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Basic Design Principles

Here are some basic garden design principles and things to consider as you begin to design your landscape.

Lindheimer Muhly with Salvia in foreground

Quick Visual Appeal

The “rule of threes” is a simple design concept: in landscape beds, lay out plants in odd-numbered groupings of 3, 5, 7, etc. This is a strategy that allows relaxing visual patterns without getting too cluttered or disorganized.

Succulent Cactus Garden

Eye-Catching Gardens

For a wow moment, include a focal point: a birdbath, statue, specimen plant, or your favorite yard art piece.

Patios and Potted Evergreens

Liven up Your Yard

Think of your yard as an additional living area and plan accordingly, using some of the same concepts you would use inside your home.

Stunning, Dramatic Striped Agave

Year Round Appeal

If you only include deciduous plants in your garden, it will look empty and brown when they drop their leaves in the winter. Backbone plants are generally evergreen or have a strong architectural shape all year.

Plan for Patios & Walkways

A general rule is to make them bigger or wider than you first planned. Consider pervious options that allow rain to penetrate the ground rather than creating run-off. Walkways should be a minimum of 4 feet wide. The more you use it, the wider it should be. A small patio of 6 to 8 feet by 10 to 12 feet will comfortably seat four people. As a general rule, plan for nine square feet per person.

Your Color Style

Much like your indoor decor, the colors you pick will be governed by your personal style. Monochromatic schemes usually evoke serenity while complimentary colors can be energizing. If your main goal is attracting pollinators, hummingbirds or other plant-seeking wildlife, you may want to consider their favorite colors.

For Your Consideration

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