Landscaping is a broad term that refers to work which designs and creates residential and commercial outdoor spaces. Structural landscaping is a little more specialised. Essentially, the job of a structural landscaping professional refers to the heavy stuff. So, moving earth and creating structures. Examples include stone retaining walls, creating flat levels or terraces, concrete driveways, stone paths, paving patios, decks, fencing and structural ornamentation. In addition, structural landscapers are concerned with managing water and drainage issues as part of their designs. Fair Trading describes the work of a structural landscaping professional as:
- retaining walls of any material that do not form part of a habitable building;
- fencing, driveways, paths and other paving of any material;
- cabanas, pergolas, decks and non-habitable shelters; and
- ornamental ponds, water features and other structural ornamentation.
Hard Landscaping and Soft Landscaping
Structural landscaping work can be divided into two categories. These are hard landscaping (Hardscaping) and soft landscaping (Softscaping). Firstly, hard landscaping consists of using hard and sometimes large elements. These include bricks, pavers, stones, rocks, boulders, footings and retaining walls to change a landscape. Secondly, soft landscaping could be considered the living part of the landscape. So, plants, grasses, shrubs, trees, ponds and water features. Of course, hard and soft landscaping will overlap at times.
When to Call the Structural Landscaping Professionals
There are some projects that you might want to tackle yourself—for instance, a low stone wall or a simple stone pathway. Remember, though, there are council rules governing wall heights and location, plus DA’s that you may need too. Also, most structural landscaping is hard, heavy, skilled work involving dangerous weights and specialised machinery. For most of us, therefore, it’s best to enjoy the planning stage with your landscaper, and then sit back and watch the magic happen!