Being a veteran of the industry, it’s sometimes easy to forget that not all clients or prospects are tuned in to the trends and knowledge that I’m exposed to on a regular basis. Sometimes I’ll even mention a term that I assume is common knowledge, only to be met with confused looks that tell me I might as well be speaking Russian.
One term that I throw around regularly is hardscaping. To me this is a basic term that I just assume everybody is familiar with. But gauging from the responses I’ve seen, not everybody is.
In fact, it’s the one word that I use regularly and even my MS Word program insists on trying to catch it as a spelling
But it is a real word. And it is just what it sounds like – landscaping with hard materials. Stone, brick, blocks, concrete, etc.
Much the way that The Jeffersons were a spin-off of All in the Family or Laverne and Shirley was a spin-off of Happy Days, hardscaping is a spin-off of landscaping.
Mention landscaping to a handful of people, and you’ll probably conjure up images ranging from lawn mowing to mulching to tree-trimming to patio construction to pond maintenance – quite a wide range of services. In fact, when I mention our company works in the landscape industry, I’m often confronted with requests to plant shrubs or mow lawns.
So the term hardscaping was developed to specifically refer to the “hard” portion of your landscape. Stone walls? Check. Flagstone patios? Check. Brick walkways? Check. Ornamental boulders? Check.
And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Does the horticulture expert at the local garden nursery have the in-depth skills or knowledge that will help with your stone patio construction? Perhaps they’ll be knowledgeable with a few of the basics, but just as you wouldn’t necessarily trust a brick mason with picking out the best shrub selections for your shade garden, a plant expert won’t most likely have the skills and knowledge to deliver a successful patio construction.
So hardscaping has evolved into a somewhat separate industry within the industry, if you will.
And on the flip side, the term “softscaping” has evolved to separately describe the portion of your landscape that remains “soft” – the beds and plantings to be specific.
All that’s not to say that many contractors and companies don’t do both. Many do, but usually the larger companies will have separate divisions that handle the hardscaping and softscaping portions of your landscape. Much the way that many general contractors have separate crews that handle the basic framing vs the finish and fixture duties for a structure or dwelling.
There’s other “scapings” that have evolved as well. Aquascaping is the side of the business that centers around ponds and aquatic plantlife. Xeriscaping (from the Greek xeros, or “dry””) centers around landscaping with little use of water. Roofscaping is landscaping on your roof. Stonescaping is hardscaping to the next level, dealing only with natural stonework. The list goes on, you get the idea.
So the next time you’re talking with someone and they mention the word hardscaping, you can carry on and perhaps even respond by telling them about that new patio you just had installed. You’re now officially in the know.
And if you call the right contractor, you can even brag about what a great job that locally-owned-and-operated, super-responsive, personable, attentive-to-detail, company Clark Kent Creations did installing your new patio. :)
Give us a call. A free consultation is just a phone call away.
But just don't ask me to mow your lawn ... :)