November 4, 2021

What are the 10 Principles of Landscape Design?

Landscape design Huntington Station New York

Table of Contents

Designed landscapes provide an enjoyable place for the people using them! Ten principles of landscape design ensure that this happens.

These apply to all types of landscapes like a commercial, institutional, public, residential, or size. Some may use them only as a foundation for further study in this area of design. They can also stand alone as an effective guide for everyday applications.


Achieve the harmony of a landscape through its unity. Landscapes must consist of single elements that create the appearance. Give focus to any given photograph or painting. This makes it more pleasing and attractive than having many different pieces in one area!

There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Arrange all plants so they match each other well or show balance.
  • Use shapes such as circles around trees surrounding homes, yards, and so on.
  • Align bushes with fences when possible.

Unity focuses on what shapes and sizes to place in the landscape so everything fits together perfectly!  

Avoid plants with different shapes because they do not bring unity or harmony to your landscape unless you make a repetitive pattern. A circle, square, and diamond are all excellent choices for this reason! Repetition is an easy way to achieve an original outcome in the same place.

Line Connects and Defines the Space

Use a line to separate a section of the landscape from another. It will become difficult to define where one area begins and the other ends without a line. Use them as boundaries between planting beds, sidewalks or driveways paths, different areas, and so on.

Lines can come in many shapes and sizes such as straight, winding, and curved. In addition, they can also become invisible! Show creativity whenever it comes to this aspect of the 10 principles of landscape design!

Landscape designers use lines to create patterns, develop spaces, and form in nature. There are several types of lines that you can see when two different materials meet on the ground plane. Brick patio edges against green turf or an outline for trees against blue skies are examples. But there is also contrast using fences which establish dominance over other objects within one’s composition.


Know about five forms that you can include in your landscape design. Here they are:

Horizontal and Spreading

Groundcover or bedding plants is a great way to cover large areas quickly! However, it is important not only the form that these types have but also their texture and color as well. Ground covers come in many shapes and sizes with some having more complexity than others. They all serve similar purposes, though.

There is no need to worry about which you choose. For example, clumping forms give off an appearance like one plant. Matting looks like hundreds upon thousands on small ground spaces. Spreading landscapes will grow height faster! Give a lot of room in making them perfect for less compacted soil conditions! Shorter spikes do require less area at first glance.


Bushy plants have a way of giving life to the landscape! It brings interest because it takes a different form. Vertical growth occurs in all vegetation but some bushes around homes or yards stand out from others!

Including them makes it easier to make a dull area look interesting with this type of form for 10 principles of landscape design. The same goes when you include rounded trees in the landscape.

Round plants are excellent for filling up space when nothing else will do well there! They become nice additions to any yard, garden, or landscaping materials. Rounding works so well in creating an area that appears filled in. When a landscape has an open area, round groundcover or other plants can fill it up.

Vase Shaped

Grass and flowers are a few to include in 10 principles of landscape design because they have a vase shape. You can see various scales. Some grow tall while others stay lower to the ground. In addition, there are others with an arching appearance as well as those without it at all.


Weeping plants have a way of giving off the appearance that it is raining! They are best in 10 principles of landscape design during spring or shortly after winter has ended because they look so natural. However, it is important to consider that this type needs plenty of attention and care for them to live long.

They are a great addition to the 10 principles of landscape design because they come in various forms! Some flower while others only grow leaves without blooms. It all depends upon the type you choose for your garden or yard.


Pinnate leaf types are perfect for 10 principles in landscape design! They typically have symmetry although it may not be clear at first glance. You can see this symmetry when you compare leaves side by side. Some use the pinnate type to create lines that run across landscapes.

You can also see this form in the 10 principles of landscape design when you include maple trees. Yet, many other types like pine and fir trees are inclusive. This type is easy to spot because it gives off an appearance that looks like a very tall triangle!


Triffid is what you need when trying to create an area with 10 principles in landscape design. It can fit easily into any setting because they come in small pieces. They appear as thick stems that grow tall with bright green leaves spread out at the top.

This type is a form of texture. When you add one, it can give the appearance of two or three sago palms. They need very little care compared to other types because they are tough and not sensitive at all. You can include several appearances that fit into any home or outdoor setting.


To add 10 principles in landscape design to your setting, choose a color scheme. Often when you try to pick out, it can get hard to decide which one is the best! It all depends upon the kind of home or building that stands in front of you.

