Driveways, fences, gravel paths, outdoor kitchens and fire pits …

These are just a few of the many types of hardscaping features people use to enhance the overall look and feel of their landscape – whether it be a residential property or a commercial property.

When it comes to landscaping there are two major subcategories: hardscape and softscape.

What is Hardscaping?

Hardscape refers to non-living landscape materials, such as rocks, stones, and wood. Actually, water is also considered hardscape because most water features require a barrier to retain the water. Other types of hardscape include:

  • Arbors
  • Built-in furniture
  • Decks
  • Gazebos
  • Patios
  • Pergolas
  • Ramadas
  • Retaining walls
  • Walkways

What is Softscaping?

Softscape is the exact opposite and refers to living landscape materials. Types of softscape include:

Combining Hardscaping and Softscaping

Based on your preference, you may prefer one type of landscape over the other. If you’re like most people, though, you may decide you want to incorporate both hardscape and softscape elements into your landscape.

Take a drive around your neighborhood. Some of the best landscaping designs out there combine hardscape and softscape elements. Why? Because the right blend of hardscape and softscape elements makes an exterior pop. It also brings out the characteristics and beauty of the plant materials. They complement each other. Hardscape elements are the core of your landscape, but no landscape is complete without softscape elements.

Hardscaping features add depth to a landscape starving for more than just flowers and plants. They’re bulky and fill up spaces that are rather lacking. Essentially, they’re the meat to the potatoes. By combining the two, you’re turning a boring and dull landscape into a beautiful and thriving landscape.

Looking to enhance those plants? ‘Plant’ a retaining wall like the one pictured above.

What about an arbor covered in ivy?

Summer is right around the corner. Ever think about putting in patio decorated with potted plants?

Below are a few more examples of how you can combine hardscaping and softscaping features to create an aesthetically pleasing landscape:

  • Lining a walkway with flowers or plants.
  • Covering a gazebo with trailing vines.
  • Planting trees along a long driveway.
  • Installing a garden fountain in the backyard.
  • Adding a concrete retaining wall with a flowerbed.
  • Surrounding a courtyard with an appealing blend of greens.

There’s no right or wrong way to combine hardscaping and softscaping elements. Everyone has their own tastes. Hardscape elements tend to cost more than softscape elements due to the fact that hardscape elements last longer. They stay the same for years. Also, hardscape design is usually a bigger project than softscape design.

Whether you decide to go with hardscaping, softscaping, plan ahead – learn how to dispose of yard waste before diving in.