Landscape Styles: The Ultimate Guide For Homeowners

Traditional landscape in suburban neighborhood

Transforming your outdoor space into a stunning oasis requires a keen eye for design and an understanding of various landscape styles. This ultimate guide will explore a variety of styles, from contemporary and traditional to themed gardens and international inspirations, helping you create a unique and breathtaking outdoor space that complements your home and lifestyle.

Short Summary

  • Explore various landscape styles to create a beautiful outdoor space that suits individual preferences.
  • Personalize your design with fire pits and outdoor fireplaces, or seek professional assistance for guidance.
  • Incorporate classic elements, natural materials, vibrant colors, and exotic plants for an inviting atmosphere.

Exploring Landscape Styles

Choosing the right landscape style for your property is essential to creating an inviting and visually appealing outdoor space. With a wide array of styles to choose from, such as:

  • contemporary
  • traditional
  • formal
  • informal

Homeowners can find the perfect fit for their preferences and needs. Each landscaping style offers unique features and design elements, allowing you to experiment with different themes and aesthetics.

Whether you prefer the sleek lines of modern design or the timeless charm of a traditional garden, exploring various landscaping styles will help you discover the ideal look for your outdoor space.

Contemporary Landscaping

Contemporary landscaping is characterized by its clean lines, minimalism, and modern materials, resulting in a sleek and stylish outdoor space. The focus is on using natural elements such as wood and stone, creating a stark contrast to formal gardens. Straight lines, sharp angles, and an emphasis on heights and textures are some of the physical characteristics associated with this modern look. Agave, grasses, palms and textural shrubs such as White Sage are popular plants for contemporary landscaping. They bring a unique style to any home and can easily be adapted to any setting.

Furniture pieces that reflect the modern aesthetic of the space should be chosen for a contemporary yard, further enhancing the overall design. Some key features of contemporary landscaping include:

  • Emphasis on simplicity
  • Use of natural materials
  • Clean lines and geometric shapes
  • Minimalist design elements

By incorporating these elements into your outdoor space, you can create a refreshing and sophisticated contemporary design.

traditional landscape style with flowers

Traditional Landscaping

Traditional landscaping emphasizes classic elements, abundant vegetation, and timeless design, providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. This style typically features:

  • Curving lines and rounded corners
  • An abundance of flowers
  • Brighter colors
  • Green shrubs
  • Materials such as stone and brick with warmer neutral tones
  • Ornamentation

These elements come together to create a cozy and welcoming ambiance in traditional landscaping.

Some common tree choices for traditional landscaping include softwoods like cedar, Douglas fir, and juniper, as well as hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry. Combining these elements results in a beautifully designed outdoor space that exudes charm and elegance, perfect for relaxing or entertaining guests.

Formal vs. Informal Landscaping

The distinction between formal and informal landscaping lies in their design principles and overall aesthetics. Formal landscaping is characterized by:

  • Symmetry, structure, and order
  • Recognizable shapes and patterns
  • Geometric groupings
  • Straight rows
  • Use of refined textures such as stainless steel, smooth stone, tile, and finished wood

On the other hand, informal landscaping offers a more relaxed, organic, and casual atmosphere. This own style opts for amorphous, naturalistic groupings with increased species diversity and the use of humble materials with unpolished edges.

By understanding the differences between formal and informal landscaping, homeowners can determine which style best suits their personal preferences and the overall aesthetic of their property.

Themed Garden Styles

For those who desire a more immersive and unique outdoor experience, themed garden styles can provide an exciting and distinctive approach to landscape design. By focusing on a specific theme, such as tropical, woodland, or coastal, homeowners can create an outdoor space that transports them to a different environment or evokes a particular feeling. These landscaping ideas offer a refreshing take on traditional garden aesthetics and landscape design ideas.

These themed styles often incorporate specific plants, design elements, and materials that are characteristic of the chosen theme, resulting in a cohesive and captivating outdoor space.

Tropical Gardens

Tropical gardens are characterized by their lush greenery, bold colors, and exotic plants, offering a vibrant and visually stunning outdoor space. Ideal for creating a tropical paradise, these gardens often feature:

  • Palm trees
  • Birds of paradise
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Bougainvillea
  • Orchids
  • Jasmine

A hammock, swimming pool or hot tub with a waterfall can be included in any backyard to create a tropical atmosphere. Decorative elements such as tiki statues, bamboo accents, and colorful outdoor furniture will further enhance the image.

With its dense and layered plantings, tropical gardens are perfect for those who crave an exotic and lush outdoor retreat, incorporating native plants for added diversity.

woodland landscape style with A frame

Woodland Retreats

Woodland retreats provide a cozy, natural setting that is perfect for those seeking a relaxing escape. This themed garden style features forest trees, shrubs, and flowers, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Common tree selections for woodland retreats include softwoods like cedar, Douglas fir, and juniper, as well as hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry.

When designing a woodland retreat, it is essential to incorporate a variety of plant species and textures to create a diverse and visually appealing space. With its focus on nature and organic design, woodland retreats offer a calming and peaceful outdoor sanctuary.

Coastal Escapes

Coastal escapes capture the essence of the beach, creating a soothing and refreshing outdoor space. This themed garden style emphasizes:

  • Light, natural materials
  • Seaside-inspired design elements
  • Gravel hardscaping
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Rustic wood elements such as fences and steps

These are common features in coastal landscaping.

