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Houston Landscape Design

A Houston landscape design company is not the same as a Houston landscaping company. Landscaping companies, as a general rule, work only with the organic elements of the front and back yard. Many only do lawn work, while others perform more specialized gardening services. Almost none of them, however, do anything to create sophisticated outdoor environments.

The truth is that organic elements represent only a fraction of what true Houston landscape design really is. What a landscape design firm creates in the form of a master plan is the equivalent of an home outdoors, complete with outdoor rooms and buildings, special gathering and recreation areas, and zones of highly aesthetic interest and emotional tone.

To create this unity between multiple forms, there has to be an underpinning theme that binds them together like an invisible fabric. This theme is the architecture of the home itself. The geometric principles that it establishes create the framework that then maps out new lines and radiuses into the yard. This brings the yard subliminally into unity with the home and simultaneously differentiates it as a unique point on the Houston landscape proper.

Hardscape is one of the most important components to the entire process of landscape design. By the broadest definition of the term, a hardscape is any manmade structure. But a more narrow definition of hardscape is that of a stone or concrete plane such as a patio, a motorcourt, a driveway, or the tile flooring of a courtyard.


Structures that rise perpendicular to the Houston landscape are more accurately described as custom masonry or outdoor architecture. These structures include such forms as architectural walls, retaining walls, custom planters, ornamental drains, stone steps, columns, and seat walls. Hardscapes can comprise up to 80 percent in some Houston landscape plans.

This is not to say that softscape elements are any less important.
On the contrary, the smaller percentage of vegetation in relationship to architecture increases its aesthetic value. Trees, shrubs, gardens, and ground cover all appear much more unique and highly individuated in relationship to deliberately constructed geometric structures. This lends a sense of sculpture to something that is by nature boundless and wild, and introduces a sense of discipline to landscape design than nonetheless preserves organic essence in the quest for order and symmetry.

Hardscapes and softscape can work together in this fashion because they are not polar opposites like many people assume them to be. Plant life is alive, and architectural structures are living spaces. In this sense both represent living systems of differing, but not necessarily opposing, natures. Landscape design focuses more on building relationships of interconnected interdependence between these two systems rather than falsely assuming they are opposites that need to be reconciled.

Outdoor rooms and outdoor buildings create luxury outdoor living space in the midst of life and geometric boundary. Technically speaking, an outdoor room is really nothing more than a special set aside for a purpose. Entry gardens and courtyards, morning gardens and terraces, are all forms of outdoor rooms. Notice that virtually none of these have walls as we would normally conceive a room to have. Most have only partial architectural walls or rows of vegetation that provides a sense of private enclosure while still allowing the guest a clear view of the Houston landscape.

Outdoor buildings are the structures that more closely resemble the rooms in a house. Common types include summer kitchens and arbor living rooms. These buildings almost always have roofs and walls, although it is common to leave at least one side of the structure open to the yard so people can enjoy a view of the landscape from the comfort of luxury dining or fine living room furniture.

For more the 20 years Exterior Worlds has specialized in servicing many of Houston’s fine neighborhoods.