What Is Hardscape: Everything You Need To Know

Hardscape Investment

Are you looking for a way to transform your property? Many people don’t think about hardscape as part of the landscaping process. But, if you walk outside to sit on your patio and appreciate your yard, you realize how the two are incredibly intertwined. 

Hardscape is a component of landscaping that implements fixtures that are often for the convenience of humans. This includes things like walkways, driveways, fountains, fire pits, and more. 

Consider this article your definitive guide to hardscape landscaping. We’ll answer all of your questions regarding hardscape and help you make an educated decision on what to do to complete your hardscape project.

What Is Hardscape?

Think about all the times you’ve spent in your backyard throughout your life. Maybe you can remember sitting outside by the fire pit when you were young. Or spending lazy days out on the patio or deck. Perhaps your childhood home was fenced in to keep your yard private. All of these experiences begin with hardscaping. 

So what exactly is hardscape? Well, like we mentioned before, hardscape is one of two main subcategories within landscaping. Hardscape involves non-living, decorative, and functional structures. This means that outdoor lighting, walkways, and fences are all examples of hardscape. 

On the other hand, there’s softscape landscaping. This is what people generally picture when they think of landscaping. This is the maintenance of all living things within a yard. Both softscape and hardscape are crucial aspects of landscaping.

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Hardscape Landscaping vs Softscape Landscaping

Both hardscape and softscape are essential parts of landscaping. But what’s really the difference between these two? The easiest way to differentiate between hardscape and softscape is by their names. Think of hardscape as hard structures and softscape as the soft stuff in your yard. 

Hardscape Elements

  • Non-living
  • Inanimate objects
  • Natural or man-made

Softscape Elements

  • Living/growing components of a yard
  • Soft to touch
  • Change constantly 

Now that you know the basic differences between hardscape and softscape, let’s get into hardscape. 

Examples of Hardscape Landscape

Hardscape can generally include any practical or decorative addition to landscaping. Here are some examples:

  • Arbors, gazebos, and pergolas: These structures serve a specific purpose–a place to hide from the sun–while also maintaining a beautiful look.
  • Water features like fountains or ponds: These usually serve an aesthetic purpose.
  • Fences: The function of a fence is to keep your lawn and your property private to you. It also frames your house or office building.
  • Stone walkways: These are great for walking through a lawn or garden. 
  • Gravel paths: A good alternative walkway for those who don’t want to spend the money on stone or concrete.
  • Patios: Perfect for alone time or for guests. Patios allow you to appreciate the landscape of your lawn.

Materials Used In Hardscaping

While you can’t predict all of the tools or materials you might need to complete your hardscape project, you’re guaranteed to be using some of the materials listed below:

  • Brick: Available in clay or concrete with many different colors and cuts. 
  • Concrete
  • Natural or faux wood: Can be used for decks, pergolas, and arbors.
  • Pavers: Can be used in the backyard for walkways or for driveways. 
  • Stone
  • Landscaping Stone: Loose stones generally used for walkways or around plants. Come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

These are the basic materials used in hardscaping. You might end up not using some of these depending on what type of project you are working on. Obviously there are plenty of options available.

Hardscape design

Why Is Hardscape Design Important?

While softscape is the soul of your yard, hardscape can give your yard something of an artistic edge. This is where landscaping gets creative. Hardscaping allows more room for innovative design, as paved areas can support structures that would otherwise cause erosion on bare soil.

And hardscape is more than just decorative. Most of the time, in addition to being pleasing to the eyes, hardscape structures serve functional and practical purposes as well. For example, retaining walls and steps look nice and they also level slopes while improving drainage. 

Additionally, paths and walkways reduce foot traffic from the lawn itself, which protects it. Gates and fences offer you privacy and protection while framing the house or building. Materials often used in hardscaping, like stone, dry out surrounding areas which prevents standing water, mildew, and algae. 

How To Get The Most Out Of Hardscaping

Remember when planning your hardscape design that you’re blending the elements of your building with the elements of nature. You’re creating a space where beauty and functionality merge to create a pleasurable outdoor experience. In this way, it’s not just about how it looks. It’s about you–the customer–and your experience. 

You should aim to create a hardscape focal point within your lawn. Perhaps a patio or a gazebo. In addition to that, you should keep a good mix of softscape and hardscape going on in your yard. Too much hardscape can make a lawn look bleak and exposed. On the other hand, too much softscape will make your yard look overgrown. 

Ultimately, go with your vision and find a landscaping company that collaborates with you to achieve your dream yard.

Best Hardscaping Companies For Chicago Suburbs

At Arbeen Landscaping, we are passionate about what we do. Hardscaping, landscaping, and even snow removal are all done with the highest quality materials and the highest quality workmanship.

We understand that the outside of your property should look just as good as the inside, and we can help you achieve your vision of the space. After working with us, we can take an otherwise bland or even hazardous yard and transform it into a beautiful, usable outdoor space. 

If you think your yard needs a new look, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote. We take landscaping seriously and always work hard to meet the needs of our clients. If you have an additional question or just want to know more about hardscape landscaping, feel free to reach out to us today. 

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