What Are the Three Design Areas of a Residential Landscape?

When it comes to landscaping a residential property, there are three main design areas to consider: the softscape, the hardscape and the structures. Each of these areas plays an important role in creating an attractive, functional outdoor space around a home.


The softscape area of a residential landscape is comprised of all living components in the landscape. This includes trees and shrubs, perennial and annual flowers, sod lawns, ground covers and other foliage.

Softscapes are important for creating visual interest and color as well as providing habitat for birds and other wildlife. They can also provide shade, privacy and even noise reduction.


The hardscape area of a residential landscape includes all non-living components such as pathways, patios, decks, fencing and retaining walls. Hardscapes are important for adding structure to the landscape as well as providing places for entertaining guests or simply enjoying outdoor living space. Hardscapes are also essential for managing water runoff from rain or irrigation.


Structures in a residential landscape include outdoor kitchens or bars, fire pits or fireplaces, storage sheds or playhouses and other amenities that add value to a home. Structures can be used to create functional space while also adding visual interest to the landscape.


The three design areas of a residential landscape – softscape, hardscape and structures – each play an important role in creating an attractive outdoor environment around a home. A successful residential landscape incorporates all three areas in order to create an inviting atmosphere for people to enjoy.