Basic Landscape Design Principles

Creating Your Garden Paradise

Red flowers-basic-landscape-design-principles
Red Flowers

So you have decided to take your landscape to the next level by making it a thing of beauty, hiring a landscape contractor can be pretty costly so you have decided to DIY it or Do It Yourself but don’t know where to start don’t despair following these simple principles will give you your garden paradise.

Working on the great outdoors can give such a wonderful feeling as you connect with nature giving nature a helping hand this has been my experience over the years which has paid off in so many ways. I have worked on both residential and commercial properties transforming and bringing much beauty to these areas giving the owners a sense of pride.

Basic landscape design principles

When planning your garden project it is good to start with visualization, from here you can organize and put things into perspective such as.

  • Simplicity
  • Balance
  • Focalization
  • Size
  • Unity
  • Colour
  • Line
  • Proportion

Simplicity– Keep it simple, I love a landscape that is open and inviting nothing that is overbearing or too clustered. I have seen garden designs that were very colorful but what took away from it was it was just too much, overkill as they say. I know that some landscape designs can be complex that include ponds, architectural features, water features such as irrigation design, landscape lighting, etc… but remember as much as possible to keep it simple.

Balance– Balance is one of the things I always talk about when it comes to gardening and landscaping design. There should be a repeat or one side should mirror the other. I know that you want to create a thing of interest and beauty without it being boring but the mistake with many beginner gardens is not bringing balance. Throwing a bunch of colors together does not create balance.

Imagine designing a walkway with garden plants where one side of the walkway has 3-4 types of garden plants that grow basically the same hight then on the other side of the walkway you have a group of different plants that grow at different hight, there’s no balance but confusion is what you will have. keep this in mind and you will do just fine.

Focalization– Having a focal point is so important in any landscape and garden design. It is a place or point in the garden or landscape that creates interest and gets the attention of those that sees this area. To create a focal point use plants that are unique and very colorful. Including garden features such as furniture, birdbaths, etc.. can really bring that wow to your garden area.

Flower groups-Basic landscape design principles
Garden Plants

Size– Does really matter. Can you imagine installing plants that grow up to 20 ft or higher in front of your window that is only 5 ft, this will not only look awkward and be an eyesore but will also be a security and safety issue because windows should always be clear so the homeowner can have a clear view from within the home. Installing plants under your windows that grows 2-3 ft makes good sense. Keep this in mind and use this principle as a rule of thumb. Now you may mix it up somewhat but taller plants should be in the corners or in the middle but never block visual areas which are so important.

Unity– When it comes to unity you want everything working together or flowing in the same direction. In other words, the entire garden or landscape should complement each other. Colors, shape, size, garden features such as furniture, etc… should create that which is pleasing to the eyes.

Colors– Should always complement each other. What you want to use is 6-8 color groups in your garden, smaller gardens can use anywhere from 4-6 groups. I know your goal is to create a garden that is beautiful, full of life, and pleasing to the eyes but using too many colors can actually take away from your garden making it unattractive.

Lines– Lines create such an amazing effect that is pleasing to the eyes. These lines are created by the forms, hardscapes, flower beds, turf, and other garden features. The goal is to create interest and continuous flow.

Proportion– keep in mind when designing your garden to always go for proportion meaning every aspect of the design should complement each other as far as size is concerned. There should be a constant flow, nothing overpowering or overbearing.

The final word

Remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE do not overthink this just let your mind go as those creative juices flow and you will be on your way to creating your garden paradise. It really is awesome to connect with nature as you give nature a helping hand transforming your surroundings making it a thing of beauty.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

12 thoughts on “Basic Landscape Design Principles”

  1. Hi Norman,

    Great tips!

    You have provided excellent information for landscape design. I am about to make some changes in my garden, and I didn’t have a clear idea of how to design it. I was thinking of installing an outdoor water fountain. Wouldn’t it be too difficult to install it? Also, any suggestion on water plants?

    Thank you for this useful post!

    • Hello Daniella, so good to see you. hope all is well with you and your family. When it comes to installing a fountain the amount of difficulty depends on the type of fountain you are installing. Here is a link that will give you and idea. and as for water plants it would be good if you check your nursery or garden center to see what s available. Hope his helps all the best to you and have a good day.

  2. Hello,

    You know, one thing I never really thought about was the height (size) of plants. We have some features around our house we want to showcase, and I think I planted some bushes that are going to grow too big!

    Thanks for the tips! From now on I am going to do my research and understand the size of a plant before I consider where to place it.

    Also…love the advice to keep it simple. Especially for folks just starting out. Don’t expect to have the perfect landscaping in the first season. It does take time.

  3. Thanks, for a basic view of Landscaping your garden. I feel I have a bit better understanding now on how I can design my little paradise. It is so easy to overplant, especially since I like the jungle feel but it quickly gets out of hand. I will come back for more tips on gardening. Thanks again.

    • You are welcome all it takes is some know how and you will be well on your way. All the best to you and have a good day.

  4. Hi, I have a small garden with three plants on carpet grass whereby two big plants mirroring each other on each side of a small walkway. The big plants are different greens. Another plant grows with long red leaves at a corner of the garden. Will that affect the balance of the garden? I was thinking of keeping the garden simple as it is.

    • Hello so nice to meet you, now I hear you talking about big plants on either side of a small walkway with different shades of green the key is to go for balance as long as the different shades of green complements each other and dose not look awkward along with these plants not over power your walk way because of size you are good. As for the plant with red leaves growing at the corner of the garden that’s fine as long as it dose not look awkward. Just keep it simple and don’t over think it, have fun. Hope this help and if you need more help just give me a shout. All the best to you and have a good day.

  5. Another awesome post, have you ever thought about a link that takes your customers to a planning page based on where they live and the colors they want as well as the sizes maybe. Or it could just show them with a picture and name, what plants grow best in their climate zone and show how tall they get and how much light and wayter they need. Just an idea….

  6. Hi,

    I am now living in an apartment and have been dreaming of owning my very personal garden! I am always in love with flowers and bonsai. That’s why I find your info attractive!

    Okay, actually I am going to try these in my parents’ garden haha! Thanks for the ideas and info! Looking forward to your upcoming post!

    • Hello Cyrstal it is so nice to meet you. Gardening is such a rewaring experience as we connect with nature by giving nauter a helping hand and seeing such great results that is so beneficial. Wishing you the best of success with your gardening project. Thanks so much and have a good day.


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