Landscaping: The Difference and Importance of Softscaping and Hardscaping

Let’s face it; we all want a beautiful living space to enjoy. Your home is supposed to be your haven and as much attention should be paid to the outside of your property as the inside. Just like cosmetic upgrades you may make to your home’s interior, like fresh coats of paint, new throw pillows, or the installation of new flooring, landscaping services offer the same for your home’s outdoor area through softscaping and hardscaping. But what are the differences between the two and why are they important?

These small plants will grow to be big beautiful accents of color to this home.

Softscaping is the live, horticultural elements of a landscape. Think flowers, shrubs, soil, trees and the corresponding color scheme of those plantations. These living aspects of your outdoor space may be permanent (perennials), meaning they come back year after year; or seasonal (annuals), meaning that they live for only one growing season and do not return. Softscaping is important not only in enhancing how the outside of your home looks, but also in maintaining the ecological balance and integrity of the natural environment. Depending on how much maintenance and attention you want or have to give the plants—as well as your budget—will determine what softscape features you choose.


Stone walls not only add function, but a sense of style to your property.
Stone retaining walls not only add function, but a sense of style and class to your property.

Hardscaping refers to the heavier or “hard” elements in landscape design, such as retaining walls, stone work, patios, driveways and walkways. With hardscaping, you can dream big. Do you want a meandering path through your garden or a fully developed outdoor grilling and entertaining area? Or do you prefer decorative features, like a fountain or stone archway? Although hardscaping can increase your home’s curb appeal by adding useful and attractive areas, it also has a practical application. Hardscaping helps to prevent the absorption of water, as well as the erosion of soil, benefiting much more than just the aesthetics of your outdoor space. In hardscaping, the design can go hand-in-hand with the practical application. Your budget, needs, and imagination will be the major factors in deciding what will best serve your outdoor space.

Effective landscaping is reached by creating a harmony between softscaping and hardscaping. Once that harmony is realized, you’re sure to be on your way to making your home truly your haven.

Carrier Landscape specializes in both softscape and hardscape landscaping. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your home!