What is Hardscaping?

Play Video
Table of Contents

    Landscape design can become incredibly complex, particularly for larger properties that need to leverage significant amounts of hardscaping. Hardscaping is a crucial element of all landscaping and property design plans, but many people are relatively unclear about what it means.

    The combination of hardscaping and softscaping are what make up your outdoor living spaces. We’re going to look at what hardscaping is, why it’s important to understand in the context of your property, and more.

    What Is Hardscaping?

    Hardscaping is a landscaping industry term that can have a wide range of meanings depending on the context of use. It generally refers to any exterior living space component that is non-living. This can mean pavers, stone, brick, and more. It can mean your patio, garden boulders, driveway, outdoor kitchen, automatic pergola, and anything else that can be considered a non-living part of your landscaping.

    Why Is Hardscaping Important?

    It is important to understand how it can impact the comprehensive use and value of your property. Hardscaping, and those hard surfaces, should be balanced by softscaping. Softscaping is living materials like plants, turf, and landscapes. Having comprehensive property care and design process includes balancing hardscaping and softscaping.

    Common Types Of Hardscaping

    Stone Walkways

    Paths and walkways are typically made from natural stone elements or pavers. These are incredibly common hardscaping features that allow access to various areas of the property without traversing the grass or other softscaping. They also help keep foot traffic from tracking excess dirt into other areas by providing a relatively clean walkway.

    Retaining Walls

    Retaining walls are walls that are constructed to hold back incredible horizontal pressures that result from retaining hills, slopes, and other changes in grade. They are also frequently used to draw a boundary or dam water flow, particularly when used to create garden beds and raised planters. Retaining walls can be an absolutely vital element of successful landscaping.

    Fire Features

    Fire features like outdoor fire pits are generally made of stone or brick and are considered one of the best places for gatherings and relaxing evenings. The right fire feature can make your outdoor living space far more comfortable and livable.

    Water Features

    Things like fountains or paved streams are known as water features, and they are another element of hardscaping. They can be used to provide separation of one area from another or can be used as a focal point or gathering place. Water features are known for providing a peaceful and relaxing ambiance.

    Pergolas & Gazebos

    Freestanding structures like gazebos and pergolas provide shade and partial shelter from the elements and are another form of hardscaping. They can not only provide additional space for daily activities but also locations for gatherings and special events.


    Stone or concrete patios and even wooden decks are considered hardscaping and can help transform an outdoor area into an outdoor living area. Decks can be constructed from wood, stone, or any other common material.


    Most people have a driveway, but most aren’t aware that it is technically part of their landscaping plan and an element of hardscaping. Driveways can be poured concrete, pavers, crushed stone, asphalt, and almost any other material capable of bearing a vehicular load.

    Fun fact, many cities will limit the amount of impermeable surfaces you have on your property. Impermeable surfaces can be anything that doesn’t readily absorb water, including hardscapes and structures. This limitation is often utilized to help prevent storm water runoff from overtaxing municipal drainage systems. It is wise to consider your own local regulations when determining the amount of hardscapes you envision on your property.

    Your Trusted Hardscaping Partner

    If you have questions, reach out and speak to a member of our expert landscaping team to discuss your needs and how we can best help you meet those needs.

    Share this Post

    A Better Outdoor Space is a Click Away

    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

    Related Posts

    estate outdoor living space

    What Questions Should You Ask When Designing Your Estate Outdoor Living Space?

    By Robyn Schmitz | Sep 25, 2023

    Designing your estate outdoor living space can be both an exciting and a stressful time […]

    hygge inspired experience

    What is the High Prairie Hygge Inspired Experience Driven Process?

    By Robyn Schmitz | Sep 18, 2023

    The Hygge inspired experience is the foundational philosophy of High Prairie Outdoors’ approach to exterior […]

    hardscape cleaning and servicing

    What is Hardscape Cleaning and Servicing?

    By Robyn Schmitz | Sep 11, 2023

    Hardscape cleaning is an integral part of maintaining the beauty and integrity of your outdoor […]