Skip to Content

Why Hardscaping Is Trending

Backyard garden hardscape with a pond.

Hardscaping has seen a huge surge in popularity this year. Hardscape trends have had a dramatic increase in Google searches, especially as warmer weather comes around. People are looking for new ways to make their lawns and outdoor living spaces look amazing and hardscaping is one of the things they’re turning to more and more often.

If you aren’t up to speed with what hardscape trends are most popular, or even what hardscaping really means, you aren’t alone. There are a lot of things to learn when it comes to this type of outdoor remodeling. After you get a good understanding of what hardscaping is, and which hardscape trends you enjoy the most you might find you can’t wait to get started on your own new project.

Related: Backyard Greenhouses | Artificial Grass Pros and Cons | How to Build Knot Garden | Types of Edge Options | Backyard Grass Alternatives | Walkway Cost | Garden Path Ideas

What is Hardscaping?

Brick pavers for hardscaping

At its core hardscaping is any kind of inanimate materials used to control and enhance the landscape in your outdoor areas like your front or backyard. This is in stark contrast to softscaping which is what you’d think of when it comes to landscaping. The organic living elements of your outdoor spaces.

Hardscaping can be anything from concrete pavers, decks, pathways, retaining walls or even ornate driveways and outdoor kitchens. If it’s enhancing your land or controlling growth (think retaining walls) somewhere, and it’s non-organic material, it’s hardscaping.

You probably already have aspects of hardscaping in your outdoor areas as it is. If you’ve created beautiful pathways to your gardens or put up retaining walls somewhere, you’re part of the hardscape trend even if you didn’t know it until this very moment. But just having some walkways or a retaining wall isn’t what makes hardscaping a more popular trend this year.

Hardscaping is giving homeowners a lot of new options to make their yards look more thought out and deliberate when it comes to design. It’s a way to add architectural features and interests into areas that typically have been relying on natural elements like trees and gardens. In short- it’s popular because the varied design elements are creating new never before seen looks.

There are even some varied types of hardscaping that you can consider learning more about if this type of design appeals to you.

Soft Hardscapes

Soft hardscapes are the smaller inanimate elements of your landscaping designs. Things like decorative paths made of sand, or decomposed granite elements would be considered soft hardscape design elements. They add to the look but they are not the main focus, and they’re not quite a living object either.

Mixed Hardscapes

This is pretty much exactly what you’re probably imagining right now based on the name alone. Mixed hardscapes incorporate elements of soft hardscaping and regular hardscaping. If you see something like pea gravel leading up to a retaining wall, that’s a mixed hardscape.

Living Hardspaces

Have you ever seen moss growing between concrete blocks, or ivy trailing down a cement wall? Those are both examples of living hardspaces. Living hardspaces are a way that combines living elements into your hardscaping choices and can produce some pretty amazing results when done well. If you’ve always had a dream of owning a home that has a trellis with ivy crawling up the side of your wall, living hard spaces are what you’ll what to focus on to make that happen.

Where Can Hardscaping Be Implemented?

Streetside fowerbed hardscape in Kazakhstan.

The true answer to this is that hardscaping can be implemented almost anywhere in your exterior spaces. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to planning out your new hardscaping or your hardscaping overhaul. There are so many ways to use this type of design that you’ll never grow tired of the ways to consider using it.

Do you want better looking retaining walls? Hardscaping upgrades can make a world of difference in how those retaining walls look. Have you always wanted an outdoor kitchen? That’s all about the hardscaping design too. You can also use hardscaping to carve out walkways made with amazing pavers, or a driveway that people love to look at.

The areas hardscaping can be implemented are entirely up to you and what your design goals are. A small change or a huge project, it’s all possible. The only things you’ll need to consider are your budget, available time, and your personal design preferences. The sky is the limit here.

What Is Important To Consider In Implementing A New Hardscaping Design?

When you’re thinking about creating a new look for your yard and you want to incorporate hardscape trends you enjoy there’s a lot you need to consider. It’s not an impulse decision that can happen overnight. There’s a lot to the process. Hardscaping is a lot more involved than planting a new garden or even choosing a new tree to add to your yard.

