Important Elements of Landscaping

Landscape design is the addition of plants, changes to the terrain, and construction of structures like fences, decks, retaining walls, or water features. It also involves regular maintenance to keep the property healthy and looking good.


Form themes include geometric shapes for hardscapes and curvilinear designs for plantings. There should be a smooth transition between the various forms in the landscape. Contact Y&L Landscaping for professional help.

Color is one of the most important and challenging elements to work with in landscape design. It can draw the eye and highlight a specific area, create focal points, balance and harmonize spaces, and change throughout the seasons.

Different colors evoke distinct emotions and have a variety of effects on the people who use and enjoy them. Warm colors like orange, yellow, and red can boost energy and excitement while cooler colors like blue, green, and purple encourage relaxation and calm. Understanding these differences and using them strategically can help a landscape designer achieve the desired mood for a garden.

Landscape professionals also consider the relationship between color and form in a planting. Plants come in a wide array of shapes and sizes from the tall, imposing structure of a tree to the delicate branching pattern of an evergreen shrub. Choosing the right combination of flowers, plants, and trees can help a landscape design create a unified appearance.

Another important consideration is color harmony, or the way that different colors relate to each other. Typically, a landscape designer will want to avoid extreme variations in color. Too many different colors can be overwhelming to the eye, and they may compete with each other instead of blending together smoothly. The use of a color wheel is often helpful when planning a landscaping color scheme.

In addition to coordinating colors, the landscape designer should also consider the colors of buildings and other hardscape features. This is especially important if the landscaping will be around a house or other building. The designer may choose to match the building color and extend it into the yard, or they may choose to contrast with it for dramatic effect.

Finally, the landscape designer will need to think about the sky. This can make or break a landscape picture. A beautiful blue sky with white clouds can enhance the beauty of a landscape, but a cloudy or threatening sky can detract from it. A good landscape designer will be able to find the perfect balance between land and sky.


Landscape lines draw the eye through a space and influence the way we perceive it. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved. They can be real (actual) or perceived (implied). Using lines correctly can emphasize or de-emphasize features in the landscape and create visual rhythm and balance.

Lines can define plant beds and hardscape elements such as walkways, fences or patio pavers. They can also help separate or tie spaces together. There are three types of landscape lines: bedline, garden line and hardscape line. Bedline lines are created when the edge of a garden or planting bed meets another surface material like turf, groundcover, mulch or gravel. Garden lines are created when a plant or structure reaches out beyond a landscape feature like a pathway, driveway or fence. Hardscape lines are created by the edges of built structures such as buildings, walls and patios.

Straight lines give a sense of function and stability; they are linear, direct and can be seen from afar. They often appear in formal gardens and symmetrical landscape features. They can be accentuated with repetition of plantings along their length or by repeating patterns in the landscape materials themselves.

Curved lines add an informal, natural and relaxed character to a landscape design. They can be smooth and flowing or more rugged and organic. Garden paths and plant bedlines that follow a curved line are often used to create these types of lines.

Upward lines accentuate a vertical element such as tall trees or structural features such as arbors and make a landscape feel larger. They can also be calming and restful when viewed from a lower vantage point.

Horizontal lines pull the eye across the landscape plane and can make a space feel larger. They can be calming and restful or they can be used to divide or tie spaces together. Low lines can be used to define a garden, a pathway or a seating area and are often created with low garden walls, walkways or hedges.

In the commercial landscape, sight lines can be used to guide visitors through a property or around a large site. Specimen plants, unique trees, water features or seating areas can all be used to create dramatic sight lines. Limiting long views and incorporating multiple focal points throughout the property will help create a more calming and enjoyable experience for customers.


When it comes to landscaping, most people think of color first, but texture is an equally important part of the design process. Texture is not only the physical feel of a plant, it also impacts the way plants interact with light and shadow in the landscape. Using both coarse, medium and fine textures in the landscape can create a range of visual effects that help to make a garden or yard feel more interesting and unique.

Coarse texture is created by large leaves with bold outlines or deep veins, thick branches and twigs and rough bark. These types of textures create a dramatic impact in the landscape. Medium texture is often a result of the overall shape of the plant. It can be created by the combination of different shapes or sizes of foliage, but may also include varying textures and colors of plants in the same planting bed.

Fine-textured plants have smaller leaves and flowers, such as the fronds of grasses and perennials or the delicate petals of roses. The use of these plants can unify a landscape and add a touch of elegance to the garden. They can also be used to soften the hardscapes of a landscaping project by creating a backdrop for shrubs and flowering plants.

The subtle use of texture can also influence the perception of distance and scale in a landscape. By placing coarse-textured plants closest to the viewer, with medium textures in the middle and fine-textured varieties in the back, the garden can feel larger and more expansive. The opposite arrangement, where the coarsest textures are in the front and the finest ones are at the rear, tends to make a garden feel closed in and small.

While the most common ways to add texture to a landscape are through plantings, it is possible to incorporate texture into the landscape without adding actual plants. For example, if a homeowner has a smooth hardscape like stone or concrete patios and walkways, bringing in some pops of texture through the use of woven baskets, wicker furniture and heavy linen fabrics can provide contrast and balance to the space. The use of textured mulch or decorative stonework can also serve to complement the landscape while adding additional texture.


Balance is an important element of landscape design that creates harmony and equilibrium in your outdoor space. It can be achieved through symmetrical or asymmetrical balance, and it involves the careful distribution of visual weight to make your landscape seem effortless. Symmetrical balance is the easiest form of balance to understand, and it involves creating a mirror image on either side of an axis. This type of balance works well with formal designs and helps evoke a sense of elegance and serenity in your garden or yard.

Asymmetrical balance is a little more complex, and it can be achieved through the use of curves and meandering pathways. This type of balance also works well with informal and rustic landscapes, as it can add a natural feel to your outdoor spaces. Asymmetrical balance can be achieved by using contrasting plant colors, textures, leaf structures, and sizes to draw the eye’s attention. It can also be accomplished through the strategic use of negative space and balancing asymmetry with proportion.

In both symmetrical and asymmetrical landscapes, it is important to consider the size of your plants and other features when designing your landscape. Proportion is a key component of balance, and it refers to the relationship between the size of your plants and the overall size of your landscape. When designing your landscape, it is important to keep in mind the scale of your space and the size of each plant when choosing the right size and type of tree, shrub, or flower.

Another important aspect of balance is achieving consistency and unity in your landscape design. A lack of balance can often be caused by overcrowding your garden with different plants, colors, and styles. Creating a uniform look in your landscape can help tie the design together and create a cohesive, intentional, and beautiful overall look. A great way to achieve this is through repetition. By repeating similar elements throughout the landscape, such as a matching group of plants or color or a hardscape feature, you can unify the design and create a sense of balance.