What is the Difference Between Hardscaping and Softscaping?

What is the Difference Between Hardscaping and Softscaping?

In the lush tapestry of outdoor spaces, two artistic strokes bring the landscape to life: hardscaping and softscaping. When balanced thoughtfully, these two elements create gardens and outdoor settings that are beautiful and functional. At Principal Landscapes, we’ve mastered this art. Our multi-award-winning team, led by Managing Director Cullen Long, has been Designing Nature and Crafting Lifestyle in Perth, Western Australia, since 2007.

The Basics of Hardscaping

Hardscaping refers to the complex elements in your landscape—think patios, walkways, retaining walls, and even pools. These are usually made of hard materials like stone, concrete, or metal. Hardscaping provides structure and serves as the canvas upon which softscaping is painted.

“Principal Landscapes designed and constructed our outdoor kitchen and entertainment area. Our outdoor area has become the central hub of our house, and this is all down to Cullen and his team at Principal Landscapes,” says Ron Tait, a satisfied client.

Softscaping: The Yin to Hardscaping’s Yang

Softscaping is the planting of gardens, the arranging of shrubs, the rolling out of lush lawns—anything that grows. It brings life, texture, and colour to your outdoor spaces. Softscaping is flexible and can be changed or updated seasonally, unlike its hardscape counterpart.

Wendy Griffiths, another of our esteemed clients, can’t speak highly enough about our expertise in this area: “We can’t thank Principal Landscapes enough for the amazing job they did for us with our front and back garden. Any changes or additions along the way were met with a ‘can do’ attitude, and the whole team was very polite and respectful.”

Crafting the Perfect Balance

A well-executed landscape design incorporates both elements. Think of a courtyard with a cobblestone path leading to a plush, green lawn adorned with blooming flowers, shrubs, and maybe even a tree. The hardscaping outlines “rooms” outdoors, directing foot traffic and providing gathering spots, while the softscaping fills in the visual and emotional cues.

According to Aaron Nankivell, a client with an expansive landscaping project including a pool, “From start to finish, our experience could not have been better. The professionalism and transparency were evident right from the start.”

What to Consider When Choosing


Perth’s climate calls for specific types of hardscaping and softscaping materials and plants that are drought-resistant and can handle a lot of sun.


Both elements come with their costs. Hardscaping is typically more expensive upfront but requires less maintenance. Softscaping costs can increase with care, watering, and potential replacements over time.


Not all properties can accommodate extensive hardscaping features like a complete outdoor kitchen or large trees and gardens. Planning is key.

Why Principal Landscapes?

Our team excels in balancing these elements to create harmonious spaces. With a “one-stop-shop” approach for integrated pool landscaping and landscape designs, we ensure seamless on-site communication. Our meticulous planning and award-winning design ensure that your external environment perfectly complements your home and Lifestyle.

“Cullen and his team were fantastic in helping with our landscaping for our new home. We were delighted with the result,” shares Pam Sotirov, another delighted client.

Principal Landscapes are the artisans to balance hardscaping and softscaping in your outdoor spaces. Intrigued? Let’s have a chat. Our obligation-free quotes are just a call away at 0402 902 346.

Remember, at Principal Landscapes, we’re not just building gardens; we’re crafting lifestyles. So why settle for just a yard when you can have a masterpiece?

Ready to transform your outdoor space into a functional paradise? Contact us today. Because in Perth, outdoor living isn’t just a luxury—it’s a way of life.

For more inspiration and to view our previous projects, follow us on Instagram or visit our website. Award yourself the best in the industry. Designing Nature, Crafting Lifestyle—only with Principal Landscapes.