Established in 1999

Serving Arizona and North Texas

The Difference Between Hardscape and Landscape

Hardscape and landscape, while related, are entirely different. Landscaping projects overarch hardscape and softscape projects. While softscape encompasses grass, shrubs, vegetable gardens and other inclusions, hardscape includes ‘hard’ landscaping additions. Knowing the difference between hardscape and overall landscape is important—as a quality hardscape setup makes enduring, fascinating landscape.

All About Hardscape

Hardscape revolves around brick and mortar. Decks, pools, berms, patios, arbors and driveways all utilize hardscape materials. Often, softscape exists in or around hardscape. Flowers, plants and other material can pattern a hardscape’s overall design.

What Does Hardscape Do?

Hardscape exists at most households. Windows, doors, and outdoor areas require patios and driveways to remain accessible. Similarly, an outdoor pool cannot function without proper decking nearby. Hardscape, in essence, exists to prevent water absorption. Natural rain, hose water, and sprinklers can degrade a home’s exterior over time, but hardscape serves the household by protecting its boundaries.
Additionally, hardscape protects an area’s structural integrity. Brick and mortar create fortified foundation areas, protecting a yard from day-to-day wear and tear. Of course, hardscape serves as an additional foundation where aesthetics are considered. Often, a hardscape installation is customizable. It also maintains embellished areas. Stone benches, vertical walls, and paved walkways all serve a purpose while ‘pulling the yard together,’ visually.

All About Landscaping

Landscaping, meanwhile, encompasses hardscaping. It defines a yard’s shape, definition, and inclusions. A landscape consists of hardscape and softscape. Alike, both create a memorable landscape—one capable of capturing a home’s essence while protecting its property line. When working on a landscape project, hardscape and softscape should be considered. Hardscape, more so, because of its impact on the yard’s structural purpose.

Planning Landscape with Hardscape

Before ever settling on hardscape installation, a home’s surrounding landscape ‘feel’ should be considered. Again, much of a landscape’s space is considered hardscape. As a rule, whole areas should be designed beforehand. An area’s comprehensive feel, when determined, can be ‘filled in.’ Think of the big picture, first.
The yard’s structural integrity, too, should be defined. Sure, one hardscape option looks fine, but will it protect a landscape option? Overall, your landscape is the sum of parts within it. While a misplaced hardscape option may seem small, it can make differences in terms of drainage and erosion. A property’s spatial, drainage, structural, and safety concerns should be addressed before installation begins.

Landscape and Hardscape Together

When your hardscape project is in scope, your landscape will benefit. Each runoff, bench placement, and patio dimension, when accounted for, can greatly enhance your landscape’s overall feel. In general, controlling water runoff, rather than displacing it, is effective.
Similarly, create hardscape leading to a landscape’s destination. The pool, the house, the shed, and the gate should be centerpieces. Your softscape will play a part. Softscaped bushes, gardens and flower collections should complement your hardscape’s gesture.


Above all, the area should feel natural. Your patio and pool deck should be considered ‘focal points,’ as they’ll assist surrounding architecture. Often, a large focal point accommodates for any lacking architecture. When drafting a landscaping project, consider your focal point hardscape first. Then, branch out, creating innovations as you go. As you design more hardscape, softscape and overall landscape options will emerge. Sometimes, a yard’s atmosphere won’t be apparent until total hardscape is selected.
That said, much can be said about ‘atmosphere-first’ projects. Your island getaway, woodland oasis or mountain paths all deserve consideration, so don’t sell your ideas short due to spatial restrictions. Most atmospheres can be pulled off. You just might need a little creativity. As your space develops, new opportunities will arise. Many hardscape projects evolve over time, too. As the household’s needs change, so, too, do yard-based possibilities. Take some time, plan and get ready to create an awesome landscape. 
Not sure where to start with planning? Contact Blooming Desert today. The beauty of the outdoors has an importance to us and we understand the beauty of your yard has an importance to you. We want to help you with all of your landscape projects.