Consider 7 necessary elements of landscape design: 1. Composition, 2. Harmony, 3. Movement, 4. Highlight, 5. Colour, 6. Pattern, and 7. Contrast. They are equally valuable for all design projects, creating an exciting and intriguing visual story for you and others to enjoy. 

These are design building blocks, whether for a garden, artwork, interior design, music, sculpture or even how you style your wardrobe. 

Why should a landscape designer (or you) follow these 7 principles of design?

The 7 elements of beautiful landscape design are the overarching structures of great design. Staying within these compositional guidelines makes adding components at any time within your project easy, knowing all the essentials are in place. 

Nature’s Image Landscape trains our designers to help you achieve a landscape/garden layout that will stand the test of time. You can add to your landscape look in the coming years, and keep a cohesive and attractive design. Get started now with an award-winning landscaping company.


1. Composition is the top design component, arguably the umbrella of all other elements.

  • Composition is in place so that our brains can easily make sense of the design.
  • Even chaos is a composition. It is a chosen way to represent something.
  • When composing a landscape design, consider the proportion of the setting and, therefore, the proportion of the elements you will add.
  • Organization of the elements can be anything you like, as long as it makes sense.
  • The composition will include architectural bones, pathways, pergolas, water features, sculptures, and plantings. How will they interact? That is composition.

    2. Harmony is one of the main elements of garden design.

      • Harmony is a consistency that denotes the feeling of correctness looking at or being in a garden design. 
      • Like its association with musicality, harmony in a landscape feels enhancing, an undulating affair.  
      • It brings a richness of experience to your garden. 
      • Flow is essential, even punctuation is an encounter that feels expected.
      • Harmony feels planned, not a hodgepodge of elements tossed together.

      3. Movement should always be present in landscape design.

      • Directing the eye within a garden allows comfort and feelings of pleasantness. 
      • We love to be guided by pathways that bring us to an unexpected spot of happy design.
      • The composition of the plantings can also suggest movement.
      • A section of lightweight grasses can produce undulating movement. 

      4. Highlights in garden design provides delight and contemplation.

      • Emphasis on a particular component is the mainstay of our storytelling history. We love punctuation marks!
      • Choose garden punctuation in the form of a hard-to-find plant species, a sculpture or a water feature as a highlight to intoxicate a moment of your garden experience.
      • Don’t overdo it. It is tiring when our brains have too many varied staccatos to take in.
      • It can, however, become a patterned highlight depending on your landscape design style. (Read our article, What is Landscape Design Style?)

      5. Colour is an essential element of landscape design.

      • Especially important is the timing of blooms and colours within your garden. 
      • A palette (and the mood of your garden) can be altered depending on the tones you put together.
      • Colour can echo your own likes and colour preferences, for example, all white or blues and violets.
      • The expertise for understanding mother nature’s scheduling of blooms is a learned talent that can delight throughout the four seasons.
      • Colour within your garden can create a calming effect, punctuation, stately unity, or fun repetition, bringing us to…

      6. Patterns within a designed space can mean many things.

        • Pattern in landscape design strengthen the overall design, tying it together.
        • A pattern can mean the patterned arrangement of plants. 
        • For example, a row of tall species in the back, with grouped arrangements of two or more species in the front, creates a professional-looking pattern.
        • A pattern can refer to the hardscaping within your landscape, like small sections of wood fences in one area of your garden, placed stones throughout, or a 
        • Patterns can also be achieved by repeating one or two species (for example, annuals) throughout your plantings.

        7. Contrast is achieved by layering one type of thing with something very different.

        • Variation in landscape design is key.
        • Contrast brings attention to the more important elements. (Let other elements become places of visual rest, an essential part of the design)
        • Contrast is visually pleasing.

        To ensure your property remains vibrant for many years, start with the necessary structure on which you can add and build the experience of your garden.

        Nature’s Image Landscape has over 25 years of experience helping people like you achieve a landscape that reflects your dreams while staying within your budget. See more of our work here.

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        Published by
        December 19, 2023 9:11 pm