The difference between Hardscaping and Softscaping

A lot of times when I’m talking with clients I use the terms “hardscaping” and “softscaping” to describe various aspects of a project. So what exactly does each term mean?

Hardscaping is a term generally used by landscaping pros to describe walkways and patios we install to give homeowners easy access to their patios, backyards and many times, here in water rich Florida, boat docks. The word is used to describe any permanent, nonliving structure in a landscape. Hardscaping is not only a practical element that provides sure footing, but is also an important design element sometimes called “the bones” of a landscape. It gives a landscape definition in winter, when many perennials die to the ground. Hardscaping includes everything from arbors, fences, decks, gazebos and other wooden structures, to rock, stone, brick, stucco or wrought iron. It can be gates, walls, walks or patios. Hardscaping even describes “soft” paving materials like bark chips or gravel.

When we talk about Softscaping it is a term used to describe any living element of a landscape design. These can include plants, fish, birds and other animals that become a part of your project. Sometimes you will hear the terms Soft or Animate landscaping, but these are all interchangeable with Softscaping.

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