An awesome landscape design does not come easily. There are many things that must be considered and many principles that must be followed. It's not enough to just combine the plants and elements that you think will look good together.

Professionals see a blank landscape as a potential work of art, therefore there are some guides that must be followed before you can call it a masterpiece. The basic principles that must be followed in a landscape design are balance, color, unity, textures, and scale and proportion. Here is a more in-depth explanation for each design principle.


Balance can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical.

You want your landscape design to have a sense of order and not just have things haphazardly placed beside each other. This can be achieved by following the principle of balance. There are two ways to go about this, symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is a classic concept which is more formal. It simply means that both sides of the landscape are identical or mirroring each other. While they look very orderly, it should be noted that this type of design is also more high-maintenance.

Asymmetrical balance, meanwhile, is more informal because one side of the landscape is not the same as the other. To make the landscape more interesting, this type of design can have a central focus or use positioning to create a visually pleasing space.


There are many color combinations that can be used to create a beautiful landscape design.

Using colors in landscaping is what gives your design vibrancy. It's what many people notice at first because it is what pops out in any landscape. Many property owners focus on the colors they want to see when planning their landscape projects.

To help come up with a combination that is pleasing to the eye, it is good to use the color wheel. The color wheel is usually divided into four categories: primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, and neutral colors. Based on these, here are several schemes you may want to try.

  • Analogous - uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, red, orange, and yellow.
  • Monochromatic - uses only one color for the landscape. While this type of scheme may seem one-dimensional, using different tints and hues, plus incorporating textures can still make it interesting.
  • Primary - uses the three primary colors blue, red, and yellow.
  • Complementary - use colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, green and red or yellow and purple.

Unity brings every element of your landscape together.

When our team creates a landscape design we make sure that all shapes, colors, textures, and hardscape elements work well together to create a unified space. We create unity by repetition, consistency, or creating a theme within your landscape design. Using repetition creates unity by grouping like plants, shrubs, flowers and other elements throughout the design. Consistency ensures that all the different elements within that landscape design fits together as a whole.

Repeating identical elements in your landscape can also help to achieve unity.


Textures will give more depth to your landscape design.

A landscape bed of various plants and shrubs at a home in Washington, PA.

Adding different types of textures to a landscape is a good way to break the monotony of a design. There are many options for texture. Plants can be coarse such as in the case of holly or hydrangeas. They can have a medium texture, a good example would be viburnum. While a fine texture is for those with delicate foliage like grass or ferns.


Scale and proportion ensure that all elements in the landscape are proportionate with the surrounding structures

Scale and proportion have to do with the relative size of the elements in the landscape compared with the other elements or to the surrounding property. You want to make sure that all the elements you put in the landscape are just right.

For example, a big pergola may look beautiful on a big wide lawn, but when placed in a small garden, it would swallow up the whole space.


Call (724) 350-1351 to start planning an awesome landscape design for your property.

Here at Dolan's Outdoor Services, we understand the principles of design very well, We have been in this business since 2006, and over the years we have been consistent in delivering great service to all of our clients. We offer landscape design and installation services to residential and commercial properties in Washington, Waynesburg, McMurray, and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania.

We know what it's going to take to bring your landscape to another level. Aside from adding trees, flowers, and shrubs, we can also help cover your property with some decorative rock and mulch. Call (724) 350-1351 today to talk to one of our professionals and get an estimate for your landscaping project.