Hardscaping: What It Is and Why It’s Needed

Like most professions, landscaping has its fair share of specialized vocabulary. If you’ve been reading up on the subject, you’ve probably come across the term “hardscapes”, but may not know what it means.  Put simply, hardscaping is anything in the garden that isn’t growing. The structures are usually made out of stone, brick, concrete or other materials that will withstand seasonal stresses throughout the year.  On the other end of the spectrum is “softscaping,” which is another word for plant life.

Examples of Hardscaping
apr26a1The term is broad enough to encompass a large number of things. The stone walkway weaving through your Minneapolis garden is one example, while retaining walls and gazebos are others.

Because it’s so permanent in nature, examples of hardscaping can be something that you’re unable to move, like boulders, or something added later, like fountains.

Some hardscaping comes in the form of decorations which are swapped out to give your garden a new look for every season or holiday.

What is it for?
Hardscapes are needed to give the garden a foundation off of which to grow. Pathways tie various parts of the landscapes together, while raised garden walls give much needed structure.

It’s also used to use the softscape to compliment the overall lay of the land. A great example is the river. If you’re lucky enough to have a home on the banks of the Mississippi, your hardscaping would be put in place to harmonize the beauty of the water with your landscaping.

Hardscapes and softscapes should compliment each other instead of competing against each other. A successful gardener will look at the way the land is already lain out, determine what kinds of hardscaping to install and then figure out the right plants to add.

The key to the perfect landscape design is the right balance between the hardscaping, softscaping, and the overall lay of land as well as the architectural design of your home.  Hardscape features can help blend with your landscape and accent your best features.