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Last edited 17 Aug 2021
The term ‘landscape’ refers to an area whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’ (ref European Landscape Convention). For more information see: Landscape.
Softscape or soft landscape includes all types of plant life, from flowers and trees to shrubs and groundcover. All of the living horticultural elements of landscape design are soft landscape components. The term is commonly used by gardeners and other members of the landscaping profession, such as practitioners of landscape design, landscape architecture, and garden design.
Soft landscaping is a term used to describe the process of working with natural materials and other landscape elements that do not involve construction. This can include elements including turf, trees, hedges, shrubs and so on.
Soft landscape contrasts with hard landscape, which is the non-plant material used in landscaping, such as retaining walls, paving material, driveways, walkways, decking, steps and so on. For more information see: Hard landscape.
 Creating a suitable soft landscape
The materials that are used for soft landscape naturally change and evolve over time, driven by growth, the climate and other conditions. Seasonal components can also play a significant factor in soft landscape planning, particularly when there is a desire to create a vibrant environment throughout the course of the year.
 Planning for maintenance
- Selecting plants that are either drought or flood resistant, depending on the average rainfall of the area.
- Planting shrubs, hedges and trees that require minimal care.
- Mulching often but turning the soil infrequently.
- Planting densely to minimise the need to weed.
- Reducing plantings that require high levels of labour.
- Using established beds and borders to structure soft landscape.
The Landscape Institute (LI) is the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape professionals and an educational charity. It was founded in 1929 (when it was known as the Institute of Landscape Architects), and the first President, Thomas Mawson, was one of the first professionals to use the title 'landscape architect'. For more information see: Landscape Institute.
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