Hardscape vs. Landscape: What’s the Difference?

A concrete paver project featuring hardscape and landscape at a Houston home with text overlay stating “Hardscape vs Landscape.”

You likely know what landscaping is, but have you ever heard of hardscape? Knowing the difference is essential when designing your outdoor living area.

A harmonious composition of landscaping and hardscaping can result in a stunning yard, so keep reading to learn more about these two approaches so you can make sure that your home has all the design elements you care about.

What is Hardscaping? 

Using hard materials to design a functional space is known as hardscaping. This can entail elements like sidewalks, patios, stairs, fountains, and more. It may also refer to landscaping that uses non-living materials, like gravel, in place of living elements like plants.

However, if your home doesn’t have an abundance of outdoor living space, hardscaped areas can help to create a functional space to entertain guests and host a celebration. They also help you create focal points in your yards and lawns. 

You can also use hardscaping in pathways and sidewalks, creating a clear direction for your guests so they know where to walk. This way, they don’t step on your grass or an unnoticeable stray rock. 

Keep in mind that you cannot change hardscaping with the seasons because it is a more permanent feature. It’s much harder to remove pavers or gravel from a space than it might be to pull out a few plants.

Essential Hardscape Materials 

One of the benefits of hardscaping is the vast amount of materials available. What you use depends on your style and the look you want to achieve. Some of the most common hardscape materials include the following. 

  • Gravel: this is a durable hardscape material that’s incredibly easy to install. It can be used to frame plants (while keeping down weeds), establish walking paths, or help with drainage. Because gravel can get compacted over time, you may need to add more gravel to your space every few years.
  • Stone: with an array of colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from, stone can transform the look of an outdoor space. Design pathways for water with smooth river rocks, keep out the weeds with pea-sized stones, use larger rocks for a focal point – there are plenty of ways to create visual interest while solving functional problems with stone.
  • Concrete and Brick: Concrete pavers are the most popular hardscaping material for our customers. Poured concrete can be used to create spaces for entertaining and games, set off a feature like a pool or a pond, or create pathways through your outdoor spaces. Looking for a more unique application? Consider stamped concrete, which can add aesthetic appeal to a hardy surface.
  • Meanwhile, brick is a classic hardscaping material with an array of useful applications. You can choose from deep reds or neutral tans, creating intricate patterns for a patio, a handsome edge to a planter box, a helpful retaining wall, or even an outdoor seating area.

Take Your Designs to the Next Level with Sustainable Hardscaping

You may also use recycled materials to create a unique, long-lasting hardscape aesthetic. This is a great way to use (or reuse) hardy materials, like crushed rock or concrete, to create a stunning space with incredible textures in a sustainable way. 

Hardscape vs. Landscape: Why It Matters for Your Home

Most people are familiar with landscaping, which involves designing and implementing plants, flowers, trees, and grass. Like hardscape, landscaping may increase the curb appeal of your property and may make guests feel more welcome in your home.

Other benefits of landscaping include: 

  • Improving the air quality in the area.
  • Decreasing water drainage by slowing the movement of rainwater.
  • Improving water retention, which can help prevent droughts.
  • Providing food sources for wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and bees.

A professional designer can help you to create an ideal hardscape, which can then set the tone for your landscape. Because your hardscape will be a more permanent feature, you can use it to create beautifully shaped sections to emphasize your plant life, whether you want to change out your plants each season or set off your space with trees or shrubs that will continue to grow each year.

Consider Combining Landscaping and Hardscaping

Some of the most relaxing outdoor living spaces find a way to implement landscaping and hardscaping together. Whether that means installing a large outdoor patio with hanging planters filled with beautiful flowers or a garden with a small stone pathway, these two methods can work together to create something truly serene.

Ready to Begin Your Next Project? 

Now that you know the difference between hardscape vs. landscape, you can work on designing your dream backyard. But many hardscape projects are physically demanding and challenging to do on your own. Your project may need industry-specific machinery that requires the help of a professional. That’s why most homeowners work with a landscaping company with experience completing hardscape elements.    

If you need help creating your design, schedule a consultation with Pavertime. Our team of experts will help you find the right mix of elements to create a beautiful outdoor living area for your Houston area home. 

Relaxation is just a few choices away when you work with Pavertime. Give us a call today at 832-831-6058 to get started!

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