5 Fundamental Principles of Garden Design and Landscaping

the herbal garden
Herbal Garden Design (Photo credit: Vilseskogen)

Many people have big backyards and gardens but just don’t know what to do with them. Well, this is because it is not as easy as it looks to take on a garden design or landscaping project on your own especially if you have never done it before.

Garden Layouts and Landscape-Design

Garden design is not about growing beautiful flowers and having your grass cut low weekly. It is an art and there are many secrets you have to know in order to successfully create a beautiful sanctuary.

Fortunately, there are some basic principles that you can follow in order to make sure your garden looks pleasing to the eye.

1. Balance

It is important for every beautiful garden to be balanced correctly. Keep in mind that balance comes in two forms:

  • English: The bridge in the Japanese gardens, K...
    Japanese gardens  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This is where one side of the garden is completely identical to the other. Symmetrical design was used a lot during the Renaissance period and you can still see it in many gardens especially formal ones. The symmetrical design gives a feeling of order and stability. It is very different from nature where you never see mirror images of something else.

  • Asymmetrical

Of course the opposite of symmetrical design is asymmetrical. This type of landscaping gives the feeling that everything in the garden is placed randomly in no particular order. This, however, doesn’t mean that asymmetrical design looks ugly. It closely resembles nature and therefore it has a relaxing effect. Take a Japanese garden for example. Everything seems to be randomly placed but you realize that they’ve done this to make the garden look good from every angle.

rose garden
Rose Garden Design (Photo credit: Vilseskogen)

2. Lines

Lines are very easy to work with. And they’re also fun! Lines give you the freedom to create walkways and paths and they can be either wavy or straight.

Whether you use straight or wavy lines though is a matter of personal choice. But you should consider that wavy lines go better with asymmetrical designs and the opposite is true for straight lines. There are also a couple more differences between the two.

A wavy line can be free flowing and create a more natural and relaxed feeling. When you see a wavy path in a garden you usually feel invited rather than directed to where you should go.

A straight line on the other hand tends to give you a sense of where you should go and thus it’s more suitable for symmetrically designed gardens. Both types of paths are beautiful depending on what type of garden you are going for but make sure you don’t mix and match.

3. Simplicity

Simplicity is one of the basic principles in any kind of design and that goes for garden design and landscaping too. Keep in mind that simplicity is not about having very little in your garden. It is about keeping the number of design elements low. Then you can go ahead and repeat those elements (see principle 5).

For example, you can take a few of your favorite plants and colors and repeat them in your design. If you want to use stones make sure you don’t use too many. Place them in key locations to avoid the cluttered look. Simplicity is a very easy principle to follow especially if you are new to garden design and landscaping.

Azalea Garden at Kew
Azalea Garden Design (Photo credit: La Citta Vita)

4. Proportion

You should be very careful with proportion (or in other words the relation between the size of one element in relation to the others). This can be one of the most difficult aspects of garden design and landscaping and even the biggest professionals fail to do it correctly sometimes.

Proportion mistakes such as placing a big fountain in a small garden or placing a small fountain in a big garden are easy to avoid. What’s harder to avoid is failing to consider how big your shrubs or trees will grow over time and if you will have enough space for them. In their attempts to avoid this problem, many people end up placing a large number of small shrubs in their gardens, making it look cluttered.

In order to ensure your elements are not out of proportion, try and consider what their size will be when they are fully grown. This will save you a lot of trouble later.

5. Repetition

Repetition is also very helpful when you’re creating unity. Repetition is about using the element or the same color throughout the whole design. This way the eyes move smoothly from one element to the next without interruption.

Be careful though, repetition can be very dangerous if you don’t do it right. Too many of the elements might make your garden look boring and uninteresting and give a monotonous feeling. Too little repetition and your garden will seem cluttered with many unrelated objects, destroying the sense of unity.

Virtual Garden Design

Your garden is a place for relaxation. Whether you want to have a good time with your family or enjoy some alone time, it is a place where you should feel one with nature. Overall, garden design and landscaping can be a difficult job. However, it is very interesting and if you do it right the results will be extremely satisfying. Need the help of a professional? www.driveways-solihull.co.uk  can do the for you quickly and affordably.

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