This shouldn’t be so intimidating that you are completely turned off by the idea, but you should understand what kind of focus and dedication to the project you’re really going to need. There are some things you should keep in mind when you’re considering a hardscaping design.


Hardscaping can require a lot of planning to make sure it looks good and not like a haphazard mess of materials slapped together. This type of design really does need some foresight and even someone who is very experienced in landscaping designs and plans to figure out what’s going to work for you and your yard.

You’ll want to talk to experts like those who own lawn care businesses, landscaping designers, and other lawn care experts. People who spend a lot of time around these kinds of things and know what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work based on your lawn, your needs, and how much lawn care you want to do on your own.

Lawn care experts and business owners are ready to handle requests like mapping out an updated look to your outdoor areas including adding in hardscaping elements. Don’t underestimate the power of consulting a lawn care expert when you’re starting to make your plans. A poorly planned hardscaping design can result in a poor look overall and even limit what choices you are able to make when you want to update things in the future.

Certain types of design materials aren’t going to work well with each other so hardscaping is something that requires a pretty concrete decision. You’ll want to make sure you’re mapping out a look that you can remain dedicated to and passionate about for years to come. Again, this is why lawn care businesses and experts will be so important in this planning process.

There are several aspects of planning you’ll want to consider especially heavily. When you’re starting to make your dream plans for your hardscaping keep these factors in mind because they’ll make a huge difference in what you can and can’t do in the end.


Think about what you want to create as the look and feel of your outdoor spaces. If you want something modern with sharp edges, or something more rustic with soft curves, these are things you’ll need to know before you start. The materials you’ll need to plan on getting will differ greatly depending on the kind of ambiance you want to create.

The Materials

Tying things in with your plan for the ambiance of your yard or living space, you’ll want to choose materials that complement your design plans. There are a lot of options for hardscaping materials from what they’re made of to how they look. All of these will be important factors to consider when you’re planning your design.

Environmental Factors

A lot of hardscaping materials can be very environmentally friendly. You can even find materials that are specifically made from recycled glass or plastic. A lot of homeowners want to make choices that are more environmentally friendly so if that’s important to you, include that in your plan making. These types of materials can change the budget for your project so it’s important to make these decisions in the planning phase instead of as you go.


Hardscaping can give you a chance to deal with areas in your lawn that are problematic in terms of drainage. If you want to fix those areas and get better drainage so you can avoid things like standing water in the middle of your yard, now is the time to plan that out. You can ask your landscaper or lawn care professional what options you have to fix drainage issues, or how to prevent new drainage issues from coming up during your yard makeover.


Hardscaping is something that you want to last for a long time. Things, like retaining walls and cemented in walkways, take a lot of time and effort to do well. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving proper consideration to the foundation for any hardscaping you’re putting in. If you’re tempted to choose an option that is cheaper rethink it, and consider the quality of the choices you’re making. This isn’t something you’ll want to replace in a year or two because you tried to save a few bucks on materials.

Implementing Hardscapes

Landscape architect design for a garden.

After you’ve spent some time planning out what you want your living spaces to look like, implementing the ideas can be a little more difficult. You may know you want to create an outdoor living space that is comfortable and inviting, but what does that really mean? This is another area where your lawn care pros can be helpful.

Maybe during your planning, you really know you want to make a yard that feels rustic and welcoming. You could implement hardscaping in ways like building a permanent firepit or making walkways that involve the “soft hardscape” materials you read about before. Creating a walkway made out of sand or even finely ground glass can give you the rustic feel you’re hoping for.

If you’re thinking you want a more modern minimalist type of hardscape and you aren’t sure where to start, you can consider things like working with your yard’s natural shapes and adding in features like stepping stones as stairs where your yard is particularly steep. An area like that could also be somewhere you build up a sleek looking retaining wall. You have plenty of options.

During the planning and implementation, phases don’t allow yourself to eliminate options just because you aren’t sure how to make them happen. You can make a list of what your dream hardscaping would look like and work with a landscaper to see what’s actually possible.

At the same time, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed either. This is supposed to be something you enjoy doing as an upgrade to your current landscaping or an entirely new feature in your home’s exterior spaces.

