Hard vs soft landscaping

No build – home, bach or business – is complete without landscaping and much like the style of the building, options are endless.

Clean lines, low maintenance and easy care or mowing lawns, weeding flower beds and pruning shrubs? That is the question. The reality is there’s no simple answer; it’s all about personal preference and needs.

More homeowners are opting for hard landscaping, while others still prefer the traditional soft option and yet some choose a mix of the two.

The difference between the types of landscaping is reflected in the descriptions. Hard landscaping consists of the hard things you will have in your garden, such as bricks, concrete, stone, gravel etc. Soft landscaping is the soft or living element of your garden, such as flowers, shrubs, grass, trees, soil, and anything growing in general.

Both soft landscaping and hard landscaping are considered important in good landscape design and the best time to sort this aspect is when you start building. In addition to material and general building costs, most build companies recommend allowing 10 percent of the value of the build for landscaping.

The same applies to landscaping remodelling.

Hard landscaping
This comprises the large pieces of hard materials that shape a landscape structure. Materials such as stone, wood, concrete, paving and masonry are used to create a sense of space when landscaping. Aesthetically, hard landscaping enables the outdoor space to complement the look of a building. It helps solve practical problems such as drainage, but is usually more expensive so it is important to get the design right as it is difficult to change once executed.

Soft landscaping
This is all about the living part of your landscape design. The lawns, plants, trees, shrubs and flowers are all components of soft landscaping. Often, it is inseparable from hard landscaping; for example, the materials needed to create a pond in a business garden are hard landscaping elements, but the pond itself is a soft landscaping element. Soft landscaping elements do need ongoing maintenance to look their best.

Landscape design costs vary depending on factors such as area size, how detailed the plan is, whether a planting plan is required, and if fencing is to be included. Typically, plans start from a few hundred dollars and cap off at a couple of thousand. Actual landscaping costs vary depending on the size of the job and how many landscapers it requires. Starting from scratch, most homeowners will spend between $3000 and $15,950 for landscaping.

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