Landscaper vs. Hardscaper: What are the differences?

Landscapers and hardscape contractors are both skilled craftsmen who create beautiful spaces, but they do so in very different ways. Understanding the differences between Landscapers and Hardscapers can save you time when picking a professional.

The two terms are often used interchangeably but they actually have different meanings

Most people don’t know the difference between landscaper vs hardscaper. When looking to hire a company to help with your outdoor space, it’s important that you understand these two terms and how they differ from each other.

“Landscaping” is a common broad term that has grown to mean “anything in my yard”. Sadly, this causes serious confusion to homeowners when they approach a company that doesn’t do the particular job they want. After all, they are a “landscaper”!

“Landscaping” and “Hardscaping” are different areas of service for outdoor contractors. They also tend to cost wildly different amounts, due to their specialties. Below, you can learn about the different specialties and understand what types of projects different specialists might take.

Landscaping is the use of plants, flowers, and other natural elements to create an aesthetically pleasing space

Landscaping is the use of plants, flowers, and other natural elements to create an aesthetically pleasing space. It’s an art form that can add value to your property and provide you with a beautiful outdoor haven for years to come.

When narrowing the term down, landscaping encompasses all the living elements of your yard. This means the grass, plants, trees, bushes, and flowers.

However, it also extends to the care of these plants. This is a major distinction, as we begin to talk about that the concept of “hardscape” is.

Hardscaping is the use of hard materials to create a functional space

Hardscaping is the use of hard materials to create a functional space. This can include things like concrete, stone, and bricks. Hardscaping has a durable aesthetic which makes it perfect for residential and commercial spaces. It’s also more permanent than landscaping; once it’s done you don’t have to worry about upkeep or changes in weather conditions affecting your design.

One easy way to think of the difference is that “hardscape” doesn’t require sunlight or water. These hard elements are more function and aesthetic than their plant based counter parts.

Landscaping companies focus on plants and plant care, such as lawn care and tree trimming

Landscaping companies can help you select the right plants for your yard and climate, perform lawn care and maintenance, maintain existing plant life and add new vegetation as needed. Landscapers are also skilled at landscaping designs that blend well with existing structures or landscapes.

Landscapers focus on plant life and the care of it. They can help you select and install new plants, perform pruning, fertilization and pest control. Landscapers also understand the best way to maintain existing vegetation in order to keep it healthy.

While some landscapers offer “light hardscaping” most are not truly designing and building hardscapes.

Hardscaping companies focus on building living spaces, such as decks, walkways, and patios

Hardscapers, or landscape design build contractors, focus on building living spaces, such as decks, walkways and patios. However, they are not limited to these elements. A hardscaper can also be called upon to design a beautiful backyard or even an outdoor kitchen. Many will include landscaped plant design as part of their project, but the reall focus in on the hardscaped elements.

Another important aspect to consider is that hardscaping companies work with hard design elements like wood, stone and brick in addition to concrete. These materials are perfect for creating beautiful outdoor spaces that will last for years without maintenance!

However, hardscapers will tend to shy away from regular maintenance plans and plant care. They are more akin to construction contractors than landscapers. Plus, due to the typical scope and scale of hardscaping projects, you can expect a larger price tag for their services.

Many companies have multiple divisions to serve both landscape and hardscape needs

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Some companies focus exclusively on one or the other, but many landscapers offer hardscape services as well. When choosing one, be sure to ask what their specialties are in. They will let you know up front what they are comfortable doing and save you time shopping.

Don’t forget to ask for examples of past work. While some companies claim they can do it all, ensure that they have experience prior to starting your project or service. The last thing you want is to be stuck holding the bill for a messed up outdoor living space.


In conclusion, the difference between landscaper vs hardscaper is not only their skill set but also how they approach projects. Landscapers focus on building natural spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and functional for homeowners, while hardscapers focus on building functional spaces like decks or patios using hard materials like concrete or stone. In addition to these differences in approach, there are also differences in how each type of company works. If you need help with your yard o