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Newport Beach, CA

A well designed custom area incorporates areas of both hardscape and softscape elements.

Hardscape Design Newport Beach

Hardscape and Softscape Have Many Differences

To understand how to design for a landscape design, the two main elements that make an outdoor living space are known as hardscape and softscape. The easiest ways to remember these differences: Hardscape and softscape are the complete opposites of , yet both are necessary to make the landscape design fully functional. Jesse Escalera, Hardscape Design Newport Beach, will make your landscape a creative oasis using both elements. Hardscape is the hard stuff in your yard: concrete, bricks, and stone. Softscape is the soft, growing stuff, like flowers, shrubs, succulents, and trees. Softscape is living; hardscape is not.

Ideally, a well-designed landscape design incorporates a balance between the two elements. We’ve all seen properties that have too much of one or the other. A front yard that’s heavy on the hardscape design might have a circular paved driveway, kind of like a hotel. While some people love the idea and it used to be considered a fancy design feature, it’s just too much paving and can look like a commercial property. All you need is a valet. Add landscaping design that mostly includes rocks and gravel, some architectural light posts, maybe a stone retaining wall, and it’s hardscape overload. Too much of one or the other in a front yard can compromise your home’s curb appeal and might bring down property values for the neighborhood. As for the backyard: an overabundance of hardscape design does not create a relaxing, paradise-like atmosphere. On the other hand, too much softscape can get out of control and needs to be pruned and weeded. 

Hardscape Design 

Once you know the distinction, the characteristics of hardscape make sense. Among them:

  • Hardscape can be thought of as “hard,” yet movable, parts of the landscape, like gravel, paving, and stones.
  • They are inanimate objects.
  • Hardscape is solid and unchanging.
  • Other examples of hardscape include retaining walls, pavers for paths or patios, outdoor kitchenswater featuresgazebos, decks, and driveways.
  • It can be natural, like stone, or manmade, like an outdoor structure or a planter.
  • Hardscape materials have different effects on the environment. Pavement, which is hardscape, 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.

Softscape Design

Plants are available in a variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. When selecting softscape:

  • Consider these the “soft” horticultural (living, growing) components of the landscape. These might include flowers, trees, shrubs, ground covers, etc.
  • 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.