A handy guide to what, you ask?
Well! In the parlance of landscaping, materials generally fall into one of two classificational categories: softscape—comprising all vegetation and the substances required for its upkeep (soil, fertilizer, etc.); then there’s hardscape, which denotes all that’s “manmade” in lawn design—concrete, glass, metal, asphalt and so on. But beyond this, hardscaping signifies a certain process, wherein materials from either category are skillfully intermixed to optimize the design and construction of various landscaping fixtures/features. Some examples:
- Retaining walls
- Walkways and roadways
Read along to learn more about the surprisingly wide range of benefits hardscaping can lend in our efforts to spruce up our yards—and our communities.
- We naturally tend to “ooh” and “aah” more over the vibrant flower beds and expertly-placed tree copses than, say, the plain brick path we walk along between them. One might consider softscape the domain of the aesthetic, and hardscape, the utilitarian.
- But also consider this: it’s hardscaping—the foundations, the walkways and support structures—that enables the flower beds or trees copses to flourish and our ability to enjoy them!
- “Functional” and “eye-catching” are by no means mutually exclusive. Think of the distinguished air a wrought-iron gate can lend, or the calming and hazily nostalgic effect of well-placed stone mosaic tiling.
- In short, quality residential hardscaping balances form and function as necessary to best suit the overall design needs of a property.
- Cities are pure hardscape, right? The steel frameworks sturdy enough to support towering structures indefinitely… The asphalt that, through its precisely-engineered admixture of hardness and give, allows for the very existence of modern roads… All the piping, the wiring… Hardscape.
- …Right? Well, certainly from a historical perspective, yes. But more and more city planners are becoming interested in the sort of hardscaping that incorporates softscape materials with posterity in mind.
- For almost a decade, online search trends have reflected continually-increasing public interest in “reinserting” natural elements into urban environments. Expansive research has provided insight on the profound physical and mental health benefits individuals can experience when their exposure to nature increases.
- There are ongoing municipally-funded efforts to transform swaths of city land into “greenspaces” that emulate pre-Industrialization conditions. These are intended as havens for urbanites seeking to make up for lost time with nature—and reap the health benefits mentioned above. General social welfare seems to improve where “nature” is made accessible to all—hardscaping on a grand scale.
- Much can be gained by repurposing current infrastructure to be more eco-friendly while retaining or even increasing its functionality. For example, underground waterways might be rerouted to ensure run-off distribution that will improve soil conditions.
- What seem like minor changes can lead to widespread, cascading effects on local ecosystems—for better or worse. It’s therefore in the public interest that hardscaping remain a frequently- but thoughtfully-used tool in city planning.
Professional Tree Service from Harford Tree
Ready to have the beautiful yard you have always dreamed of? Harford Tree Experts & Landscaping, Inc has been in the business for decades, providing customers with quality work and quick responses all at the right price. We service the areas of Harford County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City areas including Bel Air, Fallston, Perry Hall, Towson, Essex, Parkville, White Marsh, and Middle River. For service during business hours, reach out to us or give us a call at 410-592-7321. We offer 24/7 emergency service as well, just give us a call at 443-250-6649. For updates about our business and more informative tips, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.