An Introduction to Hardscaping

Hardscaping Explained
Those unfamiliar with landscaping lingo are unlikely to have ever heard the term “hardscaping”. So what does this term mean?

Basically, landscaping can be divided into two subcategories. While softscaping refers to the plant or living features used when of designing and decorating your yard, hardscaping relates to the inanimate elements used in landscaping. Accents in brick, stone and wood such as walkways, water features, patios and ornaments are the examples of hardscaping features you may have (or want!) in your garden.

Why Hardscaping is Important
The purpose of hardscaping is to provide a sense of fluid continuity from a home’s interior to exterior and from the garden into the property’s surrounds. The permanence and solidity of the hardscape and the constantly transforming fragility of the softscape are complementary, offering a ying and yang balance to the overall design of your garden.

Your hardscape should incorporate multiple design elements which enhance to overall appearance of your home. It is necessary to carefully consider and plan the hardscape components of your project before even commencing softscaping. This is because hardscaping essentially provides the foundation or anchor for your overall landscaping design.

Some General Guidelines for Hardscape Design
Achieving a design that is balanced between hardscape and softscape does not require having equal amounts of each of these elements laid out in a mirror image. The size of your garden will provide a guide as to what the appropriate balance should be, with larger yards allowing for larger softscapes and small yards generally requiring more hardscape features.

Symmetry is not essential to realising a balanced design. Instead, consider the concept of balance as weights on a scale, where one large object can be balanced out by several smaller ones. So, for example a large statue could be balanced by several small to medium sized boulders.

Hardscape design should complement and coordinate with both the internal and external colour schemes of your house, thereby creating a sense of continuity from within your home into the outside world.