HARDSCAPING AND SOFTSCAPING
IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN
B.ARCH 7TH SEM
➢ HARDSCAPING .
➢ HARDSCAPE ELEMENTS.
➢ SOFTSCAPING ELEMENTS.
➢ IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HARDSCAPING AND
SOFTSCAPING IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN.
THE BASIC INTEGRATION IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN IS TO
CREATE SPACES,SEQUENCE AND FURNISHING THE
SPACE.SPACES THAT ARE CREATED ARE LINKED IN
SEQUENCE BY ROUTE.HARD LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS ARE
DESIGNED AND BUILT TO FULFILL THE FUNCTIONS OF
LANDSCAPE AS WELL AS ENHANCING IT. THE EFFECT IS
SPONTANEOUS AND QUICK. THE FLOOR AND WALLS OF
AN OUTDOOR SPACE INCLUDES PAVEMENT AND WALLS
COMPRISED OF CONCRETE,MASONRY AND RAW
MATERIALS LIKE STONE AND GRAVEL EXCEPT PLANT
MATERIAL IS CONSIDERED ‘HARDSCAPE’.
The basic purpose of hard landscape is:
● To cater needs not accommodated by soft landscape
● To provide complimentary effect and to enhance the
beauty of soft landscape.
These may be divided into the following categories
based on the functions of the hardscape elements:
1. Separating elements
2. Special surfaces
1. Separating elements:
Physical and visual barriers control the movement of men,vehicles and
animals. indirectly ,physical barrier functions as climate sound and pollution
control. Physical barriers are drainage ditch,moat,stream and steep
embankment. Visual barriers are ﬂower pots solid wall and fences.
A. Planter box/ﬂower pots:
Planter box or ﬂower pots can be used where the soil is unsuitable for
planting. They help in subdividing spaces into different areas. They can be
arranged to show direction or access. They provide scale of surrounding
B. fence ,wall/retaining wall:
Fence,wall or retaining wall provides spaces or divided areas of ownership.it
helps to block unpleasant view and odour. It gives security from intruders. It
also prevents soil erosion.
2. Special surfaces:
Special surfaces are added features which indicate activities,event and safety like
paving(gravel,cobbles,tarmac,bricks and pebbles)and pedestrian walkway.
Paving indicates direction by using suitable,comfortable surfaces for pedestrian,compared
to surfaces of others area.it also differentiates access to vehicles and pedestrian
movement by using different surface ﬁnishes. At junctions or meeting points of
pedestrians and vehicles,different material or levels can be adopted to indicate
danger.paving can be used as focal point for temporary stopping.
Bridge links access from one place to another. It also helps to avoid dangerous or
disturbing element and to provide aesthetic value to landscape design. It should be easy to
use and safe to build, and located at suitable areas without causing damages.
Steps link areas of different levels and indicate access. Normally use uniform steps and avoid any design that can cause tiredness or
discomfort with well-thought safety precautions. Landing should be provided for high staircases.
Structures that are added to spaces, to enhance and make complete the spaces like seating,dustbin,signage,lighting,sculptures and kiosk.
Seating could attract and highlight some garden design. It can be used for relaxed viewing the surrounding or reading books or similar
such activities. Seating design is normally based on the garden design concept.
The dustbin should have easy access for garbage disposal and collection. There are different types of dustbins like wall mounted, free
standing,removable, big sized where population is high. Dustbins are generally located near pedestrian access with other facilities such as
toilets and recreation area,where people gathers,picnic or relax. They should not be located too close to each other to avoid bad odour or
ﬂies or bad view.
All signage should have standardised design,colour lettering. It should be located at an appropriate place. It should of
suitable size to convey information. Signage should not obstruct aesthetic value of other elements.
Lighting is meant to illuminate dark and insecure areas. It also illuminates and enhances a focal element or dangerous
objects. It provides suitable mood for occasions. There may be three types of lighting.
a)roads and highways lighting
Carvings and sculptures act as an attraction conforming to the design concept. They also indicate owner’s wealth. As
a principle avoid using symbols or forms which offend culture, religion or the owner. It should be placed at safe and
strategic place relating to the scale of park or garden.
