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Softscape vs. Hardscape Design and How to Incorporate the Two

Regarding landscaping in the coastal Carolinas, there are two main approaches: soft scape and hardscape design. Smooth scape design uses living elements like plants and trees, while hardscape design uses non-living elements like rocks and patio pavers.

Learn about the differences and how to incorporate the two into your outdoor space for a beautiful and functional landscape.


What is Softscape Design: How is it Different than Hardscape?


Softscape design uses living elements in landscaping such as plants, trees, flowers, and grass. This type of design focuses on creating a natural and organic look and feel for your outdoor space.

Softscape elements can add color, texture, and depth to your landscape and provide shade and privacy. The design strategy also involves maintaining and caring for living factors, such as watering, pruning, and fertilizing.

Hardscape design vs. softscape design shows a large green lawn with a beige house with red shutters in the background.

Softscape design is essential to any landscaping project, as it adds life and vitality to your outdoor space. When designing your soft scape, it’s necessary to consider your area’s climate, soil type, sun exposure, and the specific needs of the plants you choose.

A well-designed soft scape can transform your yard into a lush and inviting oasis, providing a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re looking to create a vibrant flower garden, a shady retreat, or a lush green lawn, softscape design can help you achieve your landscaping goals.

What is Hardscape Design?


Hardscape design uses non-living elements in landscaping, such as rocks, stones, bricks, and concrete. This type of design focuses on creating structure and organization in your outdoor space and providing functional areas for activities like dining, entertainment, and relaxation.

Hardscape elements can be used to:

Hardscape landscaping is a critical aspect of any outdoor space, providing the foundation for landscaping. It’s important to consider the overall style and aesthetic of your home and outdoor space when choosing hardscape elements, as they should complement and enhance the natural beauty of your softscape design.

Buddy's Landscaping patio pavers

Popular hardscape elements include patios, walkways, retaining walls, fire pits, and water features. When designing your hardscape, it’s essential to consider factors such as drainage, accessibility, and safety. A well-designed hardscape can add value to your home and provide a functional and beautiful outdoor living space.

How to Incorporate Soft Scape Design into Your Outdoor Space


Softscape design incorporates living elements like plants, trees, flowers, and grass into your outdoor space. This type of design focuses on creating a natural and organic feel and providing color, texture, and fragrance to your outdoor environment.

Softscape elements can also create privacy, shade, and sound barriers and attract wildlife like birds and butterflies. Incorporating soft scape design into your outdoor space, it’s essential to consider factors like:

One way to incorporate soft scape design into your outdoor space is to create a garden bed filled with various plants and flowers. Choose plants that thrive in your climate and soil type, and consider adding different heights and textures to create visual interest.

Hands with orange gloves planting flowers in the dirt with a rake in the background from an employee at Buddy's Services in North Myrtle Beach

You can also use softscape elements to create a natural border or screen, such as planting tall grasses or shrubs along a fence line. Another option is incorporating trees into your design, providing shade and privacy while adding height and texture to your outdoor space.

Whatever softscape elements you choose, consider their maintenance requirements and plan accordingly to ensure your outdoor space stays beautiful and healthy.

How to Incorporate Hardscape Design into Your Outdoor Space


Hardscape design incorporates non-living elements like stone, concrete, wood, and metal into your outdoor space. This type of design is often used to create functional areas like patios, walkways, and retaining walls, and to add visual interest and contrast to your outdoor environment.

When incorporating hardscape design into your outdoor space, factors like drainage, slope, and accessibility, as well as your personal preferences and budget are important to consider.

Walkway and Stairs using stone pavers with green and red flowers and plants in the background

A softscape and hardscape design balance can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space.

Remember a few key things when incorporating hardscape design into your outdoor space. First, consider the purpose of the area you’re designing. Are you creating a patio for entertaining, or a walkway for easy access to your garden? This will help you determine the size and shape of your hardscape elements.

Finding the Right Balance Between Softscape and Hardscape Design


Finding the right balance between soft scape and hardscape design is critical for your outdoor space. More hardscapes can make your area feel cold and uninviting, while too much soft scape can create a jungle-like environment that is difficult to maintain.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 60/40 balance between softscape and hardscape elements. This will allow you to create a functional and visually appealing outdoor space that is easy to maintain.

When it comes to soft scape design, think about incorporating a variety of plants with:

This will add visual interest and create a dynamic environment.

a picture of landscaping design with a green lawn and colorful flowers with a large home in the background. A colorful rose flower bed with mixed bulbs and petunia flowers blooming adds color to the garden in late spring and early summer.

Using plants native to your area will better adapt to the local climate and require less maintenance. Could you consider incorporating pathways, seating areas, and water features in hardscape design?

These elements will add structure and functionality to your outdoor space. Remember, finding the right balance between soft scape and hardscape design is crucial in creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space.

Softscape design is about creating a lush and vibrant environment that complements your hardscape elements. When choosing plants, consider their texture, color, and height to create a visually exciting and dynamic space.

Mixing different types of plants, such as shrubs, perennials, and annuals, will add depth and variety to your garden. Using native plants will be better adapted to your local climate. Just remember they will also require less maintenance and be more sustainable.

In conclusion, consulting with your local landscaping company near you is always best. If you live in North Myrtle Beach or surrounding areas, Buddy’s Landscaping Services have many years of experience designing a one-of-a-kind outdoor oasis. Give us a call at (843) 593-6715.

Buddy's Services, LLC, Junk Removal, Calabash, NC