Landscape design style encompasses various possibilities, genres, or themes that shape your yard or property’s experience. As we increasingly spend our time indoors, it becomes essential—and indeed, fun and fabulous—to create an outdoor space that inspires time spent outside. Therefore, considering how you want your outdoor area to feel and look is crucial. By doing so, you can enhance your connection with nature and enrich your living environment.


Plant Hardiness Zones: The higher the number, the warmer the climate; hence our Ontario houseplants grow all year round outdoors in lower North America and South America.

  • Ontario extends farther south than any other province providing a plant hardiness zone range from 0a – 7b
  • In southwestern Ontario, we are formally known as Zone 5b for planting. 
  • Contact any of our knowledgeable staff at Nature’s Image Landscaping. We take care of your landscape design and installation based on a thorough consultation to get to know your likes, dislikes, budget, and scale of maintenance of your own landscape that you prefer to take on. 
  • Dont worry; we are a full-service landscape company. Much of our business is managing our clients’ properties, gardens, ponds, lawns, and (winter-time snow removal)
  • Contact us at (519) 6557 8817 with your questions or reach us online.

What kinds of landscape design styles can you take inspiration from?


  • Natural / Rustic Garden
  • English Cottage Garden  
  • Native Species Garden
  • Formal Garden
  • Contemporary/Modern Garden
  • Prairie / Meadow Garden
  • Woodland Garden
  • Oriental Garden
  • Meditation Garden
  • Courtyard Garden
  • Butterfly Garden

Can you use two (or three) landscape design styles together?

Often the existing topography, flora species, property size, or two people’s competing preferences can instigate a need, opportunity, or want for two or, in some cases, more design styles together in your landscape.

  • A Woodland Garden at the back of a yard can be incorporated into any style. Even contemporary aspects can be woven into a woodland garden.
  • A Native Species Garden quickly becomes a reality if you have a property with walnut trees, whose juglone elements that are present in their leaves and root system make it impossible for non-native species to grow healthily.
  • A small Oriental Garden, a Butterfly Garden, a Meditation Garden, or a Meadow Garden is achievable on a large property. 


How to know which landscape design style you would like? Read the characteristics of each:



Natural / Rustic Garden

natural-gardenIf your primary desire is to feel immersed in nature, this landscape style should include the following:

  • A water feature like a pond, stream or minor bubbling water feature.
  • Natural woods like cedar for logs and shakes are built as pergolas, arbours, and pavilions (for example, near a pool).
  • Stone patios, groupings of loose stones among plantings, stone walkways, or even stone walls complete the natural style look.
  • Native (those that have historically existed in your planting hardiness zone) plants, trees, and shrubs will be part of this style. 
  • Native species are hardier, typically require less water, are better for the environment and will feed and attract a more diverse population of animals and insects, harmonizing with the cycle of life.  
  • Sculpture would include natural materials such as metal or wood.



English Garden 

cottage-gardenRomance and flowers are the epitome of an English Garden style. 

  • Neat boxwood (usually) hedges that frame a bed of perennials or denote pathways. 
  • Roses, lavender, delphiniums, climbing clematis, and foxglove are typical of this style.
  • A water feature would be a traditional-looking concrete pedestal birdbath. Moving water is always best for birds (don’t forget to run electricity and a small pump or even a water line to your birdbath)
  • An almost haphazard feel to the garden (whose blooms are well-choreographed and layered to show off their physical attributes)
  • Romantic twisting pathways are characteristic of an English Cottage Garden.
  • Sculpture would include natural materials such as metal or wood or outdoor antiques.





Native Species Garden

Native-species-gardenIf you love to support biodiversity and bring birds, animals, insects, and butterflies to your garden, this style is the one for you.

  • A Native Species Garden enhances our ecosystem by conserving water and feeding the soil through natural gardening practices while improving air quality.
  • If you have a walnut tree, you must use native plants under and within a 10-foot diameter outside its widest leaf dripline.
  • Natural flagstone paths and a series of small spilling ponds provide a beautiful sound amongst your native Species Garden.
  • Sculpture would include natural materials such as metal or wood.



Formal Garden

Formal-GardenA Formal Garden might echo your interior design style. Symmetry, straight lines, and clear denotation of plantings are typical of this style.

