What’s the Difference Between Hardscaping and Softscaping?

Our landscapers in Mercer County, NJ, have answered just about every question under the sun (or in the backyard!) when it comes to landscape design. One of our most frequently asked questions is, “what’s the difference between hardscaping and softscaping?” While hardscaping and softscaping both provide a major upgrade for your outdoor living spaces, they’re quite different. Read on to learn about these two different services — and decide which one might work best for your property. 

Hardscaping: Brick by Brick

To put it simply, hardscaping involves adding man-made structures (composed of inanimate materials) to your landscaping design. For instance, some homeowners’ plans to hardscape include retaining wall installation services. On the other hand, their next-door neighbors might decide on an elaborate paver patio, while still, other homeowners want new stone walkways. These all count as hardscape elements since they qualify as “man-made structures composed of inanimate materials.”

Hardscape elements in your yard can provide these and more benefits for your family:

  • Retaining walls prevent soil erosion, keeping your flowers, bushes, and trees healthy.
  • Stone paths can keep your home clean by providing a walkway free of dirt and mud.
  • Paver patios make a wonderful gathering area for the whole family.
  • Ponds, fire pits, and brick fireplaces make beautiful focal points that add “wow factor” and curb appeal to your property.

Softscaping: Your Yard in Bloom

Even if you can’t name even one of the many softscaping elements, the odds are pretty good that you’ve probably dabbled in softscaping in your own yard. If you’ve ever mowed your own lawn or planted your own flowers, you’ve done softscaping work. That’s because softscaping is defined by how the living elements of your yard are integrated into your landscape design. Everything that blooms, grows, sprouts, or blossoms in your yard counts as a softscape element.

If you’re interested in truly making your yard into a natural paradise, seeking out professionals to do your softscaping is ideal. Here are just a few ways softscaping can improve your property:

  • Trees, bushes, and shrubs can provide privacy and shade year-round.
  • Beautiful flowers throughout your yard make your property feel warm and welcoming for family members and guests alike.
  • A well-kept lawn and garden boosts your property value and helps your home stand out among others on the block — especially if you’re thinking of selling soon.
  • Softscaping is versatile — many living elements in your yard can be changed, moved, or redesigned almost infinitely.

What’s Best for Your Yard?

Review these statements and decide if you agree or disagree with each one to figure out if you’d benefit more from hardscaping or softscaping in your yard:

  • My backyard could use more natural color and vibrance.
  • I wish there was more shade and/or privacy on my property.
  • Soil erosion is not a problem in my yard.
  • I would prefer a “refresh” or “update” for my current yard, not a total transformation.
  • I am happy with my home’s existing deck or patio.
  • Someone in my family enjoys gardening or birdwatching.
  • I am prepared to schedule occasional mowing, trimming, and maintenance as needed.
  • I’m not interested in using my backyard space for cooking, hosting, or socializing.
  • The idea of my yard’s appearance changing during the winter bothers me.
  • Structural landscaping changes are prohibited on my property due to leasing or other rental conditions.

Ready for the answer? If you answered mostly “agree,” your property could benefit more from softscaping. If you answered mostly “disagree,” your property could benefit more from hardscaping. 

Ready for Your Property to Be Amazing?

No matter what kind of landscape design elements you’d like to incorporate on your property, our team can create something that will exceed your every expectation! Get in touch with our landscaping experts to book softscaping or hardscaping, or just give us a call for an estimate on a project you’re dreaming about. We’re waiting to hear from you!

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