When embarking on a landscaping project, it’s important to understand the different design elements that go into outdoor living spaces, and how they interplay with one another. These elements generally fit into one of two categories: hardscaping and softscaping.

While these may seem like obscure industry terms, it can be useful to understand the difference between the two. This will help homeowners and designers create an appropriate design for the space, using hardscaping and softscaping elements appropriately and in concert with one another to create a fully functional landscape.

We’ll begin with basic definitions.



The Spruce defines hardscaping as the “non-living elements” of landscaping. This includes paver patios, retaining walls, driveways, fences, benches and the like. Generally, hardscape elements are more practical (patios, fences) but can also be decorative (benches, pergolas). In addition, features such as outdoor fireplaces or water fountains are included under the definition of hardscaping.


In comparison, softscaping refers to the living, horticultural elements of landscape. Ultimately, softscape means plants – from grass and shrubs, to annual and perennial flowers, and even vegetables in a garden.

The challenge of creating an effective landscape design is figuring out how to mix hardscape and softscape elements together to create a cohesive, functional outdoor space. The two complement each other well – for example, softening the appearance of a fence with tall spring bulb plants, or covering a wall or pergola with vines for a lush, earthy effect. One easy way to mix hardscaping and softscaping is by placing container plants on the edges of a patio. The possibilities are truly endless!

To find out how Borgert Products can help make your hardscaping vision come to life, visit our product galleries or contact us for more information.

Borgert is a Minnesota-based, family-owned company specializing in pavers, patios, driveways and retaining walls. Since 1923, we have been committed to providing high quality products that help our customers dream landscapes become a reality. Get a quote today on your Borgert products.