What Is the Difference Between Hardscape and Landscape? A Detailed Explanation

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The design of your outdoor area is influenced by many elements. Hardscapes and landscapes both add life and softness to your yard. When designed and implemented properly, both can create the perfect outdoor space to relax, entertain, and enjoy with friends and family.

Landscape vs. Hardscape: Know the difference

Your landscaper, or contractor for outdoor work may use these terms when creating and designing the landscape. What do these terms mean? Understanding the differences between these two terms can help you visualize your landscaper’s vision and even inspire you to design your own. This will help you understand and care for your newly created space.

What is Hardscape?

Hardscapes are any non-living design elements that you use in your landscape. These are the hard design elements like bricks, stones, concrete, pavers, and rocks. The term hardscaping can also refer to man-made structures such as decks, patio covers, or pergolas.

What is Landscape?

Landscape includes all the “soft” or living elements in your design, such as plants, flowers, grasses, and trees. When used correctly, these elements can transform your space quickly into a relaxing and calm oasis.

It’s easy to see the differences between the two. It can be tricky to get them to work together in your design.

Why Do I Need to Hardscape My Yard?

It’s not just about aesthetics when it comes to hardscaping. It is important for the overall functionality of your outdoor area. It is essential to think about how your choice of hardscaping, its layout, and its design will affect the look, efficiency, and flow of your landscaping. Stone steps or retaining walls can help level out sloping land. These materials can help to improve drainage in areas that may flood more quickly. Materials like stone, concrete, and rock absorb heat from the sun to help dry out the soil. It can help prevent standing water, excessive moisture, mildew, and algae, as well as unwanted pests. They provide privacy and security for your home. Fences and gates define your property lines and separate areas of your yard you might want to use in other ways.

Hardscaping can also provide a seamless transition from your interior to your exterior when designed and installed correctly. The outdoor kitchen, deck, or patio can provide outdoor amenities to rival your indoor space. A fire pit or outdoor can extend the use of outdoor space into the winter months. A usable outdoor living space encourages you and your family members to spend more time outdoors. It also gives you an ideal place to host and entertain guests.

Softscape and Hardscape

Hardscapes: Tips to Use Hardscapes in Your Design

  • Many homeowners like to match their hardscaping with the exterior of their home. The two environments will appear to blend seamlessly. Try incorporating stones into your hardscaping if, for instance, your home has stone on its exterior.
  • Hardscaping must always have a sense of purpose. Create a focal point in the design process to attract the viewer’s attention. But don’t forget to include places where the eye can rest. It is an excellent opportunity to use the soft features of landscaping.
  • Too many straight lines in your landscaping can make it look unnatural. The design should look natural as if it were unplanned. It still needs to be visually appealing. Include curves and round edges to break up your design and add some creativity to your outdoor space.
  • You should consider how your design may affect drainage. Your landscape shouldn’t be flooded by your hardscaping. You can improve your yard’s drainage by using features like retaining walls or stone steps. Use your materials to fix areas that have standing water or are not getting enough water.
  • The natural expansion and contraction the earth can destroy hardscaping if not built properly. Plan for possible shifting and movement. Avoid extensive damage to hardscaping by settling it below the frost line.
  • Use greenery and plants wherever you can. A lack of landscaping and excessive hardscaping can make your space feel cold and unwelcoming. Combining your hardscaping with landscaping will make the space feel more natural and like a part of its outdoor environment.

Add Value to Your Home (and Curb Appeal)

Hardscaping and landscape can dramatically increase curb value and the value of your house. Most people will not buy a home that looks bad from the outside. Patios and decks are some of the best features you can add to your outdoor design in order to increase your home ROI. Planting beautiful flowers, decorative shrubs, and trees is a great way to increase the value of your house. Your home will look more attractive and appealing when your landscaping complements your hardscaping. The buyer is more likely to want to see more and make an offer.

Hardscape Maintenance

Hardscapes require much less maintenance and care than landscaping. These surfaces can be damaged by the weather and seasonal changes. Preventative maintenance and regular care are essential to prolong the life of hardscaping. Add a protective coating to hardscape surfaces like wood fences, decks, or patios. This will help prevent cracks and chips. Fresh staining or sealing can refresh and renew the appearance of outdoor materials. Filling cracks in between pavers will help to prevent weeds from growing and moisture from causing further damage.


Cleaning up spills, messes and other unwanted substances will prevent stains. This will further enhance the beauty of your outdoor features. Mold and mildew, which are unwanted growths, can stain and damage your hardscaping. They can also be unsightly and slippery. By removing them, you will protect your family and extend the life of hardscaping. Consider the cleaning products and tools you use when cleaning your hardscaping. Wire brushes and heavy-duty scrapers can cause scratches and dents on your hardscaping. While pressure washing is a great way to clean surfaces such as flagstone and concrete, it can damage composite decking or even wood. You should be careful about how you treat and clean your hardscaping.


By combining landscaping and hardscaping in your outdoor area, you can create an attractive experience. It’s easier to achieve the perfect space if you know how they work together, what their differences are, and how best to use them. For expert hardscaping to enhance your outdoor lifestyle, contact 345 Landscaping.

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