Landscape vs Hardscape: What's the difference?

Posted by Joe Mouad on Jul 13, 2016 10:34:26 AM

Just the other day, a member of our landscape design team was talking with a prospective client in Florida about some future work. During the conversation, the client asked: landscape vs hardscape design? Which is better? The truth is that when it comes to landscapes and hardscapes, neither is really better than the other. As a homeowner, you have to decide what you prefer or what you think you your home needs. Almost all homes nowadays combine elements from both classes of outdoor features.
To further distinguish between the two classes of outdoor features, we put together a short list of class landscape and hardscape features for you.


Landscape elements are typically things that occur naturally. A landscape design is a combination of these elements. A landscape designer's job is to understand the layout of your property, and put together a design using natural elements, that brings out your property's beauty. A good landscape designer, like the ones here at Ground Source, will incorporate several varieties or species, combining different shades of color, sizes, and textures. You want your landscape to flow smoothly, without looking patchy, or choppy. This is what makes the trained eye of a landscape designer so important. Landscape designers take into account things like balance, unity, and sequence when drafting your landscape design. Landscape designers can even use certain techniques to attract preferred types of wildlife, and repel the unwanted.

Landscape Design Elements:

  • Shrubs
  • Sod
  • Trees
  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Mulch
  • Lawn
  • Shape



Contrary to landscape design elements, hardscape design elements do not naturally occur in nature. The hardscape designer will, however, take into account many of the same considerations as the landscape designer: color, balance, flow, etc.

Hardscape designers, frequently referred to as hardscape architects, will also consider the practicality of your hardscape elements, i.e. the width of a walkway, the pitch of a patio, etc. Hardscape designs work in tandem with an existing landscape design, and vice versa.

Some landscapes are built around a principle hardscape design element, such as a fountain. In other cases, hardscape designs are built around landscape design elements, like trees, or gardens.

Hardscape Design Elements:

  • Retaining Wall
  • Fire Pit
  • Patio
  • Water Elements
  • Walkways
  • Stairs

Getting Started

With Ground Source, getting started has never been easier. Whether you need a landscape, a hardscape, or both, we can start drafting your design immediately. We focus on quality, and efficiency, giving you the best look your house deserves, while interrupting your days as little as possible. For a landscape or hardscape design consultation, call Ground Source at (407) 378-5366.

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