Hardscaping adds texture, beauty, and functionality to every outdoor space. The term “hardscape” refers to any non-organic item used for landscaping. The most popular forms of hardscape are concrete, pavers, stone, and decking. Natural elements like plants, trees, flowers, and grass, are known as softscape. Just about every home has some combination of hardscape and softscape.
If you own a home with a yard, the right mix of hardscape and softscape can really bring an outdoor space to life. Every homeowner loves a wood deck or concrete patio with a barbecue and a place to relax in the nice weather. In the summer, nothing beats a built-in pool circled in pavers or an above-ground pool with a deck around it. But hardscape really means much more than just a place to lounge. Walkways, gazebos, waterfalls, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, and even fencing, are all examples of hardscape.
Some other reasons to consider hardscape when designing the perfect outdoor space are maintenance, accessibility, and cost. A large lawn in good condition looks beautiful but requires a lot of time and energy to keep it that way. Most likely you’ll spend at least part of every summer weekend mowing, weeding, or feeding. The hardscaped portion of your yard will usually require very little maintenance. However, if you insist on a mostly green outdoor space, you’ll probably still need some hardscape in the form of a walkway, a driveway, a retaining wall, or fencing. While a concrete yard may not have the same curb appeal as a nice lawn, modern pavers can look even better sometimes, and once they’re in, you’re done. No more mowing, no more feeding, and no more huge water bills.
Hardscapes are just as important as softscapes when it comes to outdoor living. Hardscape elements can be used simply for aesthetic effect, or to help define yard space and create a seamless transition to a home's outdoor living area. A well-designed landscape strikes a good balance between hardscape and softscape.