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Hardscape vs. Softscape Design

Posted on: August 14, 2012

If you’ve ever talked to professional landscape designers, you have probably heard the terms “hardscaping” and “softscaping.” They are two types of landscaping, and many landscape design companies, like Four Seasons, offer both services. Let’s further discuss what each term means and then explore how they’re different.

What is Hardscaping?

Hardscaping refers to the solid, hard elements in landscape design that stay the same for years. Examples of hardscape designs are:

  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Driveways
  • Walkways and stairs
  • Water features
  • Retaining walls
  • Outdoor kitchens

Many different materials are used in hardscape designs, including:

  • Slate
  • Flagstone
  • Terrazzo
  • Brick
  • Concrete

Hardscape design is usually a bigger project than softscaping.

What is Softscaping?

Softscaping is unlike hardscaping in that it doesn’t have that long-term or permanent quality. You can think of softscape design as it sounds – the “soft” features. Softscaping includes:

  • Plants
  • Shrubs and hedges
  • Flowers
  • Vines
  • Trees
  • Turf

Softscape designs change more often. You’ll probably change your plant design annually or more often than that, but once you install a new patio, you’ll keep it for a long time – probably 10 years or more.

Hardscape vs. Softscape Design: Two Elements Working Together

So, hardscaping and softscaping design are really just two different types of landscaping. In fact, it shouldn’t really be thought of as hardscape vs. softscape design, but rather hardscape and softscape design – the best landscaping actually combines both. Hardscaping and softscaping should complement each other and create a nice balance. You need hardscape designs to make up the core of your landscaping, but remember, no landscape design is complete without the plants and flowers (softscaping)!

Ideas of hardscaping and softscaping that you can use together include:

  • Covering your trellis or pergola with vines
  • Installing turf on part of your patio, veranda or deck
  • Lining flowers or plants along a driveway or walkway

Softscape & Hardscape Contractors in Maryland

Four Seasons helps homeowners throughout Maryland create the yard of their dreams with the right balance of hardscaping and softscaping. For 10 years, our softscape and hardscape contractors have been providing landscaping services that include patios, outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, pool areas and more.

Contact our experts today to learn more or if you’re ready to start your hardscaping and softscaping design!

Contact us today to learn more about our landscaping services!