Landscaping Design Principles

Landscaping Design principles help you create a cohesive and attractive landscape. They are important because they make understanding and using your chosen plant materials, hardscapes, and structures easier. To learn more, check out Landscaping Harrisburg PA.

LandscapingUnity describes the idea of tying different parts of your landscape together in an orderly way. This can be done by repeating colors, forms, or textures without using identical objects.

The design principles of proportion, order, repetition and unity are the building blocks for creating attractive landscapes. Professionals use these principles to plan home gardens and public spaces, but the average homeowner can also benefit from learning them.

The first step in the process of landscape design is to choose a theme. It may be based on your favorite flowers or plants, the season, history or spirituality. Once you have a theme, the rest of the design should revolve around it. Theme-based landscapes often create a feeling of harmony and balance.

Another principle of good landscape design is to consider the size of different elements. The scale of a plant should be balanced against the size of other plants and features, such as houses or driveways. A large tree can make small shrubs or ground cover seem dwarfed. Proper scale can add depth and a sense of proportion to the garden.

Order in a landscape means arranging the elements of the landscape in a way that is easy on the eye. This could include groupings of plants or hardscape features, such as steps or walls, that are similar in color or form. It can also be achieved by using a pattern, such as short-high-short or small-big-small, that repeats throughout the garden without becoming too monotonous.

A landscape designer must be aware of the growing requirements of the plants that are being chosen. This will help the homeowner reduce the use of pesticides and maintenance efforts, as well as ensure that the plants will thrive in the given climate. This is especially important when selecting perennials, which are often invasive in some areas and have special needs that must be met to survive.


Unity is the principle that all the separate elements of a landscape design work together to create a whole. It can be achieved through color, shape, texture and size of plant materials and through the use of a number of other design principles such as repetition, harmony and emphasis. Unity in the landscape design process can also be achieved by adhering to a time-honored garden or landscape theme or style.

When designing a landscape, it is important to remember that the entire area must be functional and beautiful. It should provide privacy, security and aesthetic appeal, while allowing for the enjoyment of nature. The landscape should be able to accommodate various activities, and be easily maintained and accessible. It should be adapted to the owner’s lifestyle and needs, and reflect the local environment.

Keeping the theme of unity in mind, a landscape designer should carefully choose and place plants. The colors of the plants should be coordinated to complement each other. The rates at which the plants grow and their mature size should be taken into consideration. The plantings should be arranged so that the landscape is visually interesting in all seasons.

The unity of a landscape design can be further enhanced through the use of focal points. Focal points can be created by planting large specimens, incorporating water features or building structures into the landscape. Focal points may be emphasized with the use of lighting or by creating a pattern.

Unity 3D uses a project-based approach to development, so every object you bring into the program is stored in one of the folders in the Project View: Assets, Library, ProjectSettings and Temp. You can change any of these folders through the Project window.


Balance is a common element that landscapers use to create an aesthetic and functional backyard. It involves the placement of plants, lighting, and hardscape features to prevent the garden from looking cluttered and disorganized. Balance is achieved by utilizing the principles of proportion, rhythm, and unity.

The concept of balance is often misunderstood by homeowners, who may confuse it with symmetry. While symmetry is the arrangement of identically-sized and shaped features on either side of a central point, balance can also be achieved by using non-identical, but evenly distributed plants. This type of balance is commonly used in formal gardens to create a more controlled and symmetrical design.

In addition to balancing the number of plants and other features in a garden, it is important to consider the visual weight of each feature. This is determined by the size, color, and texture of a plant or other feature. Typically, larger plants and features with dense forms, bright colors or coarse textures appear heavier than those of smaller plants and lighter textures. By varying the size and color of different plants throughout your garden, you can achieve balance by creating equal visual weight.

Unity is the visual linkage between individual features in a landscape design. This can be created by incorporating common motifs or materials, clustering plants to avoid a scattered look, and making use of repetition. For example, a series of identically-sized and -shaped stones for walkways can help create a sense of unity, as can the repetition of lines in a stone patio or driveway. Observing the landscapes of others can also be a great way to identify and develop your personal style.


Rhythm moves the eye throughout the landscape. It can be created by alternating sizes of plants or by using a pattern of repetition. It can also be achieved through contrast of opposites, such as large and small plants or light and dark colors. When done properly, it adds movement and can emphasize certain areas of the landscape.

Having established the line, form and mass of your design, it is important to then use color to create balance and harmony. This is an area where many homeowners fall short. They either give the color too little attention or they overuse it.

Color is used to complement the other elements of design and to evoke emotion. Warm colors (reds, oranges and yellows) can make things appear larger and closer to you, while cool colors (greens and blues) have a calming effect. White is also used to highlight and create separation between colors.

The last element of design that is often overlooked is proportion. This can be found in the size of plants, the relative size of your house to the surrounding landscape and the overall scale of all of the features in the garden. When these are all in proportion, the garden feels balanced and harmonious.

To discover your own personal style, it is often helpful to study the designs of other yards and landscapes that appeal to you. Visit these yards and take notes about the elements of design, particularly line, shape and color. Ask yourself if the design would work in your yard and how you could implement some of the ideas at home.


Lines are the shapes and paths that lead your eye through your landscape design. They can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved. They are used to create patterns, develop spaces, define forms, control movement, establish dominance and create a unifying theme in a landscape.

Color is a temporary effect, so it should be used sparingly to highlight more enduring elements such as form and texture. Light quality is also a factor in the perception of color. Brighter sunlight makes colors appear more saturated and intense while filtered light tends to soften and subdue color intensity.

Rhythm is the repetition of one or more elements in your landscape design at a consistent interval. The repetition of a particular plant, grouping of plants or structure like lamp posts, benches and fences can add a sense of rhythm to your backyard landscape. However, too much repetition can make a design seem monotonous and chaotic. The key is to find a balance between repetition and the addition of new elements to keep your backyard landscape feeling fresh and interesting.

There are a number of different types of landscape styles homeowners can choose from, including English garden, Japanese garden, French garden and native garden. Landscape design styles are a good starting point for creating the landscape of your dreams because they will guide you in making decisions about the size and placement of your planting beds, hardscape features and accessories such as water fountains, birdbaths and walkways.

Lines can be real (actual) or perceived (implied). They can be created where two different materials meet, such as a path or walkway that follows a bed line or the edge of a hardscape feature. They can also be implied by the shape of the plant material or by its habit, such as round, upright, spreading or drooping.