Landscape design is a critical part of creating a home that is both attractive and functional. It also creates an environment that reflects the personalities of those who live in it.


Landscaping designs can take many forms, from formal to informal, and incorporate various architectural styles. Here are a few tips to help you decide which style is best for your home and landscape.

One of the key factors in successful landscape design is proportion. It’s the size relationship of plants, hardscaping, buildings, and other landscaping pieces to each other as well as to human scale. This principle is often overlooked and can result in elements that look out of place.

Another reason to pay attention to proportion is that it can help you create transitions between different elements. For instance, a 5-foot-high stone wall elegantly sets off a home with a tall porch, but this same wall would look out of proportion if it were positioned right in front of a small home. Creating transitions between the wall and the house will help to balance the effect.

Proportion also contributes to the overall mood of a garden. A garden that is out of proportion looks lopsided and may even look chaotic or disorganized.

The garden designer can use a grid to guide the creation of a layout. This is especially helpful for designs that use straight lines, such as a traditional symmetrical layout. However, a grid is not necessary, as designers can choose a more freestyle approach when creating designs that use curves or circular shapes.

When designing a garden, it’s important to consider the scale of every element in the garden. Scenarios such as tiny foundation plants located at the base of a mature tree, two-story houses, or a huge weeping willow towering over a basin-sized pond are prime examples of disproportion and should be avoided.

Using plants of different sizes in combination can also achieve proportion in a garden. For example, a group of three plants that each bear a one-third to two-thirds relationship to each other can make the entire arrangement very pleasing.

A design with a sense of proportion can be a very relaxing space to spend time in, and it’s easier for people to move around the garden as a whole when there are well-proportioned boundaries. This is a particularly important factor for pool decks and other areas where people will be using the garden, like children’s play spaces or patios.

Landscaping designs are often a combination of several factors, including plant selection, hardscape (non-organic features), lighting, climates, and irrigation. The goal is to produce a visually pleasing and functional space that enhances the home’s overall design while also providing a pleasant experience for visitors and residents alike.

The order of the landscape elements is of paramount importance in achieving overall success. This is particularly true in urban environments, where access is a challenge for both pedestrians and cars. For example, if your property is surrounded by dense trees and shrubs, you may need to install a fence or a raised garden bed to separate the areas.

This is no small feat and can be time-consuming. A good way to start is by using a garden planner such as the one offered by iScape, which allows you to add your favorite landscaping features directly onto a virtual version of your actual yard. You can then share it with a partner or landscaper for input, and you’ll be able to see your changes from the comfort of your own home.

The best part is that this process doesn’t have to be painful. For a beginner, the key is to take your time and make sure you are making the most of your space. A few strategically placed plants and some judicious pruning will go a long way toward improving the aesthetics of your backyard. The right amount of watering will keep them healthy, too! If you’re a novice, consider starting with annuals or fast-growing groundcovers to hide unsightly areas and get the ball rolling.