If you've searched for landscaping online, you've likely read the term hardscaping before. What does it mean? Hardscape is an industry term referring to the walls, patios, pools and the like that make up the areas we spend our time in when outside at our homes. Every great landscape design will use hardscape elements to maximize usable space.
When creating outdoor living areas designers think of creating rooms that are extensions of the home. Hardscape features, typically made of stone, brick and concrete, set the bounds for these rooms; plants fill and surround those bounds with the life, texture and color needed to soften them up. Hence the term "softscape" - you can learn about that on here too.