Hardscape refers to the solid and hard elements of landscape design that stay the same for years. These are the toughest design elements in your space, such as concrete, rocks, bricks, cobblestones, stone and wood. Hard landscaping also includes man-made structures, such as decks, pergolas, or patio covers, that are specifically used in your landscaping. 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. Hardscape revolves around brick and mortar. Roofs, pools, berms, patios, pergolas and driveways use hard gardening materials. Often, the soft landscape exists in or around a harsh landscape.
Flowers, plants, and other materials can shape the overall design of a harsh landscape. From an urban planning perspective, hard landscapes 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. Landscaping is a benefit for a garden because it reduces possible erosion and keeps the soil intact. Without bare soil or natural drainage channels, swamps or sewers nearby, hard landscapes with an impermeable surface require artificial drainage methods or surface runoff to transport water that would normally be absorbed into the soil in the form of groundwater and prevent its premature wear and tear.
Using landscaping and landscaping together in your outdoor space can create a visually appealing experience in your home. Before deciding on a hard landscape installation, you should consider the “feel” of the surrounding landscape of a house. Most water sources are hard landscapes because they require a barrier to retain water, rather than allowing it to drain into the surrounding soil. Natural rain, water from hoses and sprinklers can degrade the exterior of a home over time, but the harsh landscape is useful for the home by protecting its boundaries.
When properly designed and implemented, landscaping also provides fluidity from the inside of the house to the outside. Hard landscaping makes it possible to construct artificial landscape elements that would otherwise be impossible due to soil erosion, including some that compensate for the large amounts of human traffic that would cause wear and tear on bare earth or grass. When used in conjunction with hardscape elements, soft landscapes can add a natural and colorful touch as accent pieces. A front yard with a lot of hard scenery could have a circular paved road, similar to a hotel.