Not sure what material you are using that it got "hardened." Probably good to cultivate a little to break it up (with a "claw" or hoe or ??? depending on space) and then topdress with new mulch. No need to replace; the idea is that the old mulch decomposes into the soil and helps improve the soil’s texture. That’s why I never use large mulch like big bark chips. Always something medium to finer textured and that will degrade; best is something pre-composted (shredded aged leaves, composted stable bedding….).
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.