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9 Easy Guides to a Successful Landscape Design

Landscaping is an easy job—said no one ever. 

While it is true that it will require you to put effort way above the bare minimum, it can still be a fun and rewarding process.

The process of landscaping usually starts with crafting a landscape design. 

It is sometimes referred to or called as landscape architecture

This design can be likened to a blueprint of a house where it serves as the plan of foundation.

The key factors involved in the landscaping design are analysis, planning, designing, and managing of exterior living spaces like a yard or garden. 

If these are all actively and carefully thought of, coming up with successful landscape design is almost highly assured.

Principles of Landscape Design

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While the above-mentioned elements are the key factors in landscape design, there are also some principles that should be considered. 

Think of it as some governing laws that will help you stay on track in designing a landscape. 

These principles vary in number in some articles or websites. 

Here we are listing the seven principles we think are the most important.

  • Balance – Balance refers to how the structures in the landscape are in an orderly fashion that a balanced visual weight is created. A landscape can either have a symmetrical or asymmetrical balance. The first having identical sides and the former having varied composition but still achieves a sense of balanced or even visual weight.  
  • Emphasis – The emphasis as a principle of design pertains to the focalization of the whole landscape into a certain area or space. This certain area, simply put, serves as the center of attraction of the whole space. An example of this could be a water fountain in a garden.
  • Variation – To have a more visually pleasing landscape, adding varieties should be considered. This can be done through the diversity of the elements in your design such as shapes and sizes, and in the presence of various plants if dealing with a garden design.
  • Repetition – While variety talks about diversity, repetition deals with repeating various elements. Repeating some things in your landscape creates familiarity with expressions. Just make sure not to add too much repetition as this would create blandness.
  • Proportion – The sizes of elements such as plots and structures, and how they form a balance in the space are all about proportion. One structure can’t be too big from others unless you’re giving emphasis to it like a gazebo or water fountain.
  • Sequence – The order in which certain elements are placed in the landscape design is the sequence. This principle also intersects with contrast and harmony in your space. Basically, you can’t put a very tall structure next to a very small one because this would not be too pleasing in the eyes.
  • Unity – This is the manner in which the elements in your design or space are all connected to one another. Physically, this can be achieved by linking structures or areas through pathways or steps.

9 Steps to a Successful Landscape Design

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These steps are designed to help you turn your vision into a visual material that you can use as the blueprint in landscaping your own home.


1. Know your own space. Logically, the first thing you have to do is completely know your land. Like in a painting, your land or space serves as the canvass. So before starting your design, know the relevant details first. 

Assessment of the kind of soil you have, the measurement of the land, how it is exposed to sunlight, the topography, are just some of these details.

2. Have a clear vision of what you want. Your vision serves as the soul of the design. The kind of landscape you want and the type or theme of garden setup should be here. 

You can start by having some broad vision and then slowly narrow it down to specific details. This is extremely important because you will allot time, attention, money, and efforts in designing and building the landscape. So perhaps, envision something that you really love.

3. Add elements and structures you want. Having a broad vision is not enough without specific elements. In this step,  listing and researching about structures and objects you want in the landscape are the main activities. If you want to have a gazebo, some plants, garden screens, swing set, tables, steps – do it all here.

4. Think about your resources and the feasibility of your vision. After doing steps one to three, from knowing your space to add the elements you want, you now have to rate these against your resources. 

Will all these elements work? Did you add too many plants and structures? Is the theme of the garden suitable for your location’s climate? These are just a few of the questions you have to answer.

5. Lay down your vision into a sketch. Now, you are ready to draft your sketch. You can just do it on a clean sheet of white paper – may be on an A4 size paper or on any sheet available to you. Surfing the internet for some references would definitely help you out. Using colors and art materials would be up to you.

6. Consider using alandscape designing tool or program. For a design to have a cleaner and more presentable look, you can use computer landscaping programs or applications. This is like designing a house as what an architect does. 

Some options you may consider include iScape, SketchUp, AutoDesk, and Pro Landscape Design. Some of these programs or apps, including those you can search on the internet, are free but some will charge you for some fees and subscription plans.

Check out more landscaping apps

7. Consider the principles of landscape design. This step can be done in this stage or before you start sketching. We opted to put this as the 7th step because having a visual material would help you rate it against the principles of design.

Did you add a structure that will serve as a central point? Were you able to balance the objects in a symmetrical or asymmetrical way? Did you add some variations in your garden plants? You can formulate some questions and base your answers from what you can see from your own design.

8. Seek help from an expert. One of the best ways that you can do to ensure a successful landscape design is to seek help or advice from an expert. New Orleans’ top-rated landscaping company, Big Easy Landscaping, offers landscaping design and architecture services.

9. Finalize your design. It is only natural that a lot of changes and compromises will happen before you are able to come up with a final design. Corrections and changes along the way should be taken as a sign that you are headed into a successful landscape design of your own.

Now that you have made a layout or landscape design, you are now ready to build the landscape of your dreams!


More from Big Easy Landscaping

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How to Start an Eco-Friendly Landscape

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