Understanding Landscape Design Basics


10 simple landscape design tricks to boost curb appeal and make your yard beautiful

Landscaping requires ongoing effort to keep your plants and flowers looking great season after season. Your hard work will be well-rewarded if you follow these 10 landscaping tips that you can start implementing your own yard today.


• Break up sections of your landscape with different colors or textures using ornamental grasses, perennials and plants that grow to different heights.
• Avoid planting flowers and plants close together as your layout may become overgrown and crowded in a year. Space plants 1 to 3 feet apart, and trim as they grow.
• Use color to create focal points in areas that you would like to highlight, such as a sitting area, gazebo or front entry.
• Use flowers or other types of plants that grow higher closer to your home, and plants that grow to lower heights in front of them so they are visible. However, avoid planting large-growing plants in front of windows to avoid a potential uprooting project in the future.
• Use evergreen shrubs as a foundation plant rather than deciduous shrubs.
• Use landscaping accessories to break up your yard, such as boulders, birdbaths or benches.


If you’re a beginner, keep it simple
If you’re  beginner, keep simple - Landscape Design Basics

• Use informal hedges and flowers that require less pruning.
• Opt for more grass and fewer flowerbeds, or create a rock garden.
• Ask an associate at your local store for ground cover varieties that can provide greenery that rarely needs mowing.

Think of your landscaping in terms of the big picture
Think landscaping  big picture - Landscape Design Basics

• Don’t randomly place flowers and plants on a whim.
• Avoid scattered placements so that you don’t end up with a mismatched or cluttered look.

Outline your layout
Outline your layout - Landscape Design Basics

Use chalk spray, hoses or twine to lay out your landscape patterns before breaking ground.

Don’t cut your grass too short
Don’t cut your grass short - Landscape Design Basics

• Keep your lawn 2 to 3 inches tall, which is typically the highest setting on most push mowers.
• Removing more than one-third of the grass blades leads to shorter root systems and moisture depletion.
• Weeds germinate more when grass is not tall enough to shade them out.
• Combat any brown, patchy spots by reseeding and adding fertilizer. Learn more in our Overseeding Project Guide.

Don’t ignore weeds
Don’t ignore weeds - Landscape Design Basics

• If you see a dandelion or crab grass, break out the weed killer spray to attack the roots so new weeds won’t sprout up.
• Barren patches in your lawn are perfect spots for weeds to grow, so use a fertilizer on them with built-in weed control.

Don’t put the wrong plant in the wrong place
Don’t put wrong plant in wrong place - Landscape Design Basics

• Make sure you choose plants that are suited to your area’s climate.
• Check the plant tags for advice on hardiness, height, spacing, feeding, watering and light preferences.
• Picture the plant five years into the future. How tall is it? How wide is it? Does it fill the allotted space? If not, pick another plant.

Don’t overshadow smaller plants
Don’t overshadow smaller plants - Landscape Design Basics

• Do not overshadow smaller plants.
• When choosing areas for plants, think tall to small. Start with taller plants, and gradually fill out your landscaping area with smaller plants. Don’t place sun-loving plants in the path of taller neighbors.
• Remember that fast-growing plants may block the sun with their large size, so place shade-loving plants facing north.

Be careful planting near utilities
Be careful planting near utilities - Landscape Design Basics

Roots can penetrate tiny gaps in underground pipes and cause major damage. Know exactly where your electric, phone, cable and gas lines are before planting. Call your local utility companies before you dig to ensure safety.

Don’t plant too close to your home’s foundation
Don’t plant close your home’s foundation - Landscape Design Basics

• What looks like a tiny sapling may sprout roots that can grow up to three times the height of a tree. A tree planted near your home can cause cracks in your foundation, leading to costly repairs.
• Plant medium or large trees 30 to 50 feet away from the house, and small trees 15 feet away.

Don’t settle for what is already growing
Don’t settle what already growing - Landscape Design Basics

• If you have an overgrown or outdated landscape, there is nothing wrong with removing shrubs, hedges, plants or flowers, especially if they are too big for a particular area.
• A great way to uproot unwanted greenery is with Stump-Out, which works in four to six weeks. At that time, finish the job with a shovel and a hoe to cut roots below the surface.•