10 Principles of Landscape Design & Architecture

Landscape Design & Architecture

For one to be a successful landscape designer or architect, there are various principles that should be followed in order to ensure beauty, cohesiveness, and unity of any project. When proper consideration is given to these principles, then the designs works, feels, and flows perfectly.

A good landscape designer should ensure that they understand these principles properly such that they can apply them flawlessly. When they are appropriately applied, these principles ensure that a sustainable landscape design is achieved. However, these design principles are not rules that should always be followed in their entirety. It is important to have individuality and creativity in projects that one undertakes.

Highlighted below are the ten principles that will make your landscaping and garden design work perfectly. Enjoy!

1. Unity

When performing landscape architecture, landscape design, and garden design it is very important that unity is applied. This means that there is consistency in how things are done. You are able to achieve unity by being consistent on various elements such as texture, height, color schemes, and size of planting.

There are a host of ways in which you can achieve this unity. You can be consistent on the appearance of boulders and rocks that you use, whereby they should be of similar colors and sizes. You could be consistent on a particular theme, say coastal or even oriental.

2. Simplicity

If you want to create a sense of cohesiveness and flow, then you need to embrace simplicity. By adopting this principle, you may opt to go for only 3-4 colors of plants and then repeat them throughout your landscape.

You could also keep every other feature in your garden to a minimum. You keep your hardscapes or water features to a minimum, which will mean that you can then notice the plants themselves.

3. Balance

You can achieve symmetrical as well as asymmetrical balance in your landscape design. You will be able to achieve symmetrical balance when you space the garden design elements equally. You should equally space them up and down, left and right, as well as front and back.

With asymmetrical balance, its all about your personal taste. Here elements do not need to be equally spaced or similar. You could have trees of different sizes, but they could be having foliage that is similar. Basically, with asymmetrical balance, you apply a subjective approach to balance.

4. Contrast

You can also effectively create contrast in your landscaping architecture. This can be achieved in a host of ways for optimal efficiency. A good example would be the combination of straight tree lines with curved beds. This combination would definitely look incredible.

You can also achieve contrast through the types of plants you cultivate. You could have a mixture of spiked leaves versus round leaves, coarse foliage versus fine foliage, and you could as well contrast the heights and colors of plants.

5. Color

This is a very powerful principle that can certainly add interest to your landscape design. When color is applied appropriately, it changes the way your garden feels instantly. Color will draw attention to a certain area, and it could also draw attention away from certain areas.

Most importantly to note, bright colors tend to draw us in, whereas natural-based colors will create a feeling of more space.

6. Transition

This can be explained as the natural change in your garden design, and one can best demonstrate it using plant color or height. You could also have multileveled or stepped gardens, sculptural features like glass or ornamental stone.

You are able to create incredible optical illusions when you use transition in your garden design. A sense of distance and depth can be created when you have a transition from shorter plants to taller ones. You will successfully make your garden look much larger than it actually is.

7. Line

It is amazing how line as a principle can dictate the usage and even feel of a garden. You can use line in paving, paths, walkways, and flower beds. You can have curvy lines or straight lines. Whereby curved lines create a flowing and natural effect, and straight lines create a direct feel. You will feel like walking fast on a straight line, whereas you will feel like taking your time and enjoying the space when you walk on curvy lines.

8. Proportion

A landscaping project is successful if one is able to achieve the right relationship within and between the height, breadth, and length of landscaping elements. It is worth noting that you may not place a very huge statue in a small garden as this may be disproportionate, nor can you put a very small statue in a very large garden.

However, it is not cast in stone that these kinds of proportions are correct for all landscapes. This means that proportion is actually relative and one can use their creativity and imagination to come up with the right combinations.

9. Repetition

You need to understand that when your garden has many unrelated objects, it will actually look unplanned and cluttered. Nobody wants to have a cluttered garden and hence the reason repetition is an amazing principle.

This means that you can repeat the overall tone and color of your landscape. However, you should know that there is a subtle difference between boring design and great use of repetition. It is, therefore, very important that precaution is taken before one embarks on a project.

10. Character

Even though it is very hard to define character, it is the very principle that will make sure that a particular landscape designer stands out from the rest. The character of a landscaping project could be that of the designer, owners, or that of the surrounding property.


Following the above-mentioned principles will make every landscaping project to stand out from the others. It is not necessary to follow each and every principle mentioned above, but one can follow the ones that really resonate with the results they are expecting.

When one follows the landscape designers principles, they are assured of incredible results.

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