Creating Elegant Outdoor Living Space with Landscape Design Ideas

landscape design ideas

There are a variety of different landscape design ideas to suit the many different terrains and features that make every yard unique.

Whether your challenge is a sloping side yard with a steep grade or a small, urban backyard with limited space, the right landscape ideas and techniques can make the area an outdoor paradise that is perfect for your home and family.

Combining just the right landscape ideas for the ideal outdoor design requires knowledge and extensive, careful planning.

For instance, yards with slopes or steep grades demand a much different landscape design plan than small, flat yards with limited space.

Here’s some good ways to gain new ideas…

The Four-Part Master Plan

The design techniques used to create a functional outdoor area are a critical part of landscape planning, regardless of the size, shape, or natural features of your land.

landscape design ideas

Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan have created some of the most elaborate and beautifully detailed garden plans at many of the finest homes and establishments across the world.

After studying several of their award winning landscape design ideas, the Dargans recognized four central elements in each and every garden plan no matter how different they may be.

In their book Timeless Landscape Design: The Four-Part Master Plan they share the ideas behind this time tested process and explain how it naturally adapts itself to the largest estate gardens right down to the smallest of townhouse plots to ensure an attractive and useful outdoor space.

Here’s an outline of this classic design process:

1. Approach and arrival – This refers to the importance of guiding visitors from the road directly to your front door in an inviting and pleasant manner. The style and design of your front yard will influence the first impressions of your home and property.

2. The Hub – Your entire outdoor design should center around the style and appearance of your home. Choose a theme, a color scheme, and outdoor accessories that complement the structure your property showcases.

3. The Perimeter – Functional outdoor living rooms are extensions of your home so it is important to integrate your functional outdoor space with similar rooms inside your home. Connect the outdoor and indoor living areas with doors and blend the natural and modern styles by accessorizing your landscape design with similar furnishings, colors, and decor.

4. Passages and destinations – Paths and walkways are just as essential to your landscape design ideas as plant life and outdoor furniture. The materials used, the look and style of the walkways, and where the garden paths lead help to define the overall atmosphere of your outdoor space.

These four components of landscape design planning can be found in every luxurious and appealing garden design, but there are many different landscape design ideas that are specifically for certain types of yards. The Landscape Design Advisor has adopted many of the ideas listed above and it’s one of the driving philosophies that we write about in our guide.

Ideas for Small Yards

The lavish size and square footage of most modern homes, coupled with the lack of undeveloped land for residences in most metropolitan areas, has resulted in a tremendous downsizing of outdoor space.

landscape design ideas

Small yards are becoming more and more common, especially in affluent communities. At the same time, outdoor living is becoming increasingly popular.

There are a variety of landscape design ideas that can make the most of your small yard and can even create a larger appearance.

  • Slim fences and vertically growing plants can add elegance without requiring too much space.
  • Use specific colors and textures to give your landscape design a more open appearance.
  • Integrate outdoor accessories proportionately sized to your yard space. Small water fountains, miniature bird baths, garden statues and ornamental trees are ideal choices that add charm to your small yard.

Garden Wall Ideas

Walls are common features in landscape design planning and have a number of uses in your garden. Tall walls make excellent privacy barriers for more intimate areas of your outdoor design, while walls built about
3 feet high can double as seating and garden benches. Short garden walls are a charming way to enclose flower beds and can protect portions of your yard from wind and other elements. There is also a growing trend for green walls which feature hardy climbers, cascading ground covers and beautiful vines.

Retaining Wall Ideas

There are several different types of garden walls, in many shapes and sizes. Retaining walls are popular landscape design ideas that add both beauty and value to your property. This type of garden wall is often used to alter the appearance of hills and grades or may be built near the edge of the yard for extreme curb appeal.

landscape design ideas

Landscaping Ideas for Slopes

Living on a hillside can create an intense challenge when it comes to landscape design planning. A number of different landscape design ideas can help blend the natural slopes of your yard into a beautiful extension of your outdoor living area. Retaining walls, rock gardens, decks, and colorful displays of wildflowers are all common ideas that make grades and slopes intriguing parts of your outdoor living space.


Planning a hillside garden design, or even accounting for small slopes in your yard, demands attention to a few important factors.

Proper drainage and the prevention of erosion are the biggest concerns but you should also consider irrigation to maintain healthy water levels for plants, as well as the ease of lawn maintenance on the slope.

Garden Terrace Ideas

Garden terraces are a beautiful and functional way to blend your home’s interior with your outdoor space. A garden terrace typically connects to a common room of your home, like the kitchen or living room. They can be designed to sprawl across your yard encompassing a large area or to provide a simple, small and intimate seating area.


The design, and the height of the patio are only a few things to consider when planning a terrace.

These are just some of the many landscape design ideas that you you can apply when planning your garden design.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Benjamin July 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Nice Site!


2 dable January 6, 2013 at 3:56 am

Your like tags are in the way! What a piece of crappy coding! Do you even look at what you do?


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