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A true garden landscape is a combination of both hardscape and softscape, where the softscape makes use of elements such as the kind of soil, trees, plants, flowers, and choice of color schemes, while hardscape refers to the heavier stuffs, such as stones, rocks, patios, gates, and driveways. What used to be referred to as “hard landscape,” a term used by garden practitioners when they combined landscape architecture and garden design has been re-named, today, and known as hardscape. Any form of hard elements incorporated in the garden landscape are examples of hardscape structures, such as rock formations, walkways, retaining walls, paver patios, elements of water features, decks, outdoor kitchens, and driveways. In many instances, the rock walls that have been created can serve as the backbone of a garden, which can actually define the design as a beautiful transition of having an outdoor room where the homeowners can host their guests into a fun-filled barbecue party.
Hardscapes provide the right functionality in the garden, allowing homeowners to conduct recreational activities while providing the beautiful ambience of the surrounding landscape. What most landscape architects incorporate when they have hardscaping in mind is to enhance visual interest in the existing garden using texture, proportion, and symmetry, creating a perfect balance of hardscaping and softscaping.
Hardscaping can also provide other benefits in a garden set-up, like it lessens soil erosions especially on sloppy areas or uneven soil, it add the property value, it doesn’t need so much maintenance, it allows accessibility for the homeowners for more recreational activities, and it reduces the need for water to maintain the landscape. Walkways are hardscape structures that have a number of practical benefits: a sense of landscape order by connecting the other areas of home and garden segments together; a means of avoiding dirt and grass to walk through the garden; and when yard work is a form of exercise for the homeowner, there is a decrease of the mowing activity, as well as decrease the cost of maintenance, as some portions have been paved by walkways. Patios are a special niche in the garden to enjoy the beauty of the garden while relaxing either alone or with family or friends, spending time together. Since driveways are essential needs of every home, the way it can be paved by hardscaping can be also a source of beauty using natural stones. Stonewalls are another hardscape structures that can be used to surround the home property in order to provide privacy and security and when built aesthetically can enhance the beauty of the entire landscape and these can also be used as dividers into patios which can give additional beauty to the landscape.