There are several choices including vibrant colors like hot pink, lavender, and orange. But there are also pale colors like cream, light blue, or even gray that you can include in creating landscape design in front of your home or property.

In landscape design, color is crucial to make a garden that has dimension and interest. Add with plant material or hardscapes such as paving stones from the pavement up above for flooring. Different colors bring harmony together whereas varied shades can lead your eye in interesting new directions!


Familiarize yourself with the four types of scales that landscape design has. Below is a guide:

Absolute Scale

This is one of the 10 principles of landscape design scales that you see in a very large home like a mansion or a castle. Typically it looks like it has been there for decades and likely will remain that way for years to come. People who live here tend to follow suit by using large pieces of furniture that match the style. This is the most common type that you will see simply because it is easy to spot.

The absolute scale relates to landscape values and fixed structure. The size of two houses can look different depending on the involved elements. Small trees can make it seem larger or large ones letting things feel smaller.

Relative Scale

Relative scale deals with the elements around it. This scale does a comparison to both big and small things in various areas. It is not clear at first glance. People who live around you give a sense that their sizes are smaller when they exist next to structures or landscapes designed this way.

You can add 10 principles in landscaping by using a relative scale. Make your home appear larger when it is smaller than other homes around your neighborhood. In landscaping design, this is the second most common type that you will see.

High Scale

The 10 principles of landscape design can use a high scale. This is where the most important things appear larger and more noticeable by putting them in front. For example, you might put your home at the front with certain decorations or landscaping to make it stand out when seen from far away!

This can help to make landscaping. You can see it by looking at a small road or property that only has one house on it. The 10 principles of landscape design will use half as much space as the absolute scale for this type. But still, give out an effect of strength and durability.

Low Scale

The 10 principles of landscape design can also use a low scale. This is where things appear smaller and more hidden, but still beautiful in their way. Sometimes, you will see small plants to make them not stand out as strong or tall compared to the rest of the area around them.

This is another type that is common within 10 principles of landscape design. It typically uses 10% as much space for this type. But it can still give out an effect that balances the area well.


Learn more about two types of balance in landscape design. Follow the guide below:


For 10 principles of landscape design, the formal balance feels symmetrical. It uses 10% as much space as low scale or 10% as much space as high scale. Symmetry creates this type. Interested people may decide to use elements that are left-to-right and top-to-bottom balanced across what they see.

Symmetrical balance is the most formal type of garden design. It requires no interpretation or judgment. See what is happening on the surface without hiding anything away in an effort for complexity. Historical gardens often rely heavily upon this particular formality with their designs.


This type of 10 principles in landscape design deals with asymmetrical balance. It feels natural and not forced. The use of odd numbers makes things look different from other spaces.

You may see imbalance but it is normal and random without actually being wrong. One tree on the side versus two trees in front is an example to make it informal. This type is also a common one.

Landscape designers also call it asymmetrical balance and active balancing. You have more work on your end than others might need. The viewer needs some time before comprehending that there are equal sides between them.

Variety and Simplicity

Variety and simplicity go together in 10 principles of landscape design. Variety is an interesting thing to create. You can add it in through 10% as much space as high scale or 10% as much space as low scale types. This gives you a chance to have 10 elements within a 10,000-square foot garden.

Simplicity will need to use only 10% of what you have to make this happen. Variety is a good choice when you have too many things all around. This makes it difficult for people to see everything at once.


The emphasis comes from 10% as much space as high scale. This is a good way to make 10 elements within a 10,000-square foot garden stand out with 10% of your attention! You will see the most important things happening in this type of landscape design. This principle will help determine what you want people to focus on.


This involves color in landscape design.

Color Sequence

Color theory is the heart of design. The standard circular illustration shows how all colors relate to one another. Know about four categories:

  • Primary colors – reds, yellows, and blues
  • Secondary colors – greens
  • Tertiary colors are either blended between two primary hues or shades created from mixing other pigments with white ink
  • Neutrals – black which holds its value regardless of whether light strikes it directly from an angle

Every landscaping design project should follow these principles to stand out from the others! It is not necessary for every aspect of your design. But when you want cohesive and well-executed results, following at least some will make sense in terms of what resonates with them most! Let your landscape design catch attention!


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