The Difference Between Hardscape and Softscape: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to designing an outdoor living space, it's important to understand the difference between hardscape and softscape. Hard landscaping uses hard materials such as fences, concrete, bricks, rocks, pebbles and flower pots, while softscaping includes growing plants, shrubs, trees and other living elements. To create a comfortable outdoor space, you must include both hard and soft landscape elements. The components of hardscapes are non-living things such as pavers, rocks, concrete, fences, doors, fountains and more.

Softscapes are living things such as grasses, flowers, vegetation covers, shrubs and trees. Hardscapes provide structure to your landscape design while softscapes often change and evolve. Physical landscaping requires more experience during installation but generally requires minimal future maintenance. Hardscapes reduce potential erosion and keep the soil intact.

To create a harmonious outdoor living space, you should incorporate both hard and soft landscape elements. Hardscapes include elements such as stone or concrete walkways, roofs, walls, planters and anything else that uses “hard” materials. Softscapes are the growing components of landscape design that are softer to the touch and adapt to the climate and other conditions. A front yard with a lot of hard scenery could have a circular paved road, similar to a hotel.

An excess of softscape may seem jungle-like while an absence of softscape elements may make a courtyard seem empty. With intelligent planning, even the smallest patio can be well designed and incorporate areas of hard and soft landscape. To conclude, the outdoor landscape design should ideally consist of a mix of hard and soft landscape elements to create perfect harmony and transform the outdoor living room.