GroundWork: Softscapes vs. Hardscapes

When you start planning your outdoor living space, understanding all the elements involved can make the decision-making process easier. Hardscapes and softscapes are the two main features in most landscape designs. They’re complete opposites, but they often work together to create an integrated design.


When used in conjunction with hardscape elements, softscapes can add a natural, colorful flair to hardscape projects. Softscapes are also used to border patios and walkways and as accent pieces around larger features. With too many softscape elements, however, a landscape can begin to look overgrown and unkempt.

Softscape elements:

  • Include trees, flowers, shrubs, and groundcovers;
  • Change and evolve with the seasons; and
  • Balance a hardscape by adding a “softer” element, like ground cover.

An added benefit of softscapes is that you can pull out elements you don’t like and replace them with other things or change your design every season.


Hardscapes include paver systems, driveways, walkways, patios, pool decks, and more. They’re a great way to transform a space into a beautiful outdoor room or a functional entertaining area. Eagle Bay pavers are extremely durable, and they can withstand the elements and the test of time.

Hardscapes elements include:

Hardscapes offer additional benefits by creating natural drainage points and easily leveling out or improving grades in steep or uneven backyards.

The Perfect Pair

When you’re working with your contractor or landscaper, ask about how you can pair hardscapes and softscapes to create a complete outdoor living space. The Eagle Bay Design Studio can even create 3D renderings to show you what your space would look like with both elements installed.

Hardscapes are the “structure” of your outdoor living space, and we recommend deciding on that design before including any softscape elements. Then you can get creative with things like vertical garden walls, pergolas, integrated garden beds, and more to truly customize your patio area.

The combination of hardscapes and softscaping yields almost unlimited combinations of design elements, colors, and textures. Be open to suggestions from your contractor, and have fun planning your outdoor living space!

If you have any questions, please reach out to our customer service team.