If you’ve been thinking about doing a little (or a lot) of work in your backyard or other exterior portions of your home, chances are you’ve come across the widely-used landscaping terms “hardscape” and “softscape”. These are two words that will most certainly enter the conversation as you ready plans for designing a new exterior space or sprucing up your old one.

But do you know what each word means and how each pertains to your plans? Or are you unsure which items fall into each category? In truth, the answer is actually quite logical!

What is hardscape?

Simply put, hardscape is the “hard” stuff you’ll find in your yard design. It’s a rather broad term, actually, and products used in hardscaping can differ greatly and can be used in a vast variety of ways.

This includes materials such as concrete, bricks, stones, rocks, or pavers. These items are usually the products used to craft decorative or essential elements in your garden or around your property, such as walkways, driveways, garden walls, or retaining walls.

Hardscaping – as the name indicates – involves products that are hard but are movable, and the materials used in hardscaping can be natural – like stones and rocks – or manmade, such as perhaps a wooden pergola or even a large planter. Regardless, these items are solid and unchanging and have a variety of different functions.

If you’re considering an outdoor area that includes some of the items or features listed above, hardscaping will no doubt be a big part of your plans and something you’ll need to discuss with your landscaper at length.

Furthermore, hardscaping should work seamlessly with your softscaping (grass, trees, plants, etc.), so you’ll want to make sure you choose elements that mesh well together. Some common examples of hardscaping are listed below.

Retaining walls

A retaining wall is just as the name suggests…it retains things, usually the soil and other “softscape” items behind it.

Some retaining walls are short, some are tall. Some rely on their own weight and setback to retain the soil while others use some type of reinforcement to give them more strength. All sorts of different materials can be used to make retaining walls, such as brick, concrete blocks, stones or boulders, and treated timber. These materials should be chosen to match the overall design of the outdoor area.

At Huckleberry Landscape Design, we partner with local structural engineers to make sure the job of building a reliable retaining wall gets done right the first time. We’ll also work from your design – whether it’s just a simple “napkin” sketch or a detailed blueprint – or we can provide expert advice for our customers who are looking for some inspiration for their retaining wall design.

Garden Walls

Garden walls, structures that usually enclose or otherwise decorate a garden area, are as diverse as retaining walls…and probably more so. Your design for your garden wall is only limited by your imagination!

Garden walls are more for aesthetics and less for function, so you can often be more creative with materials and design. These walls are generally a lot shorter and lighter than retaining walls and they will provide definition for your garden. That means height, shape, color, texture, and materials are all important when designing a garden wall.

The landscaping professionals at Huckleberry are eager to help customers design the right kind of garden wall for their outdoor area and can suggest materials that will function best in the British Columbia climate while also adding pizzazz to the overall landscape design.

Other hardscape features

Hardscape features in your yard and around your house might also include paved walkways, driveways, patios, stairs, and anything else made from hard materials. Designs for all of these features can be fashioned to match your vegetation, trees, and other softscape features, whether you’re building a large, elaborate outdoor area with a pool and summer kitchen or just a small English garden with paths for wandering or places to sit and enjoy the peaceful view.

At Huckleberry Landscape Design, we’re here to tend to all your hardscape and softscape needs, from design and installation to regular maintenance that keeps your garden and other outdoor areas looking good just about any time of year. To get started now. call us for a free consultation or make an appointment to meet with one of our certified landscape design experts.

Anne and her crew are awesome. Always prompt, professional and full of very imaginative ideas. My yard looks great! Thanks Anne!

~ Shelphelan


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