Design Your First Landscaping Project

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Landscaping can be intimidating. It can be a case of "How will I ever fill so much space?" or "I don't have enough space!" By keeping some basic ideas in mind, you can create a beautiful area, no matter its size or shape.

Preparing for Your First Landscaping Project

There are several basic principles that should guide your landscape project. First, plan. It sounds obvious, but you need to really think about how you will use the space, what you want from it, and what you have to work with. Observe where the sun and shade are at various times of day and think about seasonal changes. A deck on the west side of the house can be brutally hot in the summer and useless as an outdoor living space without shade. If an edible garden is desired, think about the environment your desired food plants will need, and where your yard will provide it.

Keep these basics in mind when selecting plants, containers, and ornamentation.

  • Color- It is important to keep an integrated color scheme throughout the yard. Color doesn't just apply to leaves and flowers -- colorful foliage and blooms are great, but many shrubs and trees have beautiful bark that can add interest in the winter when leaves and flowers have long since gone.
  • Line- Linear patterns suggest movement and can draw attention to special features of your garden. Curves, angles, and straight lines create different reactions and feelings. What mood can you promote with a wide, ruler-straight walkway flanked by manicured hedges? How about a winding path amidst a tumble of wildflowers?
  • Proportion- Do the various sizes of plants in your yard complement each other and the space, or is your tiny water feature lost in a forest of giant bamboo? Different sizes add interest and texture to the landscape, but make sure they don't hide behind or obscure neighboring plants. Use small-to-large plants to create depth and an illusion of a larger space.
  • Balance- Does the yard look like it flows easily, with eye-catching features throughout, or is everything along one fence, leaving the rest of the space barren and boring? Balanced does not necessarily mean symmetrical, but each section should be equally interesting. Does your yard contain elements with a common theme, or is it a disorganized hodge-podge of plants and decor? Repetition of some elements creates harmony and cohesion. Each aspect of the design should complement the entire landscape.
  • Transitions- Keep the transitions from one area to the next natural and gradual. Don't, for example, drop your kitchen garden into the middle of a symmetrical, formal space with clipped lawn, fountains and rose beds. Abrupt changes are jarring and upset the flow of your landscape.

Keep these basic rules in mind. Make a plan. Stick to it, even if you have to complete it in stages, so that each piece integrates properly into the whole. Garden centers are full of plant experts who can help you choose the best plants to achieve the look you want.

Need More Help?

If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!

Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a pro today!

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