What is a Hardscape Area? A Comprehensive Guide

Any solid structure in an outdoor area other than plant life is considered hardscape. Examples of hardscape features include entrances, patios, fountains, fire pits, and walkways. The term hardscape refers to all non-living elements of landscaping, such as a brick patio, stone wall, or wooden tree. It is one of the two main subcategories of landscaping, the other being softscape.

Softscape includes all the living and organic elements of a garden or lawn, such as trees, flowers and grass. Simply put, the hardscape is any of the non-living elements in your landscape design. As the name suggests, these are the toughest design elements in your space, such as concrete, rocks, bricks, cobblestones, stone and wood. Landscaping also includes man-made structures, such as roofs, pergolas, or patio covers, that are specifically used in your gardening. Windows, doors, and outdoor areas require patios and entrances to remain accessible.

Similarly, an outdoor pool cannot function without a suitable terrace nearby. Hardscape, in essence, exists to prevent water absorption. Natural rain, water from hoses and sprinklers can degrade a home's exterior over time, but hardscapes serve the home by protecting its boundaries. In addition, hard landscaping protects the structural integrity of an area. Brick and mortar create fortified foundation areas, protecting a patio from daily wear and tear.

Of course, the hardscape serves as an additional foundation where aesthetics are considered. Often, a hardscape installation is customizable. Stone benches, vertical walls and paved walkways serve a purpose by visually “uniting the patio”.They provide designated areas for user activities within garden spaces, such as reading, meeting, eating, or relaxing. Hardscape includes constructed and inanimate elements that are common in patios and outdoor living spaces.

Whether made of concrete, brick, pebbles, or sand, exterior features such as walkways, paths, driveways and sidewalks are hardscapes. Decks, patios, fireplaces terraces and porches also qualify as hardscapes. Anything you use to border garden areas such as bricks rocks or wood is considered hard scenery. Even bird drinkers ponds ceramics and sculptures fall into this category. Hardscape features also include vertical surfaces such as trellises raised beds retaining walls and fences. Unlike the hardscape the softscape includes natural outdoor elements such as flowers trees and grass.

Without bare soil or natural drainage channels swamps or nearby sewers hardscapes with an impermeable surface require artificial drainage methods or surface runoff to transport water that would normally be absorbed into the soil as groundwater and prevent premature wear. To better understand how to design a landscape the two main elements that make up outdoor living spaces are known as hardscape and softscape. Growing plants in and around a water source is a great way to integrate hardscapes and softscapes within the same design. Most water sources are hardscapes because they require a barrier to retain water rather than allowing it to drain into the surrounding soil. Hard landscaping is a fundamental part of landscape design as it provides definition and a sense of organization to natural areas and features. And unwanted growth such as mold and mildew can not only stain the landscape but it can also be slippery and unsightly.

With intelligent planning even the smallest patio can be well designed and incorporate areas of hard and soft landscape. From an urban planning perspective hardscapes can include very large elements such as paved roads entrances or fountains and even small pools or ponds that do not exceed a certain safe height. Landscape Solutions is proud to offer expert landscapers the creation of beautiful eye-catching landscape designs that include balanced elements of hard and soft landscapes. Some garden projects are too physically demanding to complete with labor alone and others require heavy equipment.

Knowing the difference between hardscaping and general landscaping is important as a quality hardscape configuration creates a lasting and fascinating landscape. In addition to the Necessories outdoor living kits Parr Lumber offers materials for hardscape elements such as pavers and retaining walls. Flower pots and raised pedestals (hardscape) with potted gardens (softscape) attract attention upwards and save space.