"Hardscape" consists of the inanimate elements of landscaping, especially any masonry work or woodwork.
For example, stone walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, wooden decks and wooden arbors would all be considered part of the hardscape. But by extension, anything used in landscaping that is not part of the softscape can be considered a hardscape element, including home accents such as water fountains and, yes, even pink flamingoes!
No pun intended, but hardscape can be hard work, even under the best of climate conditions. That does not stop professionals (and hardy folks, in general), though, from undertaking certain hardscape projects even in winter! But the viability of winter hardscape does depend on the nature of the project. Professional mason and former About.com Landscaping contributing writer Joe Norton advises:
"Projects that are on the flat, like patios and walkways, are very, very, very difficult in the winter if the ground freezes. These projects are better left until spring. But projects that go up, like stone walls, are great winter hardscape projects."