The best way to understand how to design a landscape is to become familiar with the two main elements. These are “softscape” and “hardscape”. It is not difficult to remember the difference because they are completely opposite, but both are required for a functional landscape. A landscape designer will explain the terms by emphasizing the distinction. A hardscape design includes hard surfaces such as stone, patio pavers, bricks, paving stones and concrete. The softscape design (or often “landscaping”) is the living part of the landscape which includes shrubs, perennial flowers, succulents and trees.
Designing the Landscape
Balancing the two elements is important for both backyard landscaping and front yard landscaping. When your property is not balanced, it often looks “too finished”. A good example is a circular paved driveway. This may be convenient and seem swank, but if the landscape contractors do not balance your property with plants and trees, it will look a lot like a hotel. The point is you are probably not interested in offering valet service. The opposite end of the scale is when the local landscapers go way overboard with the shrubbery. This can easily take on the appearance of a jungle or an “unkept” look.
Professional gardening is another good example. A few rose bushes, fruit trees and garden lighting can be very lovely and tastful. When you add an herb garden, a vegetable garden and a topiary, you are going to be left with an overcrowded mess. Separations and paths are important to make your garden appealing. If your landscape contractors do not achieve the correct balance, the curb appeal of your home may be compromised. Too much hardscape in your backyard is far from a relaxing paradise. Too many plants and trees will constantly be out of control and in need of weeding and pruning. It is all in the balance and having a trained eye.
The Hardscape Elements
Hardscaping elements include stones, paving stones and gravel, patio pavers, paths, water features, outdoor kitchens, decks, gazebos and driveways. Using these items and outdoor structures strategically will achieve your desired look. Choosing the right hardscaping services not only impacts the environment but your landscaping costs as well. Another item to take into account is how often you actually plan on being in your outdoor space. You don’t want to make it more work than you are willing to put into it.
The Softscape Elements
Landscaping companies offer a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and textures of plants, trees, shrubs, ground cover and flowers. As these adapt to the climate and grow, they evolve and change. They become softer, larger and stronger and have a more mature and “meant to be” feel. Be sure to consider how your design will look after the plants have matured. You will want to make sure that the tree in the middle of the space doesn’t end up taking over the entire yard and chocking out the sunlight for all the other plants you have so carefully selected. A professional will make sure and know of all the growth possibilities of your landscaping design.
Considerations for a Small Space
Even a tiny yard can be beautifully designed with smart planning. This involves incorporating all of your landscaping elements yet allowing enough space for trees and shrubs to grow such as planters affixed to your fence or walls for an example. Experienced landscaping companies will economize on space by using raised pedestals and planters. Pavers placed around corners or in a slight curve provide the illusion of additional space. Hardscape features such as a low retaining wall also hold planters and provide additional seating in a small space. Smaller flowering plants can be added between retaining walls and pavers with low groundcovers capable of withstanding foot traffic can provide a
Drought Tolerant Landscaping
If you live in an area where your water use has been restricted, it is even more important to locate an experienced landscape designer. They will offer options to prevent you from being left with a dying and depressed lawn. The same concept applies to commercial landscape maintenance. You can incorporate the use of pea gravel, decomposed gravel, concrete or pavers to replace your grass as a lawn takes a lot of water to keep alive and beautiful beds can be made with drought tolerant plants as well. If you are not happy with the appearance of your lawn or require maintenance, please contact us and we will be happy to help.