What Are the Principles of Landscape Design?

Landscape design is the process of creating a cohesive outdoor space that is both attractive and functional. It can involve anything from planting trees and shrubs to installing outdoor lighting, irrigation systems, walkways, and seating areas.

To ensure that a landscape design project is successful, it is important to follow certain principles.


Balance refers to the visual weight of elements in a landscape design. In other words, it is the way in which elements are arranged in a composition.

Symmetrical balance occurs when equal elements are placed on each side of an axis. Asymmetrical balance occurs when different elements are placed on either side but both sides still appear visually balanced.


Texture refers to the surface quality of materials used in a landscape design. Texture can be smooth or rough, depending on the type of material used for each element.

For example, the texture of wood can be rough while stone may be smooth or rough depending on its finish. Smooth textures tend to reflect more light while rough textures absorb more light.


Scale is an important principle of landscape design as it determines how large or small an element appears relative to other elements in a composition. For example, large boulders appear much smaller when placed next to a tall tree or building.


Color plays an important role in landscape design as it can brighten up an otherwise dull space and draw attention to specific features. Different colors can create visual interest and contrast between elements while also creating harmony within the composition.


Simplicity is key when designing a successful landscape project as too many elements can create clutter and make it difficult for viewers to appreciate the overall composition. Keeping designs simple and organized helps create an aesthetically pleasing space.


The principles of landscape design – balance, texture, scale, color, and simplicity – all contribute to creating an attractive and functional outdoor space that will look great for years to come.