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Principles of Landscape Design

You can create a well-proportioned space to your property by applying landscape design principles to your property. You may not have the qualifications and skills to be a professional landscaper, but you can still use these principles in landscaping projects. These principles have been shared with us by top professional landscape designers from the US, UK and Australia. 

Basic Landscape Design Principles

First, let’s take a quick look at the best landscape design principles to follow:

  • Simplicity – Follow simple designs when it comes to shapes and angles. You should use color palettes that are consistent, complementary and calming with the overall theme. 
  • Balance – Maintain a balance between materials along with soft and hard materials. 
  • Unity – Unity is about connecting the existing and new aspects of landscaping. This helps to create a seamless transition of the outdoor elements.
  • Proportion – Proportion is about selecting elements that create cohesiveness and style.

Applying Landscape Design Principles to Landscaping Projects


hoa maintenance |  landscape design

1. Use Architecture to Enhance the Landscape Design

Landscape designers use the existing architecture to help inform and shape the overall layout of the garden. You can create cohesion by aligning garden paths and beds with the architecture.

By ensuring that there is a strong interface between the exterior and interior, you can create a strong connection with the greenery. 


Landscape designs

2. Combine Beauty with Functionality

Balancing beauty and functionality is a leading principle in landscape 

design. A great landscape design has a well-balanced mix of sophistication and simplicity.

Landscaping with shrubs usually creates a low-maintenance plot. Expert designers usually use a mix of different textures and colors in plants to enhance the beauty factor of a functional garden. 


Landscape maintenance

3. Go Big in Small Spaces

Small-sized areas can also be transformed into impressive plots. The trick is to go for a bold approach. This can be achieved by choosing to install something big, rather than with several small ornaments. 

Compact spaces can benefit greatly from a single bold statement piece, such as an oversized outdoor light. This way, you can easily give character to the small space. 


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4. Repeat to Create Cohesion 

Outdoor living spaces need a combination of different landscape design principles, especially repetition. For instance, you can choose to repeat planting selection, fence design and use of hardscape patio materials all over the garden. 

It is also important not to overcomplicate the space in the process. A limited plant palette, simple layout and restrained use of hardscape materials help to bring a calming and welcoming look to the garden. If there are too many different materials or plants, there is a risk of the area looking cluttered and disorganized, leading to an overwhelming feeling of the landscape rather than calming. 


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5. Cut Back on the Environmental Impact

An eco-friendly landscape design is one of the most important landscape design principles. These are the components that make for an ideal eco-friendly landscape design: 

  • Using ecological design 
  • Working with the site and context 
  • Minimizing impact on the environment 
  • Using sustainable and resilient garden designs 
  • Promoting biodiversity 
  • Supporting local wildlife 
  • Connecting people with nature 

For example, you can have a meadow of flowering perennials and grasses which provide the necessary swathes of color and texture. You can use log walls for bordering the garden. It offers a juxtaposition to the plants and also divides the landscape evenly. 

Eco-friendly gardening and landscaping principles involve using peat free compost, recycled plastic pots and non-chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 


Landscaping Maintenance

6. Combine Balance and Proportion

Having order in landscape design is crucial. To achieve this you can check the scale of objects in relation to the overall garden size. Proportion enhances the overall feel of a garden.

As plants grow they add vertical height and improve the impact of the landscape design. Using clean, modern lines with practical lawn design can transform a large space. 

Combining balance and proportion helps to create a functional and appealing open space, complete with stylish landscaping.


Landscape enhancement | indoor space

7.  Keep Indoor Space in Mind

Most people use their outdoor spaces to kick back and relax, and even meditate to connect with themselves. Hence, a landscape design which provokes an emotional response is perfect for good mental health. For this, you need to have an affinity with the outdoor space. 

Landscape experts say that unity in design comes when you create a bond between the interior and exterior. This can be subtle or glaringly obvious. A common bond needs to be formed from the front outdoor property to the interior and all the way to behind the building. 


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8. Lay Out Plants in Layers 

Landscape designers advise that instead of keeping all plants pushed to the boundary, you can instead consider creating layers. Think of plants as fabric is used in interior designing. You can combine contrasting foliage in similar colors. This brings plants of different textures together and creates a very pleasant and impressive outcome. 

Evergreen structures are also excellent for this as these can be enjoyed throughout the years, unlike seasonal plants. 


Landscape designers use various guidelines and tools to create functional and attractive outdoor living spaces. By following these landscape design principles, you too can add significant simplicity, functionality and attractiveness to your landscape. As these design principles seem relatively simple, when combining them, and customizing to a specific area, and taking into account which plants will thrive in a certain climate, it can get complex and confusing.

At Down To Earth Landscape & Irrigation, we have professionals who are certified arborists, know Florida climate zones, and have knowledge of landscape design on staff. Contact us for your next landscape design!