Hardscaping vs. Softscaping

29 Apr 2021 Landscape Design, Landscape Services

When it comes to landscape design and construction, it is equally important to consider hardscaping and softscaping elements. Though they are polar opposites, both are necessary to create a functional and beautiful landscape. Knowing the similarities and differences between hardscaping vs. softscaping can help ensure the best possible result for your landscaping project. As leading providers of quality landscaping services, the team at Jovak Landscape & Design has compiled some information on hardscaping and softscaping to highlight their unique characteristics.

Learn about some great hardscape ideas for low maintenance yards.

What is the Difference Between Hardscaping and Softscaping?

The type of labour and the materials used are the two main differences between hardscape and softscape elements. To put it simply, hardscaping refers to hard materials such as stone, bricks, wood, and concrete. Softscaping, on the other hand, refers to softer materials such as grass, flowers, trees, and shrubs. The following is a more detailed explanation of their unique characteristics:

Hardscaping Characteristics

Hardscape elements are used to provide structure to a landscape design and help keep everything organized. The materials used in hardscaping are often referred to as hard, inanimate, and difficult to move. Examples of these materials include stone, gravel, wood, and concrete. Hardscape elements can include:

  • Retaining walls
  • Pavers for paths
  • Patios
  • Water features
  • Gazebos
  • Firepits
  • Decks
  • Driveways

Hardscape features tend to be more difficult to set up and build but require less maintenance over time. Each of these features can have a prominent environmental effect on your property. For example, a large driveway or pathway can increase the amount of water runoff. The location of hardscape design elements tends to shape the direction of softscape elements.

Softscaping Characteristics

Softscape elements are often used to “fill in” the landscape design set out by hardscape elements. The materials used in softscaping are referred to as soft, living, growing, and ever-changing. Examples of softscape materials include flowers, shrubs, grass, and trees. Softscape design elements can include:

  • Perennial and annual plants
  • Gardens
  • Shrubbery
  • Trees and branches
  • Lawns

Softscape elements can be easier to implement than hardscape elements, but they require far more maintenance and upkeep. Due to being living elements of a landscape, they are also more susceptible to changes in temperature and other environmental conditions.

To learn more about hardscaping, softscaping, and other areas of landscaping, reach out to the experts at Jovak Landscape & Design. They can be reached through their online contact form and will work with you to bring your landscaping project to life.