A shelter or kiosks is normally meant for relaxing and gathering, as a viewing place, as an attraction or as a node or
focal point. It should be located in a secure and pleasant place having a nice view. The architecture or image of a
shelter or kiosks is normally related to existing landscape,building design,national identity or situation. The material
should be waterproof and easily available to construct.
There are three basic aspects that soft landscaping include,namely plantation,
turﬁng and water features. All these features are required to complete a thriving
The plantation process involves the planning and assessment of the garden design.
Preparation of the surface area, planting the shrubs, trees and identifying the
various plant breeds are keys to ensure a balanced and compatible garden
environment. The ﬁnishing layer is done with the use of pebbles,stones wood chips and
many other materials,which can be chosen.
This process involves the grass being cut into various patterns to adorn the garden.
At the same time identiﬁcation of various plant breeds is done through turﬁng.
3. Water features:
Strategically placed water fountains and waterfalls improve the garden atmosphere.
Flowing water fountains and waterfalls enrich the garden and create a vivid atmosphere.
Various garden ponds, lagoons and small pools can be built right into the garden. The
water also brings in moisture, which in turn attracts birds and small wildlife.
Properly designed and constructed soft landscape treatments such as shrub beds, tree
planting and grassing can create intersecting and dynamic public spaces. Their design and
construction should be carefully considered to ensure that they serve their intended
a. Providing safe and accessible public spaces with solar screening around buildings.
b. Give distinct landscape character for recreational areas directing the ﬂow of
pedestrian and vehicular trafﬁc along paths and roadways.
c. Providing habitat for wildlife and reduce noise giving privacy for properties.
d. Creating interest and visual stimulation in public spaces.
e. Deﬁning boundaries between two or more facilities and screening of undesirable
IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HARDSCAPING AND
1. Design to reduce maintenance:
There is no maintenance-free landscape.however, proper planning can keep maintenance to minimum. The following guidelines seek to do
a) Keep grass areas large enough to guide mowing equipment.
b) Provide adequate surface drainage to shrub beds and grass areas.
c) Plant trees and shrubs in masses and in beds with a minimum 75-100 mm depth of mulch.
d) Choose sturdy plants of long life requiring minimal maintenance.
e) Design paths and paving to accommodate desire lines.
f) Allow for adequate preparation of soil for planting and grassing.
2. Soil selection and protection:
Soil selection for plants is an important factor when designing for soft landscape elements. In many cases, the existing soil cannot provide
trees and shrubs with sufﬁcient nutrients and water penetration for survival. In such cases soil needs to be imported to supplement the
existing site soil.
3. Porous paving:
Porous paving is useful where a hard surface is required to be installed near trees. Using structural soils and porous
paving together allow water to ﬁlter through the paving surface to the soil layers below providing water and
nutrients to the plant’s root system. Adequate drainage must be installed with permeable paving.
4. Root barriers:
Root barriers can provide protection to the surrounding infrastructure against disruption from tree roots with
minimal impact on the tree. Properly installed root barriers can protect pavement, footings and kerbs from cracking
and lifting. Root barriers should be installed vertically in a continuous length in a narrow trench with the top edge
ﬂush with the ﬁnished ground surface. The trench should be backﬁlled and tamped sufﬁciently to avoid later caving.
The barrier should not be torn or pierced.
5. Mulching materials:
Mulching material for planting areas should be selected on the basis of its general purpose and location of the bed
within the environment. The settled depth should be 75-100 mm, when applying mulch to newly constructed shrub
beds. This will prevent most seed germination in the soil. Fine mulch should not be used, as it is prone to decompose or
washed away rapidly.
6. General design considerations:
During the design process,information on all established trees should be recorded showing species type,height,canopy
spread and trunk circumference and location. When established trees are designed for keeping in development areas
the canopy,trunk and roots must be protected from damage. In any condition keeping of large trees in conﬁned areas
such as courtyards should be carefully considered in view of the public safety and maintenance implications.
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