While many people have heard about landscaping and have a fairly good idea of what it entails, few people know that landscaping can be divided into softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping entails every living thing within landscaping. This can include trees, plants, flowers and the like. Hardscaping, on the other hand, entails structures and landscape items made out of non-living things. While softscaping is meant to add beauty, hardscaping is meant to provide structure and functionality. There are numerous products, materials, and structures that fall within hardscaping and we are going to look at six of the more popular hardscaping features below.

Fire Pits

Fire pits often accompany outdoor kitchens and living areas. They can be made out of stone or brick and can increase the functionality of your garden. They can be used as the hardscape feature you build a living space around, helping make your outdoor space more relaxing, livable and attractive.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are especially useful for homes with sloped gardens. Retaining walls are load-bearing and either set a boundary at the bottom of a sloped garden, demarcate different parts of the garden, or act as dams that prevent or slow down water runoff to prevent erosion

Retaining walls are often used together with softscaping as they can prevent gardens and the plants you have in them from being washed away during moderate to heavy rains.


Pathways lead into the home and to various parts of the property from the home. Stone, concrete, and gravel walkways are very common in many homes, with a lot of homeowners opting for stone walkways due to their durability. Additionally, stone walkways give you a lot of choice when it comes to the walkway’s aesthetics. There are numerous natural stone hardscape colors and textures to choose from depending on the look and feel you are going for. Stone pathways also help ensure that you do not get your shoes or feet dirty when accessing different parts of your property or garden.

Decks and Patios

Decks and patios are added to extend the living space to the outdoors. There is no limitation to the materials you can use or the design of the patio or deck. You can also decorate them, add furniture or even make them your garden’s main attraction.

Fountains and Fish Ponds

Water features are becoming very popular because they are different from other hardscape features that seem to have been overused in many homes. Fountains and fishponds can also help make your garden more relaxing, increase your property’s value and be a focal point in the garden.


Driveways are not often thought about as hardscape, but they are. They provide a path into your property and can be made from a variety of materials. Although many homes come with driveways, some homeowners choose to replace the driveway so they can use a different material or make it look better to improve curb appeal.

Hardscaping often comes second to softscaping but that should not be the case. Your softscape and hardscape should complement each other to make your property look better and be more functional.