The Elements of Landscaping

When you think of Landscaping, you probably envision a beautifully groomed yard that adds curb appeal to a home and boosts its value when it comes time to sell. Many homeowners work with a pro for a landscape design that meets their aesthetic and functional goals. Contact Y&L Landscaping for professional help.


Landscape themes may be formal, informal, or naturalistic, such as desert, arid, meadow, or woodland plantings. Plant bed lines may be curvilinear or straight.

Plants bring life and color to a landscape, but their value goes far beyond aesthetics. Plants also function to reduce erosion, provide shade, increase property values, improve air quality and even help us harvest edible foods.

Landscaping involves adding ornamental, edible or native plants, changing the terrain of the land by grading, backfilling, mounding and terracing as well as constructing walls, fences, decks, patio covers and other structures. It may also involve the construction of water features, including ponds, streams and rivers, rain gardens and terraced beds.

There are many different kinds of plants and trees that can be used in landscaping, from grasses and ferns to shrubs and perennials to deciduous and evergreen trees. Many of these plants have a unique form or texture that adds interest to the landscape. The size, shape and color of a plant can also make it stand out.

A lush lawn can offer a comfortable place for children to play and pets to run, but it can require much more watering, mowing and fertilizer than a hardy xeriscape with colorful foliage and low-maintenance ground cover. And while lawns and bark-mulched landscapes are often cited as environmentally unfriendly, a mature tree in the right location can offset the need for artificial fertilizers and herbicides, reduce air conditioning costs, slow and filter rainfall, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create a habitat for wildlife.

Trees are the most valuable components of a landscape, increasing property value and providing a host of environmental benefits. They can cut energy costs by 10-50%, reduce home cooling and heating bills, remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it as oxygen, provide a source of food and shelter for wildlife, lower stress levels and add beauty to your yard.


The primary elements in landscape design are mass, line, form, texture and color. While these may seem like abstract terms, they are the tools used to organize space and create the overall design of a landscape. Taking the time to understand how these components affect the entire landscape will help you make informed decisions when designing your own landscape.

The most basic of the elements is line. A line can be a straight or curved, the boundary between two materials or even the silhouette outline of a three-dimensional shape. The types of lines you choose to incorporate into your landscape will determine how it feels. Straight and vertical lines can feel direct and forceful while curved lines provide a more natural and whimsical feeling.

Mass is the weight of a plant or hardscape element. The mass of a tree, for example, will have a significant impact on the size and feel of your property. The goal is to balance mass throughout the landscape, making sure there are no disproportionately large or small elements.

Lines are the guide the eye across the landscape, either as actual boundaries or implied by the way a material is positioned against another. They can be curved or straight, and they can be used to establish sections, direct the eye around a corner or highlight a theme.

Texture refers to the surface of a plant or hardscape element, and it can be coarse, fine, soft or rough. Landscape designers will often use contrasting textures to add depth to the landscape, and they will consider how a texture will look and feel in all four seasons. For instance, using a plant with fine leaves in a space that has coarse or woody bark can create a visual discord.


Lines are one of the most basic elements of design, but can be very powerful in the landscape. They can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved. They can also be real or perceived, such as the way a walkway meanders and creates a flow to a garden door or water feature. Lines are a critical part of how we perceive the world around us and how we interact with it.

In a landscape, lines can help frame and accentuate a view or focal point, control movement, add structure and even create mood. Straight lines create a formal character and are often associated with symmetrical balance. Curved lines evoke a more natural, relaxed character and can be associated with informality. Lines can also be created by combining different types of material or colors in the landscape.

As landscape photographers, it’s important to think about leading lines in our compositions. Leading lines are paths, stairways or other man-made structures that naturally guide the eye through the picture and hold it. They can be straight or curved and may be a line of interest, such as an “S” curve that draws the viewer into the scene.

While we often shy away from human-made structures in landscape photography, they can be a valuable source of leading lines. Roads, boardwalks and paved pathways make practical guides for the eye, as do a well-placed stairway or walkway. Even natural patterns can be strong guiding lines, such as layers in a rock or the marks left by water draining from a waterfall.


Landscapers use form to create attractive three-dimensional qualities in outdoor spaces. This includes the shape of trees, flowerbeds and hardscaped structures such as outdoor fireplaces or retaining walls. In addition, the form of structures and plants influences their placement in a garden. For example, a landscaper might place taller plants at the back of the yard while placing shorter plants in front. This helps establish visual balance and a logical sequence in the landscape.

Lines play an important role in creating patterns and sequences. However, too many lines can lead to a messy, confusing design, so landscapers should use a mixture of both straight and curved lines. Also, it is important to vary the scale of a landscape by using both small and large elements. Smaller, lower-scale elements can make a space feel larger and more intimate, while large, higher-scale elements can overpower a landscape and become too distracting.

Using repetition in landscape design creates unity and flow, but it is important to avoid excessive repetition as this can become boring and detract from harmony and rhythm. Repetition can be achieved by using similar plant shapes in different planting beds, maintaining a uniform edging or grouping similar-colored objects. Landscapers may also use symmetrical or asymmetrical balance in their designs, although a balanced balance is generally more appealing to the eye.

If you’re a professional landscaper, check out our Landscaping Work Order Forms to help your business run more efficiently. Our forms are available in 3-part layering on carbonless paper and offer personalization, including a company name, address, advertising line, phone number and logo. We also offer color imprinting, so you can easily differentiate your forms from others.


Landscaping involves designing, installing and maintaining the outdoor natural areas alongside buildings or properties. This is done for both aesthetic and functional purposes. A well-designed landscape can enhance the visual appeal of a property, but it also helps to reduce noise pollution, conserve water and energy, improve soil quality and prevent erosion.

The function of a landscape is largely determined by the type and location of plants and trees. In a residential setting, a landscape design should include a variety of plants that provide color, texture and depth. The use of different plant types enables the designer to create focal points that draw attention. In addition, the placement of these focal points should be strategically planned to balance the overall composition.

Lines are another important element in a landscaping design. These lines can be perceived or physical, and they help to create a sense of movement and space in the yard. They can also be used to direct the flow of traffic or to highlight a specific landscape feature.

Landscape structure can influence overabundant and/or invasive species by:

Providing a focal point

Creating a focal point with a landscape can add interest and help to draw the eye. This can be done with a plant, a water feature or other landscape elements. For example, in this landscape design, the red benches act as a focal point and draw people into the space.

Landscaping can be used to increase the value of a home or business and can make it more attractive to potential buyers. In addition, landscaping can help to reduce noise pollution, conserve water and energy, and improve the quality of air. Landscapes are a great way to express your personality and bring out the best in any space.