Landscape Design: What Are the Basic Principles?


Do you need ideas for a landscape installation for your house in Park City? Do you want to create something similar to a Pinterest image you’ve seen on the internet? Or, do you have a particular vision for your home’s outdoor space?

Whatever you want, you have to understand the following principles in landscape design to guarantee a great outcome.


Think of a harmonious theme running through every item in the design — from plants to decor. Repeating good elements is a great way to create this unity, but be sure not to overdo it. Unity can be considered the overarching principle. If all other principles achieve their goals and work together, then unity is the result.


Balance, which has two sub-forms, is always pleasing to the eye. Symmetrical balance refers to similar elements being perfectly mirrored or duplicated. The symmetry can be horizontal or vertical. This is achieved by planting beds, installing walkways, or pruning plants into similar geometric designs. For example, plant two trees of the same type in front of your house. As they grow, they will create a good balance in terms of both height and color.

Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, refers to dissimilar objects achieving balance through movement, shapes, colors, patterns, and textures. This balance is more relaxed and free-flowing. An example of this is a winding, instead of a straight, path from the street to the front door


Contrast is not just about colors. It also covers other elements like textures (soft vs. hard) or sizes (small vs. big). This principle draws attention to the juxtaposition of the different elements. Create a great visual design by combining several contrasting elements, but always remember unity and balance. If you want to put a big tree next to a small shrub, for instance, create balance by planting another small shrub and big tree across the original pair.



Landscaping is not just brown soil and green plants. It is also about taming the riot of colors of flowers, leaves, rocks, and other installations. Always consider how the colors play with each other. Also, keep in mind your overall objective for your design. If your goal is a relaxing design then avoid very warm colors and go for relaxing greens.


This principle involves a gradual change from one element to another. It can mean varying heights of plants or intensity of colors. The key to this principle is gradation. Abrupt changes do not work well. For example, a tall plant next to the short one looks jarring and unpleasant to the eye. Play up the gradation by planting several plants of varying heights.


A good design always highlights a focal point, which is the spot that contains the most interesting or strongest element. For example, a front lawn walkway’s focal point can be the front door. With a good design, the walkway will be inviting visitors to the front door. Or, a gigantic rock that is surrounded by small rocks.

These basic principles can be a good way to unleash your creativity. Whether you are sprucing up your landscape or creating a new one, let these principles guide you to achieve a design that is harmonized and balanced.

Villa Hope Content Team

Villa Hope Content Team

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