Precisely speaking, hardscaping is that part of landscaping which involves the use of brick and mortar and other hard materials to be inscribed into the landscape area. Softscaping on the other hand is much more concerned with the horticultural elements in landscaping. These may include trees, plants, herbs, shrubs, grass, soil and the like. The ideal combination of hardscaping and softscaping is what makes a landscaping masterpiece. A conclusive landscape requires both well-structured and planned softscape and hardscape designs. But what makes the two terms different from each other? Is there a clearcut line of distinction between the two, though grouped under a single term?
Hardscaping means the inscription of hard and heavier materials or structures into the designated landscape area. These may include stone pavements, wooden structures, poles, concrete, rocks, brick walls, fountain and swimming pool structures, patios, pathways, artificial sprinklers, pipelines, irrigation channels, flagstone, gates, driveways, arbors, and so on.
Softscaping means the lightweight, living and poetic touches over a landscape structure. These range from trees, soil, flowerbeds, vegetation plants, color schemes, plantation patterns, grass, shrubs and even living organisms such as fishes or pets. Softscaping is more about the artistic dressing of any landscape structure.
Hardscaping is a little cumbersome job that requires heavy investment outlay. Depending on the size and structures required, the investment can rise to a significant high. Softscaping on the other hand is way too economical. There are even cost free Do-It-Yourself (DIY) packages and alternatives in various landscape designs.
Hardscaping can be said to be the structure of any landscape. Therefore it is the hardscaping part that should be done before softscaping in all landscapes. Softscaping provides the designs and final touches to a landscape. Hence it is done only after hardscaping.
Hardscaping paves way to a longlasting landscape, durable in all seasons. Softscaping done without hardscaping results in seasonal landscapes that may not last for long.
Hardscaping requires the expertise of landscape engineers, planners and architects before implementing into the designated landscape. However, softscaping is much more easier and can be done by oneself alone.
Many a times, people leave back the hardscaping aspect required in a landscape. Majority think that hardscaping is all about technical dry part that makes no sense in a creative ideal landscape. However, it can be said that both terms rhyme well with wall and wallpaper.