conditions (sunlight exposure, pests, drainage).
Keeping these points in mind should help you make the ideal choices for your space and personal lifestyle as well as prevent damage which helps protect your investments.
Consult The Experts
Landscaping a yard can be a daunting task given the amount of planning and research that goes into it. The good news is you don't have to do it on your own anymore!
With ShrubHub, you can enjoy the luxury of hiring your landscape designer at the most affordable prices.
We offer you the highest value, time efficiency, and designs tailored to make your life more comfortable and property more valuable.
Visit Shrubhub.com to learn about our ongoing promotions.