Landscaping Designs

Landscaping designs refer to the overall arrangement of trees, shrubs, flowers, lawns, and other softscape areas. They also include hardscape elements like paths, gazebos, and trellises.


Unity, simplicity, variety, balance, movement, and focalization are essential in landscape design. Understanding these principles will help you create a beautiful and functional landscape. Contact Y&L Landscaping for professional help.

Landscape design is a creative process that uses horticultural science and artful composition to organize plants and hardscape materials into outdoor “rooms” for different purposes. It is based on principles (guidelines) such as line, form, texture, color, and visual weight.

For example, straight lines create a structural character and are associated with a formal balance. Curved lines, on the other hand, offer a more natural character and can direct the eye toward a focal point.

The proportion and size of the various elements in a landscaping design is also important. Larger elements, such as trees and structures, should be balanced by smaller elements, such as ground covers and shrubs. It is important to keep in mind the importance of scale when designing your landscape, as this will affect how the space feels.

Achieving a balance of the various elements in your landscape is vital to creating harmony and visual appeal. Using principles such as symmetry, balance/repetition, emphasis, and sequence/order can help to achieve this balance.

Color is an important element that sets a mood and draws the eye throughout a design. It can also create focal points and highlight certain areas of your garden. Warm colors like reds and yellows can create excitement and help bring the eye together, while cool colors like blues and greens offer serenity and make your garden feel peaceful and inviting.

When selecting your colors, it’s important to consider something called “color relationships,” which simply means how the colors you choose go together. Complementary colors (colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel) appear bright and bold. Examples of complementary colors would be yellow and purple, or red and orange. Analogous colors (colors that are next to one another on the color wheel) appear more subtle and blend well with each other. Examples of analogous colors include yellow, yellow-green, and green; red, orange, and blue; or blue, violet, and purple.

It’s also important to think about texture in your landscape designs. Texture can add interest to a design by creating contrast and movement. For example, using plants with rough textured foliage can contrast well with smooth flagstones and wood fences. Alternatively, using finely textured plants such as hydrangeas or rhus typhina can compliment the natural textures of a stone wall or wood gate.

A design element that is often overlooked, texture plays a key role in the aesthetics of a garden. Texture can be felt or seen, and it adds dimension to landscape plants or hardscape additions like a stone wall or bark mulch.

When it comes to visual texture, a landscape designer uses the elements of line and scale to create a harmonious composition. The textures of plants and hardscape materials are often referred to as fine, medium, or coarse. Mixing different textures helps create contrast and balance.

To accentuate the visual effect of texture, a landscape designer will use repetition. For example, a herringbone pattern of bricks can be used to unify walkways and patios in a hardscape design. The same repetition of color can be utilized in the plant selection to create a sense of unity.

Texture also affects the perception of distance and scale in a planting design. For example, fine textures read as closer and coarse textures as farther away. To accomplish this, a landscape designer can pair bold foliage with fine textures in the same planting, or they can plant fine textures around the perimeter of a planting and coarse textures in the middle.

Balance is a key principle in landscape design that creates a sense of harmony and unity in your outdoor space. It is achieved through the distribution of visual weight within a composition. This can be done through symmetry or asymmetry. Symmetrical balance is achieved by arranging identically sized and positioned elements on both sides of the design, creating a formal character that exudes elegance. Asymmetrical balance is achieved by distributing different sizes and shaped elements of varying visual weight throughout the composition, often allowing for greater creativity and movement in the landscape.

Contrasting elements are also important for balance in the landscape, and can be used to highlight specific elements within your design. By using contrasting colors, plant sizes, leaf structures, texture, and even growth habits you can add depth and interest to your landscape.

Another way to create balance in your landscape is by incorporating varying heights of plants and hardscape features. This can be done by grouping elements together in an asymmetrically balanced arrangement, or by adding a focal point that draws the eye up and around the landscape. Paying attention to negative space is also a good practice, as this can help to create a sense of space and calm in your landscape.

Lines move the eye through landscape designs. Straight, diagonal, zigzag, spiral and curvilinear lines create different movement and character and lead the eye to focal points. Curved lines soften the eye’s movement while introducing a natural feel. They are often found in plant bed edges and pathways.

Rhythm is a repetition of elements throughout the landscape design that flows and evokes an emotional response from the viewer. It can be a subtle repetition of colors or textures, or it can also be the use of varying size and shape of plants.

Unity is the feeling of oneness that comes from a balance of form, color and texture that unifies a landscape design. This may be achieved by determining a theme that can be used to guide the selection of hardscape and planting materials and their placement. It can be a formal or informal architectural style such as French, English or Italian or a theme based on a garden style such as Japanese, Oriental, meadow or coastal plantings.

It can also be a style theme such as geometric shapes or rounded, naturalistic forms in the hardscape and square, rectangular or circular in the plantings. The theme can be based on a symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.

A focal point is a dominant feature in your landscape that draws attention and leads the eye. This feature contrasts in color, size, texture or form with the surrounding landscape. This can be accomplished through a garden sculpture, water feature or even your home architecture.

Order is the principle of delineating and defining different spaces within the overall landscape composition. It is achieved through the use of lines, scale and visual weight. The balance of these principles will give your landscaping a unified look.

The best way to discover your own style is to study the landscapes of others in your neighborhood and community. Pay special attention to the colors, plant forms and textures of the gardens and landscapes you find attractive. If you like a particular architectural style, try to figure out what it is that appeals to you about the design. You can also get ideas by looking at the homes of friends and neighbors, and consulting with real estate agents who see homes landscapes on a daily basis. Then, take what you have learned from studying these landscapes and apply it to your own home landscape project. This will help you create a beautiful outdoor space that your family will enjoy for years to come.