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The Differences Between Hardscaping and Softscaping

Many who seek to landscape ask themselves exactly what landscaping includes. Does it include brick and mortar? Is setting a garden a part of landscaping? These questions can be answered once the two elements of landscape are defined: hardscape and softscape.


Like their names indicate, hardscaping and softscaping are at two opposite ends of the landscape spectrum. They are what landscaping consists of, though. They’re two very different elements that fuse together to create design in nature.


Hardscape refers to the heavier and solid elements of landscaping—concrete, bricks, and stones. Hardscape elements are permanent and unchanging. They set the foundation for gardening elements.

Hardscaping examples include:

  • Walkways
  • Driveways
  • Patios
  • Swimming pools
  • Fountains
  • Stone benches
  • Arbors
  • Gates
  • Retaining walls
  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Decks


Softscaping refers to the natural and living part of landscaping—flowers, shrubs, and trees. Softscape elements are designed to grow and can be either temporary or permanent (depending on how while it’s maintained).

Softscaping examples include:

  • Grass
  • Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Flowers
  • Soil
  • Vegetable gardens

Best of Both

The perfect landscape is one that balances hardscape and softscape well. It’s vital for business and home owners to consider both when planning. Hardscape is permanent, meaning if you change your mind later, you’re going to have to through a redesign and replace the features. Softscape is living, meaning it requires care and maintenance. You may not want a landscape that features lots of walkways, but no gardens. On the other hand, you don’t want your landscape to look like a jungle with too many plants and not enough hardscape. An experienced landscaper will ensure that your design will be in perfect harmony.

Does your business or home need landscaping? Victor’s Landscaping offers both commercial and residential landscaping services. Find out why Arizona business owners and families have chosen Victor’s for their landscaping needs since 1999.

Questions? Call (602) 439-5192 to Talk to a Landscape Specialist

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