When working with your Ottawa landscaping contractor, it is good to have some terms under your belt so that you can better understand the design plan and the estimate you will be given.

A basic tenet is hardscape and softscape. They are complete opposites, but both are necessary for the complete look of your landscape. Hardscape is what it sounds like, bricks, concrete, and stone. Softscape is the remainder, organic matter and mostly what grows.

The best landscape designs rely on both factors but with a good balance. A large driveway, retaining wall, and multiple walkways can be overwhelming. Surrounding the plants with rocks and gravel and luminaries and you can present more of an industrial feel than welcoming someone home. Conversely, overloading plants, a vegetable garden, grasses, and turf without a logical separation, including paths or ornamentation, and you will have your guests feeling as if they are moving through a jungle to get to your front door.

A solid mix between hard and soft scaping is the best compromise. That includes the front lawn, backyard, and even the side yards.

Hardscape vs Softscape


Hardscape is inanimate, solid, but still moveable.

  • Decks
  • Drives and walks
  • Water features
  • Kitchens

Hardscape, in general, prevents water from soaking into the soil and carries materials into the streams.

Softscape is basically growing things.

  • Flowers
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • Grass


Your design plan needs to consider many factors. To begin with, the size of the lot and the size and positioning of the structures (house, sheds, fencing), the need for specific hardscaping like retaining walls to prevent erosion, and the amount and direction of light (sun). That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a fair share of plants. It just means you may need to consider vertical plantings like planters on the walls or container gardening.

Contact A&Z Interlock Ottawa landscaping.

Speak with one of our Ottawa landscaping experts about your wants and needs, and they will be able to produce a workable plan. Whether you are looking for a modern, minimalist approach or something with more of a natural feel, our landscapers will be able to accommodate your wishes. A&Z Interlock is the premier provider of landscaping services in Ottawa and has been working in the area for over 15 years.