When it comes to landscape design, some people prefer manicured perfection with a formal flare. Others tend to go for a more rustic look that mimics the natural world around them. Of course, using a mix of both styles could be in order too! It’s all up to you. However, there are some general landscape design rules that will keep whatever style you choose looking like a master gardener is in charge.
- Plant shrubs and small trees in clusters or groups of odd numbers. 1, 3, 5, etc.
- Check bloom times to make sure you will always have something blooming throughout the season. Organizing this task using lists and diagrams will help!
- Using plants with colorful foliage will make up for lack of blooming color. Contrast foliage to make an even bigger impact. Ex. Try planting bright yellow Golden Barberry behind lower-growing darker leaved foliage like Blue Rug Juniper.
- Rounded beds and edges are more natural while straight lines give a more formal and contemporary feel.
- Achieve balance and/or symmetry. Symmetry is having equal objects on both sides of your visual picture. For example, if you were looking at a home from the street, you might have one 30’ Blue Spruce on either side of the home. If you were talking about balance, you might have a Blue Spruce on one side and 5 or 7 medium sized shrubs on the other to balance it out. Symmetry is more formal. Balance without symmetry is more natural.
- If you have a narrow yard, you may wish to make it look wider using horizontal lines. Using long wavy edges in your garden beds with low growing groundcovers and spreading shrubs like Cotoneaster. For large yards, vertical lines with narrow conical plants can be used to draw the eye upward.
- Especially if you are starting from scratch, create focal points throughout your landscape and work around them. This can help you from becoming overwhelmed and from keeping the landscape looking like a smorgasbord of confusion. Examples of good focal plants are: Fraser’s Photinia, Japanese Maples, Maiden Grass, Pampas Grass, and various Evergreens, just to name but a few!