Complete Guide to Landscaping

Posted in General
Posted on

Have you been dreaming about transforming your backyard into a beautiful oasis? Or maybe you want to increase the curb appeal of your front yard?

Whatever your landscaping goals may be, it can be a daunting process to bring them to life.

This is where hiring a professional landscaper can come in handy.

But before jumping into the process of hiring someone, there are a few things you should know.

In this blog post, we will give you a complete guide to landscaping that will help you make informed decisions before taking on any of the items on your to-do list for a dream landscape.

What Are the 7 Principles of Landscaping?

If you are looking to enhance the look and feel of your outdoor space, then landscaping is the way to go.

From creating a stunning garden to a relaxing patio, a beautifully landscaped property not only adds curb appeal but also increases its overall value. To achieve the best results in landscaping, it’s vital to understand the seven principles of landscaping. But what exactly are they?


The principle of unity states that all elements of your landscape design should come together to create a cohesive whole. In other words, your landscape should have a unified theme and look.

This can be achieved by using repetitive patterns, colors, and textures throughout your landscape design.


The principle of scale refers to the size of the elements in your landscape and how they relate to one another and the overall space.

For example, you wouldn’t want to use large trees and shrubs in a small courtyard, and you wouldn’t want to use small flowers in a large backyard. By understanding the scale of your landscape and its components, you can create a balanced and harmonious design.


The principle of balance is all about creating a sense of equilibrium and stability. This can be achieved by ensuring that the weight and placement of elements in your landscape are equal on both sides of a center point.

For example, if you have a large tree on one side of your yard, you may want to balance it with a grouping of smaller plants on the other side.


The principle of simplicity is about keeping your landscape design easy to understand while still creating interest.

By simplifying your design, you can emphasize certain elements and create a more calming and peaceful atmosphere. Simplicity can be achieved by using fewer plants, limiting the number of colors and textures used, and avoiding clutter.


The principle of variety is about creating interest and excitement in your landscape design by using a mix of colors, textures, forms, and sizes.

By incorporating a variety of elements, you can create a dynamic and visually stimulating landscape that’s pleasing to the eye.


The principle of emphasis is about creating a focal point or center of attention. This can be achieved by using contrasting colors, textures, or forms.

For example, if you have a large lawn, you may want to create a focal point by incorporating a unique water feature or sculpture.


The principle of sequence is about creating a logical and organized design. By using a sequence, you can guide the viewer’s eye through your landscape design and create a sense of movement.

A sequence can be achieved by using a pathway or series of garden beds that lead the viewer from one element to another.

Connecticut Lawn Maintenance

Things to Consider When Designing Your Landscape

Before investing your time and money in a landscaping project, take some time to think about what you might like to achieve from the project. Here’s an overview of a few things to consider:


Sure, your landscape should be nice to look at – but it should also be usable.

Do you want to create a space for outdoor entertaining or a play area for kids? Your landscape design should cater to your specific needs. Consider how you want to utilize your outdoor space, the type of plants or flowers that can survive in your area, and the level of maintenance that they’ll require.


Safety should be a top priority for any outdoor space, especially if you have children or pets.

Consider installing sturdy railings and fences, using non-slip surfaces for your pathways, and avoiding sharp-edged plants or those that can be toxic if ingested. And if you’re planning on adding fire pits, grills, or outdoor lighting to the space, make sure that they are installed in safe locations.


Landscape design can be a costly project, so it’s always best to establish a budget for your landscaping goals. Consider different elements of your landscape design that you can save on, like choosing plants that are native to your area, making use of local stone and materials, or opting for low-maintenance plants.

You can also work with a professional landscaper to create a budget-friendly plan for your outdoor space.


Consider the climate in your area, including the temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns. Plant and develop an outdoor space that is specific to and will flourish in your location.


Maintaining and managing a complex landscape design requires a significant investment of time and money. If you prefer simple designs, opt for low-maintenance plants or go for simple hardscape elements like a paver patio.

If you prefer a complex design, work with a landscape architect to create an elegant design that matches your personality and aesthetic preferences.


Top Landscaping Tips for Beginners

Landscaping can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. But don’t fret; we’ve got the perfect guide for you. Here are our top landscaping tips for beginners.

1. Start With Hardscaping, Then Pick Plants

Hardscaping involves the construction of non-living elements such as patios, walkways, and retaining walls. These features create structure and define the space, but you need to take the time to consider these features before you start to do any planting.

Once the hardscaping is in place, you can then add plants and other softscape elements such as flowers, trees, and shrubs. Pick plants that are suitable for your climate and soil type to ensure they thrive in your outdoor space.

2. Consider Your USDA Zone and Microclimate

The success of your landscaping project depends on the plant’s ability to thrive in your region. Understanding your USDA zone will help you make wise choices when selecting plants. Your microclimate also plays a significant role in determining which plants will thrive in your area.

Assessing your site’s soil, wind, and sun exposure will help you make the right plant choices.

3. Sketch Out a Landscape Design

Before diving into planting or designing your yard, you need to understand the patterns of your backyard. Take a step back and observe where the sun shines and where the shade is. Does it have drainage problems? Are there paths or spaces that people walk through frequently?

