A Hardscape refers to the paved areas like , paths, streets & sidewalks, large business complexes, housing developments, and other industrial areas where the upper-soil is no longer exposed.. The term is especially used in heavily urbanized/suburbanized areas where there is little bare soil. Hardscaping or hard landscaping examples include brick patios and sidewalks. Retaining walls are often used to create boundaries between hard landscaping and earth landscaping features, or softscapes. From an urban planning perspective hard landscaping can include very large features, such as paved roads. Most artificial water features are technically hard landscaping because they require a barrier to retain the water, instead of letting it drain into the surrounding soil.
From an aesthetic point of view, hard landscaping allows workers to erect landscape features that would otherwise be impossible because of soil erosion, or that compensate for large amounts of human traffic that would cause wear on bare earth or grass. For example it is possible to employ sheer vertical features in a hardscape. The water table in and around large areas of hard landscaping is usually very depleted because not enough rainwater is being absorbed into the soil of that area in order to help recharge it. Such areas must then rely largely on "imported" freshwater from local or non-local lakes, reservoirs, dams, rivers, and streams. On the other hand, most homes in rural areas often use wells and springs as their primary source of freshwater because the local water table is being constantly recharged by the hydrologic cycle.