How Hardscape Can Be Blended With Softscape to Produce the Perfect Garden Design
There are two major dimensions to landscape garden daesign; hardscape and softscape, and the key to a good overall design is to blend the two together in an eye-pleasing way. Before examining strategies to achieve balance, here is a short description of both aspects.
- Hardscape Elements – Hardscape is immoveable objects that are usually man-made; concrete walls, stairways and balconies, and the important thing about these items is they do not change over time, unlike natural features like trees and shrubs. Examples of hardscape objects would be terraces, concrete walls, brick retaining walls, fences and staircases, all of which have to be incorporated into the garden design. There is an art to blending landscape architecture with its natural surroundings, and careful thought should be given to this aspect of the layout.
- Softscape Elements – This refers to all living things; grass, plants, flowers, shrubs and trees are all softscape elements, and they do change over time. Softscaping involves the constant shaping of these living elements, to make sure they blend with the inanimate objects. The wide range of shrubs and plants give you many choices, and trees should be in proportion to the overall layout, so avoid trees that grow to be very large, as this will be an issue in a few years. It is worth noting that softscape items will both grow and change colour, and they can be shaped to blend with the hard aspects.
A fountain or a small stream with a waterfall can really unite the soft and hard elements, and running water does bring a healthy and natural look and feel to any outdoor area. There is something very relaxing about sitting near a flowing water feature, perhaps blended into a small rockery area, or you could create a stream and have a cute wooden bridge built. There are so many ways you can introduce a water feature and they complement both hard and softscape elements, and a single water feature is really all you need.
Timber trellis can be made into an arch type framework and the right creeping plants will eventually create a natural cover for your walkways. All it takes is a little imagination, and by enlisting the help of a landscape design firm, you can have the benefit of their wealth of design experience. Hanging trellis also makes for ideal screening and can be added to one side of the terrace to act as a windbreak.
Your outdoor lighting offers a great opportunity to improve the natual ambience, and with LED solutions, you have an almost unlimited spectrum of light. Strips can be hung from trees and shrubs, while a few ground level spotlights are always a welcome addition to any garden. Once the sun goes down, you can have an inspiring ambience of warm colours, and with solar powered illumination, you don’t need a power supply.
Blending the various elements of your garden will help to bring a balanced and harmonious look, and with a professional designer in your corner, there’s nothing you can’t do.