What is softscape?

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager


A beautiful outdoor living space incorporates both hardscaping and softscape. Combined, the two can turn your outdoors into a beautiful oasis. Softscape can compliment driveways, walkways, water features, gazebos, your garden,  and hardscape elements.

What is softscape?

Softscape is any living, horticultural elements of landscape design. Softscape elements are complimented by hardscape, and are things like trees and plants.


Softscape describes plant life, so anything that is considered to be plants is considered softscape. Examples are plants, trees, perennials, biennials, and shrubs. 

What to consider

When designing your outdoor living space, it is important for homeowners to balance their softscape with their hardscape elements. You want to find a balance between the two, because too much hardscaping will be hard on the eye, and can be unappealing. That being said, too much softscape can look unfocused and cluttered.

Start planning your hardscape first when designing your outdoor living space, this way you can provide boundaries and structures to build your softscape around.

Consider sightlines throughout your property. What type of view do you want to see from your patio? If you want to shield your patio from neighbors’ trees or shrubs are a good option.

Consider how much maintenance you want to do to keep up with your outdoor living softscape. You may want to focus on annuals or low maintenance plants if you do not want to spend a lot of time gardening.

How to incorporate softscape into your outdoor living space

When incorporating your softscape into your outdoor living space, again, remember that softscape and hardscape should have a natural balance between them.

Shrubs can be used to dress up rock walls or fences, and raised planters will draw the eye to a horizontal space.

Retaining walls can be softened by adding a border bed. Flower beds can create a seamless transition between different materials, and bring color to your space.

Round out hard edges. Patios with round or square edges can benefit from having potted plants or garden boxes dispersed on them, and pergolas with vines add greenery that is not overwhelming to the space.


Patios, especially large ones, can feel stark without any greenery. Potted plants placed around your patio is an easy fix to bring more life to your space.


While hardscape is permanent, softscape elements will change and grow. Consider how your shrubs, vines and other elements of softscape will grow and look over time.


A well-designed outdoor living space cab affect the value or your home. Softscape is versatile, and because they are not permanent, they can always be changed and added to give homeowners exactly the look that they want.