Landscape Design Basics

Landscape design is a sensitive and rewarding craft that requires the cultivation, maintenance and appreciation of plant life. Everything from the blades of grass that make up your front lawn to the amount of shade created by the largest tree in your yard are thought of and planned for. An experienced landscape designer takes into account environmental factors and aspects concerning the lives of different plants and trees before making a decision about what to plant and where to plant anything.

Landscape Design Basics

More than about creating a pretty property, landscaping is about planning and looking into the future. There are a lot of components that go into creating a good landscaping plan, and that is why it is a good idea to consult with a professional landscaper who has knowledge of plant life and growth patterns and can help you design a yard that will be healthy and pleasing for years to come.

Assessing Function

Your yard should do more than look good, it should meet your family’s needs in terms of maintenance level and structure. Before planting, consider what you want to do in your yard. Do you want open space for kids to play, or do you want minimal grass for minimal maintenance? There are landscape designs that will attract wildlife and others that will be perpetually fit for a backyard party. Consider where your priorities are prior to putting anything in the ground.


Plants grow in every color of the rainbow. Sometimes these colors fit nicely together, other times a solid shade of green will suffice. Before planting random flowers, consider the color assortment of the flowers, leaves and even the branches. There are some flowers that will change colors based on the acidity of the soil, and others who will grow different colors depending on the season. It is often a more aesthetically pleasing plan to plant blocks of colors, as opposed to just scattering color wherever it fits in your yard.

Proportion and Scale

The size of plants is essential when planning your garden. You don’t want to plant a shrub that will overtake the front of your house, just as you don’t want a vining plant to choke out other flowers in a bed. Look at the placement of larger plants first and then determine where smaller shrubs and flowers will go around it. Take into consideration the amount of sunlight every plant will get once larger plants and trees reach maturity.

Texture and Form

Much like the assortment of colors, plants will have a variety of texture and forms that they’ll take and it is good to know what a plant will look like when it reaches maturity before planting it in the ground. When creating a flower bed, choose plants with some variety in their forms and textures to create a more custom design.


Setting up well-defined parameters and choosing carefully where plant beds will lay will help ensure that your plants compliment your yard, not overtake it. Come up with a theme for your yard and stick with it. This means focusing on color choices, texture and form and functionality, as mentioned above, but also on the overall flow of your property.

There are all sorts of themes that you can consider when planning your yard, and this will help with plant choices as well as organization. Think about the natural and romantic look, with flowing rows of plants in curving lines. There is also a modern and straight-edge look, with boxy plant beds and minimal colors. You could event create a highly manicured appearance with minimal overgrowth and lots of space between plants for a minimalistic appearance. Organizing your yard and making this decision early on will ensure that you enjoy the final appearance down the road.

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