A close-up view of stone steps with following footpath and deck area incorporated into a low retaining wall part of a garden landscape design.

What Is the Difference between Hardscaping and Landscaping?

Hardscaping and landscaping both have the potential to improve your property value. One has a practical use, while the other is mostly for aesthetics. If you’re debating what to invest in, you need to understand the difference between hardscaping and landscaping. Read on to compare the terms.

Definition of Hardscaping vs. Landscaping

Hardscaping refers to the hard surfaces on your property’s exterior, such as your patio, porch, retaining wall, walkways, and driveway. Landscaping (also known as softscape) refers to the plants and natural materials on the property, such as your garden, lawn, shrubs and trees.

Hardscaping and landscaping often intersect each other, but they are two different specialties. For instance, you may have a landscape design that incorporates a custom patio and walkway into it. From the other angle, you might design a complete backyard entertainment space and then add landscaping around it for enhancement.

Hardscapes are functional, while landscapes are mostly for appearance. This doesn’t negate the importance of landscaping, but it is a clear distinction between the two. Strategic landscaping may help with pest prevention or allergies, but as a whole, it’s not going to provide a place to eat, cook, lounge, walk, park, or do anything else that you can do on a hardscape.

Which Property Upgrade Has the Biggest Return on Investment?

This is a tough question to answer because it largely depends on your area. In some neighborhoods, having a beautiful front landscape is practically a requirement. For the most part though, hardscaping offers a bigger return on investment.

Hardscaping can expand your usable square footage or create a better flow on your property. Landscaping can make it look better, which can impact value. But if you want to ensure your investment will pay off, hardscaping is the way to go.

Should I Prioritize Hardscaping or Landscaping?

If your existing hardscaping or landscaping is in need of repair, prioritize that first. Cut back overgrown plants, pull weeds, and clean up anything that doesn’t need to be there. If you have a paver patio, walkway or retaining wall, the pavers can be releveled to revitalize the hardscaping.

If you’re adding something new to your property, it’s probably best to start with the hardscaping. Landscaping acts as the ‘jewelry’ on top, and it’s something you can add over time. We always emphasize the importance of function, then appearance. Get a hardscape that meets your functional goals, and then add landscaping to make it look even better.

Coordinate Your Hardscape and Landscape Designs for Maximum Appeal

The absolute best way to plan your property enhancement is to coordinate your landscape and hardscape designs. This isn’t mandatory by any means, but it will ensure cohesive results. Think about the overall goal you have for your property, and then create smaller goals to work toward that. The talented hardscapers here at N&M Restoration would be happy to assist you with this plan.

Contact us at (586) 350-5824 to schedule your hardscaping quote.