  • Imagine a repeating line of the same shrub or a well-clipped beech tree hedge outlining the property.
  • Plantings are usually in rows or squares, spaced equidistant from each other.
  • Shrubs and trees would also be clipped to specific shapes (requiring maintenance.)
  • A topiary is perfect in a Formal Garden.
  • This style includes squared water features, squared paving stone pathways, and rectangular pavilions.
  • Stone fountains as water features are perfect for this style.
  • A formal garden is well suited to exist within a Courtyard Garden or set a tone for a Contemporary Garden.
  • Formal Gardens were/are popular in French and Moroccan gardens.
  • Sculpture would include stone or metal sculptures.



Contemporary/Modern Garden

contemporary-gardenA Contemporary Garden highlights the garden’s architecture, bringing together contemporary art pieces and hard materials to interact with the plantings.

  • A refined, artistic, and forward-thinking feel represents this style.
  • Plantings might include hard-to-find species.
  • Plantings and hardscaping are unique, often repetitive in colour and form.
  • Sculpture would include intense colours (that might match or compliment the colour of grasses or plantings)





Prairie / Meadow Garden

meadow-gardenA Prairie or Meadow Garden might reflect a desire to recreate a native habitat or be part of a contemporary garden paying homage to the architecture of a Prairie Garden.

  • It always includes a robust design of native tall and mid-size plants and grasses.
  • High heat and little water is precisely what a true Prairie Garden wants (once it is established)
  • The seedheads are a magnet for many bird species.
  • Large artistic sculpture suits a Meadow/Prairie Garden.
  • A natural pond or low bubbling water feature adds to its natural look and feel.



Woodland Garden

Woodland-Garden-StyleA Woodland Garden mimics a true (Zone 5b) Ontario woodland. 

  • Add a deep layer of leaves every year under which the Mourning Cloak butterfly and many other insects can overwinter. 
  • Woodland soil should never be exposed to direct sun.
  • A woodland provides refuge for birds, insects, and small mammals. 
  • It allows a connection between wild space and your yard for the movement of animals between their habitats.
  • Stumps as seating fits the theme of woodland.
  • A small low bubbling water feature will be appreciated by all species.
  • A woodland garden improves the air and adds to the biodiversity of your area. 
  • Sculpture would include moss-covered stone sculpture, wood, or steel. 


Oriental Garden 

Oriental-gardenAn Oriental Garden has historically strong influences from Japan, Korea, and China and represents a recognizable collection of plants and pieces.

  • Korean and Japanese-style gardens exude minimalism.
  • Chinese style Gardens might have more flare and boldness.
  • White (or brown) pebble paths with large stones
  • bamboo fencing, a pagoda-shaped pergola and curves suggest this style.
  • A water feature would be a placid pond with an eye for strong curves. (A curved bridge or curved gate would add to the look)
  • Sculpture would include wood or stone with a nod to oriental style symbolism.


Meditation Garden

Meditation-Garden-StyleA serene and natural location to allow a freeing of your mind

  • Soft sounds of water can be achieved with a small water feature.
  • Create an experience of subtle visuals not meant to distract or draw attention.
  • Use textured foliage with a hodgepodge of plants so your mind isn’t drawn to lines or symmetry.
  • Use comfortable seating.
  • Either delineate your area within walls with a gate or allow the freedom of wind and air movement and keep it very open.
  • Consider the time of day; do you want morning light or early evening shadows?
  • Include soft lights for evening meditation.
  • Sculpture should be subdued or low to the ground.







Courtyard Garden

courtyard-gardenA courtyard garden is perfect for a laneway between houses, a narrow backyard, or a small front yard.

  • A courtyard garden was/is widespread in Britain and many European cities where space is not abundant. 
  • However, Courtyard Gardens are calming and beautiful in their structure and feel of simplicity. 
  • A small water feature adds to their elegance.
  • Sculpture would include almost anything that suits the size of your courtyard.








Butterfly Garden

Butterfly-gardenThrough the use of native plants, you can create a haven for insects, butterflies, and birds.

  • Do not plant a butterfly garden in your front yard if you front a busy street. Butterflies fly slowly and erratically, often flying long distances; traffic will not be their friend.
  • Your backyard Butterfly Garden should include a mud area, either natural or man-made. Butterflies take the nutrients from the soil’s mineral components.
See all of Ontario’s beautiful butterfly species.


Call Nature’s Image Landscape to help you design your favourite garden.


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Published by
December 19, 2023 8:52 pm