The Difference Between Landscaping, Hardscaping, & Softscaping

Hardscaping… softscaping… landscaping… these are three terms that can cause confusion at times. The reason for this is that some people may use the terms interchangeably, or sometimes one of the terms may mistakenly be used to refer to them all. Let’s clear up some of the confusion, shall we?

Landscaping is the term that does actually refer to your entire property design. In other words, your landscape is composed of the hardscaping and softscaping. A good landscape design will bring the components of your hardscape and softscape together to create a balanced look for your yard.


When your landscaping company refers to softscaping, they are referring to the natural, growing elements of your design. As such, softscape elements are the grass, flowers, trees, bushes, and shrubs on your property. These items will change, grow, and adapt to the environmental conditions in your area.

TIP: When planning the plantlife for your softscape, be sure to consider the size of the plants when fully mature, rather than what size they may be when you see them at the nursery. Spacing is an often overlooked aspect of softscape planning!


Hardscaping refers to the immovable, unnatural (man-made) structures used in your yard. Elements like the driveway and walkway tend to be items that some homeowners do not give much thought to as being part of their hardscaping. However, other structures that are more easily associated with hardscaping include outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, patios, water features, decks, planters, and gazebos.

One thing that should be pointed out is that hardscaping elements can be made not only from natural materials, such as stone and wood, but also manufactured materials like stainless-steel.

Bringing Your Landscape Design Together

Professional companies like Three Seasons are experts at utilizing both softscaping and hardscaping elements to bring your property to life. Together, they make your space functional while providing curb appeal and pleasing aesthetics.

Designing your landscape requires envisioning the entire space and understanding what hardscape or softscape components would best complement each other. Call us at 941-748-4613 to create a custom landscaping design that strikes a balance between your hardscape and softscape elements.

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