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The Basics On Hardscape Design

By Lela Perkins

Hardscape is a word that is used in the industry of landscaping. It refers to areas such as streets and sidewalks, as well as business complexes and housing developments. This is also used in industrial places and areas where bare soil is not at the top of the surface. Instead, it is below another surface. Hardscape design is different all around the world.

Hardscape is often used in places where there is very little bare soil, for example: urbanized and suburban areas. There might be different features that are found in this type of design. Small-scale set ups often include patios and sidewalks of some kind. Retaining walls might also be used as a way to create a boundary between hardscapes and softscapes, which are natural landscaping components.

When it comes to urban planning, these types of landscapes usually include very big features, for instance: roads that are paved and traffic islands or traffic circles. Most artificial water features are categorized under this term. This is because they require some type of barrier in order to retain water, rather than letting it drain out into the soil that surrounds it.

When it comes to aesthetics, a lot of people appreciate the design of these hard set ups because it gives workers the opportunity to create features that would not be possible in any soft set up because of soil erosion. Furthermore, the features accommodate the large amount of traffic that may come through. High foot traffic may normally wear the bare earth down, especially when it is not properly maintained.

Hardscape is used to define spaces that include materials that handle hard wear. That often includes stones, concrete and other items that are commonly used in the construction industry. Soft landscaping is different because it makes use of things found in nature, such as grass and bark.

There are many different things that can be done with this type of landscaping. Those who do landscaping work and exterior planning and design can work with clients to draft a plan that is aesthetically pleasing and functional. Working with construction materials rather than natural landscaping components may come to an advantage when building a customized set up. Many times people choose to blend the soft and hard design elements. This makes for a set up that is not too rigid or too organic, but looks good and remains functional.

When there is no bare soil in an area, the hardscapes must have some method if drainage or surface runoff. This is important for removal of water that would naturally absorb into the ground as groundwater, but cannot when there is no nearby soil. The artificial methods may not be able to effectively drain an area when there are thunderstorms, hurricanes, typhoons and other natural occurrences that bring in a lot of water.

Hardscape design is related to landscaping. Unlike softscapes, these are set up to include construction materials, such as stone and concrete. Designs of this type are usually found in suburban and urban areas where there are housing developments, sidewalks, streets, businesses complexes and more. There are a lot of landscapers and other professionals who help people set these designs up so that they look good and are functional. Usually components of soft and hard are put together.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Perkins, Lela "The Basics On Hardscape Design." The Basics On Hardscape Design. 8 Apr. 2014. 19 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Perkins, L (2014, April 8). The Basics On Hardscape Design. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Perkins, Lela "The Basics On Hardscape Design"

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