The important part is to clearly understand what is viewed and regarded as the soft landscaping or “softscape” as it is often referred to, it includes all the living or horticultural elements in the design. The elements of landscape design include “hardscapes” and “softscapes” that complement each other to form the designed landscape.
The living part
The importance of the soft landscaping lies in the fact that it is the living part of the design that will ensure the success of the design. Landscape horticulture includes trees, shrubs, perennials, annual plants and more that can be used in “softscape” design. If the designer can’t find harmony and balance between the two elements the goals with the design won’t materialise.
Maintenance and upkeep
The hard landscape elements will on its own be rather sterile and cannot be changed easily. The soft landscape requires the most maintenance and upkeep and can either ensure the success of the design or turn it into an eyesore and turn off to customers and employees. The planning must also focus on the maintenance and upkeep of the design.
The objective of the landscaping is to foster unity between the architectural elements of the commercial property and its uses. This can help to achieve the sustainability goals set for the development, increase visibility to clients, provide a sanctuary or to just complement the beauty of the design. The objective should be to enhance the goals and purposes of the property.
The softscape will also contribute towards the sustainability of the design and the role it plays in ensuring that the carbon footprint of the construction doesn’t contribute to an increase in the use of fossil fuels. The design can help to reduce the usage of energy and provide additional security against certain climatic events.
The importance of the soft elements lie in the image it projects to customers and visitors alike:
- A well-designed landscape encourages people to do business and it clearly assists in showing visitors where the entrance, walkways and resting areas are. It is also proved that well-designed landscapes at for instance hospitals can assist in speeding up the healing process compared with institutions where patients only view was that of tarmac parking lots.
- The design serves to showcase the building that portrays an image of stability, trust and confidence or it can detract and portray a lack of maintenance, don’t care attitude and can lead to mistrust.
- The design helps to guides the customers and visitors and their behaviour, nice resting areas with shade, greenery and seating areas make customers feel welcome and they do tend to stay longer.
Accentuate important areas
The soft landscaping elements must be used to accentuate areas like the entrance, accent plants like shrubs and trees can play a great role. The design must serve to complement a property and not overpower it to become the main focus.