There are so many ideas out there you could spend eternity looking over pictures and never make an actual decision. Once you find a style you like, go with it and stop drowning yourself with all the options out there.

Where Can You Find Hardscaping Ideas And Inspiration?

Top view of a backyard garden hardscape.

The simple answer here is “the internet” but luckily it gets much more specific than that. While you could just do a Google image search for hardscaping and see what comes up, there are far better ways to find ideas out there. You will be able to see plenty of pictures and even get tips on how to make that look happen for your own property.

If you’re lacking for inspiration when it comes to hardscaping ideas you can always visit the good old stand by for all inspiration ideas- Pinterest. As you can see when you visit that link, there are tons of people pinning their favorite hardscape ideas every day. You can use their boards as inspiration for starting your own board, or just use them to start your own project.

Pinterest is great for perusing designs in general but there are other options out there to consider. HGTV has a wonderful section on hardscaping. It’s complete with pictures and tips on how to actually create the designs you are seeing and falling in love with. HGTV is a pretty reliable place to go when it comes to home improvement projects so it’s safe to assume you can trust their advice.

If you still haven’t found something that’s really speaking to your design preferences, there’s at least one more place you can look that’s put a lot of effort into giving you reputable advice whith beautiful pictures. Gardenista’s website has so many hardscaping ideas and pictures they actually have them broken down into smaller sections.

If you want to see pictures of only outdoor kitchens or only concrete paver walkways then you need to check out the Gardenista information. Their pictures are easy to navigate and they answer a lot of questions along the way. It’s a good place to spend at least a little bit of time especially in the initial planning phases when you’re working on your ambiance.

After you’ve spent a decent amount of time with these resources you’ll most likely find a look and feel that really speaks to you. Sometimes it just takes a little inspiration to really get your own creativity flowing. Remember that you want your hardscaping design to be uniquely your own, so these are just ideas, not blueprints for your own personal needs.

More Hardscape Ideas

Deck ideas

Two tier wooden deck in the backyard

A deck in one’s backyard is a nice way to relax and enjoy the serenity of the natural outdoors. Decks can vary by size, shape, locations, and designs. See more deck ideas here.

Patio ideas

Patio with privacy green foliage and a garden.

A patio extends your living space outdoors and, for some, it’s the closest they can get to nature in their own backyard. There’s a wide selection of patios ranging from brick to concrete and from courtyard to balcony. See more patio ideas here.

Walkway ideas

Walkway in front yard of contemporary home leading from curb to front door.

Adding a walkway to your front and backyard can spruce up the surrounding landscape and improve your home’s curb appeal. You can choose from a multitude of styles and materials to cover your steps. See more walkway ideas here.

Pergola Ideas

Pergola on the beach

You can build a pergola above the deck and patio or in the backyard. Wherever you place them, pergolas add interest to an outdoor spot while providing shelter from the sun. See more pergola ideas here.

Fire pit ideas

Round firepit in a covered patio.

A fire pit is a popular fire feature in the backyard. It’s easy to build one and equally easy to buy one when you consider the multitude of options available today. See more fire pit ideas here.


Stack of brick pavers used as materials for a garden hardscaping.

Hardscaping is something that is really changing how homeowners think about their outdoor spaces and what to do with them. It’s opening doors to new ideas, new options for updating existing structures, and new ways to extend the look and feel of your home to the exterior spaces as well.

This type of design can look and feel like it’s too overwhelming to take on as a project, but looks can be deceiving. If you really feel like this is the change you want to make in your home and outdoor spaces, don’t let the idea of a larger project scare you off. There are landscaping experts out there that know exactly how to make your hardscaping dreams come true.

Remember to keep in mind what your own property’s unique needs will be. The pictures you see online might be great for inspiration but if your home’s outdoor areas aren’t conducive to something like building in concrete stairs, you’ll have to work around that. It’s still not a reason to skip hardscaping entirely, but just remember to keep your plans and ideas realistic.

Once you’ve found something that you just know in your heart is going to work for you and your yard, go for it. Give it all you have got. Make sure to keep in mind the things you’ve learned about the importance of thorough planning, and make your design dreams happen.

You might have to spend more time researching this kind of design change but the end product will be something you can show off for years. Make sure to enjoy it every second you can.