Understanding your yard’s patterns is key to creating a functional and exceptional landscape.

After observing your property for some time, create a rough sketch of your site and include existing elements such as trees, fences, and buildings. Identify any problem areas that need to be addressed, such as drainage.

Then, sketch out your desired hardscaping and softscape elements. Consider using drought-tolerant plants, so you don’t have to water frequently.

4. Consider a Theme and a Focal Point

Creating a theme in your backyard is not overly complicated. You can choose a color scheme, for example, or base it on your favorite type of plant. Not only is choosing a theme fun, but it can help unify your yard and create consistency.

You may also want to add a focal point. Having a focal point in your yard instantly elevates the space and makes it feel more polished. This can be a tree, a statue, a fountain, or even a seating area. A focal point guides the eye and sets the tone for your backyard’s aesthetic.

Consider creating a seating area around the focal point to create a perfect spot for gatherings.

5. Add a Water Feature

Water features bring a unique element to your outdoor space, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Depending on your yard size, you might consider a pond, a fountain, or a small stream. Adding a water feature is surprisingly simple and affordable, and the result is absolutely stunning.

6. Think About Adding Some Raised Beds

Raised garden beds are perfect for beginners because they allow you to grow plants in a contained area.

Not only do they add aesthetic value to your yard, but they’re also practical, preventing soil compaction and providing excellent drainage. Raised beds are available in various sizes and materials, so you’re sure to find something that fits your taste and budget.

7. Plan for Drainage

Whether you live in a wet or dry climate, it’s important to plan for drainage. Poor drainage can cause problems such as soggy lawns, standing water, and erosion. Consider adding drains, French drains, or swales to help control water flow.

8. Set Larger Goals

If you’re looking to take your outdoor space to the next level, set larger goals. Think about what you want your space to be and plan for it. This can include creating a kid-friendly area, planting a flower garden, adding a seating area to entertain guests, or even adding a koi pond.

Setting larger goals will help you create a cohesive design and give you something to work towards.

9. Think About Fences or Hedges

Fences or hedges can play an important role in your landscape design. They can provide privacy, help define your outdoor space, and add beauty to your yard.

Consider the style and material of your fence or hedge and how it will fit into your overall design.

10. Don’t Forget the Lighting

Think about lighting when redesigning your yard. Outdoor lighting can increase the safety of your home, add beauty, and extend the hours that you can enjoy your outdoor space.

Consider adding light features around pathways and garden features, including seating areas, decks, and patios. The type of lighting you choose will depend on the mood or effect you want to achieve.

11. What About Water Needs?

Water is a critical part of your yard, and your plants will need proper watering. While designing, think about how you’ll water your plants and what your water needs are.

Consider adding water features such as waterfalls, fountains, and bird baths, which will not only add beauty but also provide water to birds and other wildlife.

12. Select Plants Based on Functionality as Well as Aesthetics

When selecting plants, consider both functionality and aesthetics. Trees and shrubs offer privacy and shade, and help divert wind.

Also, think about whether the plants are perennials (come back year after year) or annuals (need to be replanted every year). It’s best to choose a combination of the two and to also include evergreens. Their leaves can provide privacy and protection throughout the year.

13. Make Sure You Have Enough Space

You don’t want to overcrowd your outdoor area, as it can become claustrophobic and uninviting. Plus, forcing too many plants into a small area will inhibit their growth.

Make sure you have enough space to create a comfortable seating area and walkways that are easy to navigate. Whether you’re working with a small balcony or a large backyard, plan your layout carefully.

14. Coordinate Color Schemes and Textures

One of the most effective ways to create a cohesive and beautiful outdoor space is to pay close attention to your color schemes and textures.

Coordinate your potted plants and outdoor furniture so that they complement each other. Look for colors and textures that work well together, and remember that less is often more.

15. Remember Wildlife

Landscaping is not just about creating a pretty space for yourself to enjoy, it’s also about creating a safe haven for the wildlife that may share your space. Consider planting native plants that provide habitat and food for birds, bees, and butterflies.

Not only will they add a beautiful touch to your outdoor area, but you’ll be contributing to a more sustainable ecosystem as well.

16. Think About Future Maintenance

Remember to take into account the future maintenance of your landscaping. Choose plants that are easy to maintain, and hardscaping that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. Don’t forget to factor in potential weather patterns in your area, too.

Consider investing in an irrigation system that takes care of watering for you, or even hiring a professional landscaper who can advise and manage the upkeep of your outdoor space.

17. Start Small

Landscaping can be a lot of work, so you may want to start small and not get overwhelmed. Start with a small flower bed or a section of your yard that you want to improve. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue.

Not Interested in DIY Landscaping? No Problem

If you’re not interested in DIY landscaping, hiring a professional landscaper is a great idea. It can save you time, effort, and money while providing you with a beautiful, customized, and sustainable landscape you’ll love.

Bellingrath Bros Landscape & Design in West Hartford is a great choice for your landscaping needs, providing top-quality services at an affordable price.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our services and get started on creating the landscape you’ve always dreamed of.