By incorporating elements reminiscent of the shoreline, coastal escapes offer a relaxing and visually appealing outdoor space that evokes the tranquility of the beach. Whether it’s through the use of beach-inspired plants or coastal design elements, these escapes provide a serene and calming atmosphere, perfect for unwinding after a long day.

International Landscape Inspirations

For homeowners seeking a culturally rich and diverse outdoor space, international landscape styles offer a wealth of inspiration. Drawing from the design elements and traditions of various countries, these styles can infuse your landscape with a unique and captivating aesthetic. From the charming elegance of English gardens to the spiritual harmony of Japanese gardens and the warmth and beauty of Mediterranean landscapes, international inspirations provide endless design possibilities.

English Gardens

English gardens showcase a delightful combination of florals, shrubbery, water features, and classic design elements, creating a charming and elegant atmosphere. This landscape style, often compared to the French garden, features curving brick, roughened cobbles, gravel, and natural-shaped stone paths, as well as an abundance of flowers and greenery.

The overall aesthetic of English gardens evokes a sense of timeless beauty and sophistication, perfect for those who appreciate a more traditional and classic landscape design. Incorporating elements from this international inspiration can add an enchanting and romantic touch to any outdoor space.

Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens emphasize spiritual harmony through the use of water features, bamboo, and decorative ornaments, following design principles such as asymmetry and balance. This Japanese garden landscape style is characterized by its minimalist approach and incorporation of natural elements, such as stone pathways, water features, carefully pruned trees and shrubs, rocks, moss, and bamboo.

The tranquil and peaceful atmosphere created by Japanese gardens offers a serene and contemplative outdoor space, perfect for meditation and reflection. Drawing inspiration from this international style can provide a unique and calming environment in your landscape design.

Mediterranean Landscapes

Mediterranean landscapes recreate the warmth and beauty of the Mediterranean region with the use of citrus plants, herbs, and pergolas. This international landscape style is characterized by bright colors, striking patterns, and natural elements, such as olive trees, citrus trees, and lavender.

Incorporating elements of Mediterranean landscaping can add a sense of warmth and vibrancy to your outdoor space, evoking the charm and allure of the Mediterranean region. With its focus on natural beauty and lively colors, this international inspiration is perfect for those who appreciate bold and striking landscape design.

Personalizing Your Landscape Design

To create a truly one-of-a-kind outdoor space, it’s essential to personalize your landscape design with unique features and elements that reflect your individual style and preferences. By incorporating elements such as fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and professional design assistance, homeowners can create a customized and cohesive landscape that suits their needs and enhances the overall aesthetic of their property.

With the right design elements, homeowners can create truly unique outdoor spaces that transform their outdoor space into both a functional and aesthetically pleasing area.

landscaping around trees with a fire pit

Fire Pits and Outdoor Fireplaces

Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces add warmth, ambiance, and functionality to your landscape, making them perfect for entertaining guests or simply relaxing in your outdoor space. These features provide both practical and aesthetic benefits, creating a welcoming atmosphere and serving as a focal point in your landscape design.

When selecting a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, consider the following factors:

  • The size of the area to be heated
  • The type of fuel to be used
  • The design of the feature
  • The amount of maintenance required

By incorporating a fire pit or outdoor fireplace into your landscape, you can enhance the overall appeal and functionality of your outdoor space.

Professional Landscape Design Assistance

Seeking professional landscape design assistance can help you choose the perfect style, elements, and features for your outdoor space, ensuring a cohesive and stunning result. Professional landscape designers offer:

  • Consultations
  • Suggestions on plant selection
  • Layout design
  • Irrigation concepts
  • Overall advice in developing an aesthetically pleasing and practical landscape.

Whether you prefer in-person consultations or online design services, professional landscape design assistance can provide invaluable guidance and expertise in creating your dream outdoor space. By working with a professional designer, you can ensure that your landscape not only reflects your personal style, but also enhances the overall aesthetic and value of your property.


In conclusion, a well-designed landscape not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your property, but also provides a functional and enjoyable outdoor space. By exploring various landscape styles, such as contemporary, traditional, themed gardens, and international inspirations, homeowners can create a unique and captivating environment that suits their individual preferences and needs. Personalizing your landscape design with unique features such as fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and professional design assistance will ensure a truly one-of-a-kind outdoor space that will be cherished for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 landscape features?

The five key elements of a landscape design are line, form, texture, color and scale; all of which work together to create a visually appealing outdoor space. Each element plays an important role in the overall design. Line is used to create a sense of movement and direction, while form is used to create a sense of structure and balance. Texture adds visual interest and depth, while color adds vibrancy.

What are the main differences between formal and informal landscaping?

Formal landscaping typically features symmetrical designs with structure and order, while informal landscapes tend to appear more relaxed and natural.

What plants are commonly used in tropical gardens?

Tropical gardens typically include palm trees, birds of paradise, hibiscus flowers, bougainvillea, orchids, and jasmine to give them a lush, exotic feel. These plants are often chosen for their vibrant colors and lush foliage, which can create a stunning visual effect. They also provide a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and other insects. Additionally, many of these plants are drought-tolerant and require minimal maintenance, making them drought-tolerant.