The Difference Between Hard and Soft Landscaping

When it comes to designing outdoor living spaces, there are two main elements that must be taken into consideration: hardscaping and softscaping. Hard landscaping is the non-living elements of the landscape made of stone, bricks, concrete or metal. Soft landscaping is living elements such as soil, trees, flowers, grass, and shrubs. A well-balanced landscape design will include an attractive combination of both hard and soft landscaping elements to make it a comfortable place.

The difference between the two is quite simple. Hardscaping elements are non-living things, such as pavers, rocks, concrete, fences, doors, fountains, and more. Softscape elements are living things such as grasses, flowers, vegetation covers, shrubs and trees. A gentle landscape consists of all the living elements of a landscape: trees, flowers, grass, shrubs and other plants.

It also refers to other aspects that are included in gardening, such as weed management, the use of mulch and other tasks such as cutting, trimming, sorting and planting. The best landscape designs create harmony between the elements of the hardscape and the softscape. Without expert knowledge of landscaping, achieving the right balance between hardscaping and softscaping can be a challenge. To better understand how to design a landscape, it is important to understand the differences between hardscapes and softscapes.

Hardscapes are generally more permanent than softscapes. The type of workmanship and materials used are the two factors that differentiate between hardscaping and softscaping. While physical landscaping requires more experience during installation, it generally requires minimal future maintenance.


can include stone paving for pathways or driveways, retaining walls for terraces or gardens, outdoor kitchens or fire pits for entertaining guests.

Softscapes are generally more flexible than hardscapes as they can be changed more frequently. Softscapes can include flower beds with colorful blooms or lush green grass for a lawn area. They can also include trees for shade or shrubs for privacy. Softscapes require more maintenance than hardscapes as they need to be watered regularly and pruned or trimmed when necessary.

When designing your outdoor space it is important to consider both hardscape and softscape elements in order to create a well-balanced design that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. With intelligent planning even the smallest patio can be well designed and incorporate areas of both hardscape and softscape elements. Flower pots and raised pedestals (hardscape) with potted gardens (softscape) attract attention upwards and save space. Add in a landscape that mainly includes rocks and gravel, some architectural light poles, perhaps a stone retaining wall, and it's an overload of hardscape. With the addition of hardscape elements your patio can have conversation groups around fire pits, kitchens and outdoor dining areas, and places for swimming with spaces to rest. The outdoor living space offers an oasis in which to enjoy life so it is important to consider both hardscape and softscape elements when designing your exterior space in order to create a comfortable place.