Softscape is the only component of the landscape that provides a consistently changing appearance through the seasons and years that can easily be manipulated as needs and wants evolve. The southwest Montana climate offers a spectrum of trees, shrubs, and perennials that can result in a beautiful and personalized softscape. Our initial concern when developing a planting design is to utilize proven plant types that best fit the particular functional needs of the site. Established plant material is essential for soil stabilization to prevent dust, mud, and slope erosion. It can also be the best option for screening, shade, softening structural edges, and moderating high summer temperatures. In addition to functionality, a properly completed planting design is beautiful and makes a project complete. We take care to determine a site’s unique microclimate when selecting plants knowing that certain species may not do well in harsher environments. Quite often we take advantage of indigenous plant material, but only when the plant’s survivability is not an issue, the plant will fulfill the functional needs of the site, and the look of the plant is appealing to the client.

Through experience we have seen that some indigenous plants are microclimate specific, so we do not assume that plants native to an area are always the best option. Many selected varieties and developed cultivars of native species have been used over the original because of better performance and aesthetic appeal. We are aware of the origins of all the larger plant material we install as well as the majority of the smaller plant material we install. Because of this, we are able to select plants that we know have the most performance potential based on a proven seed source and track record in our area. Once the appropriate source is selected, we then strive to give plants the best chance to become quickly established and perform well by reducing the stress level as much as possible. The time of year a plant is installed, methods of transportation and handling, and the immediate care it receives when planted can have the greatest impact on its performance. Our concern for detail in the history and care of our plant material has resulted in a very low replacement rate in our installed projects over the past ten years.

View more images in our softscape gallery.


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