Did you know that there are two different types of landscaping? Firstly there is “Softscaping” which refers to the live horticultural elements of a landscape.  The second is “Hardscaping” Which refers to the man-made features used in landscaping, for example, your paths, walls, gabions etc, as contrasted with vegetation.


Fountains are a great example of hardscaping

Hardscaping (or hardscape) is the usage of natural or man-made, basically which are non-living materials for building various structures. Hardscaping uses materials like concrete, stone, brick, metal and even wood. Though hardscaping at first might sound like something which is weird and a lot different from the usual landscaping, it is nothing like that. In short, hardscaping follows the same principles and is just like softscaping, only hard to the touch materials are used in this case. The function or main aim of using hardscaping is to create elements that will last long, as well as aesthetically compliment the softscaping features of your landscape. A pebble pathway, a gabion wall etc. There is no certain size to it, another way of saying it is that it is available in all size and shapes, and thus anything, any outdoor structure can be created using hardscaping. It will no only imprve the look of your house but also improve the property value.

Hardscaping is an art unto itself, it makes any landscaping project it’s own unique challenge. An advantage with hardscaping is its long-lasting nature. Since hardscaping makes use concrete in many of its forms, it makes the structure long-lasting. If the structures are built properly and with adequate care, then they can last even a lifetime. Other materials used in hardscaping such as wood, require more attention and maintenance in order to prevent rot. Hardscaping may allow the creation of landscaping features that compensate for large amounts of foot traffic that would cause wear and tear on bare earth or grass.

Hardscaping Path
Hardscaping Path

Examples of Hardscaping

Hardscaping can be used for creating concrete patios, walkways, gravel paths, wooden docks, fences and much more.

It is an integral part of landscaping, and each landscaping project contains something or the other built using hardscape materials. For example, a wooden fence in a garden, or even a patio is part of hardscaping. Most gardening and landscaping projects are incomplete without hardscaping. It is an integral part of outdoor landscaping constructions.

So here are few benefits and examples of hardscaping:

Walkways and Paths

As mentioned earlier, foot traffic and grass don’t go well together. So creating a walkway through brick, stone, cement etc is a great option to style your garden’s pathways.  A well-designed path invites visitors to move safely and quickly to the house or entertainment area. A well-constructed path leading to a garden space is eye-catching and brings attention to manicured lawns or flowers around it.

For some inspiration check out this excellent Pinterest Page.

What is a retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a structure built to keep the mass behind it at bay. Its a pretty easy job description for a wall, much easier said than done though as the battle against gravity and forces of nature are which are always a constant threat. You will find retaining walls in places where extra support is needed to prevent the earth from moving downhill due to erosion. A hardscaping designer can make use of many materials including concrete, wood, or rocks and a variety of building techniques to create structures that are practical and attractive.


An example of a retaining wall


How complicated is a stair? Well, there are four main parts to it, the “tread” is the flat part of the stair that we place our feet on.The “riser” is the height to the stair that separates the “treads”. The “Stringer” then acts as a support to the side of the stair and holds the treads and risers in place. Finally, there is the landing, which is a  horizontal and flat piece allowing the stair goer either rest before continuing up the stairs or climbing down. So with these elements, there are a few options with regards to hardscaping and design that we can take. Also, as with all hardscaping, the environment must be taken into account and how the design can best be incorporated into it. Below are some images of different staircase designs.

Ever wondered what the difference between a stoop and stairs are? A stairway is one or more flights of stairs that may or may not have a landing. A stoop is a small landing at the exit of a doorway, usually measuring just over a metre.

Embankment Stiars
Slab Stairs
Wooden Stairs

So Much More…

Luxury details like swimming pools, customized patios, different seating areas, are part of hardscaping and are integral in creating an appearance of luxury and comfort to a house or a property look.

Something that needs to be kept in mind while hardscaping is that to maintain the design of drainage system clearly. If hardscaping is done in the courtyard, or the backyard, the drainage needs to be taken care or, and if the needed artificial system should be placed or used, so that the soil is not affected, and there is no soil erosion.

This is just a brief introduction to hardscaping, a creative way to create attractive landscape designs. When well planned and executed it proves really beneficial to the garden’s design, to the surrounding landscape, as well as to the whole ecosystem. We are always available to discuss hardscaping options, so please contact us.

Image Credit:


Creatve Common

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