Types of Landscaping Styles to Consider – Forbes Advisor

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When thinking about ways to improve your home, you might consider a kitchen remodel or a bathroom remodel. But why not think outside the box and focus on landscaping?

Landscaping has a huge impact on the overall look of your home (and it can improve resale value, too). The landscaping style you choose should allow your yard to be a place where you can relax and unwind from the rest of the world.

When choosing a type of landscaping design, keep your ultimate goals in mind, such as designing your yard for children, sustainability, entertainment, or relaxation. Be aware of your neighborhood’s zoning laws that may prohibit certain types or sizes of structures and your climate; not all landscaping styles are suitable for all types of weather.

Here are nine types of landscaping styles you can consider for your home.

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1. Tropic

You don’t have to fly to a remote island to experience tropical vibes. You can recreate them for your own landscaping project with lush vegetation and bright colors. If your climate permits, palm trees, birds of paradise, hibiscus flowers, bougainvillea, orchids and jasmine are all representative of a tropical getaway.

There are also tropical touches that you can add to any growing area. A hammock swaying in the breeze, a pool or hot tub – with a waterfall to really level up – tiki statues and torches, bamboo accents, a fire pit and colorful outdoor furniture vivid are functional even in less than tropical climates. Making a signature cocktail at a backyard tiki bar is optional.

2. Forest

If your idea of ​​an ideal getaway is a cozy cabin in the woods, consider a woodsy landscaping style. This type of landscaping is an excellent choice for a low-maintenance option; forest trees, shrubs and flowers can be left to grow at their own pace with little human intervention.

Hardwoods (like oak, maple, hickory, walnut, and cherry) are traditional choices, but they take longer to grow and are a long-term investment. These trees also go dormant in the winter, so think about what the landscape will look like in all seasons. Softwoods (including cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce and yew) grow faster and retain their cover over winter.

In terms of structural additions, stone walkways, wooden benches, and decorative or functional birdhouses help create a woodsy atmosphere.

3. Grasslands

If tall trees aren’t your style, consider recreating a prairie landscape with tall grasses and herbaceous flowering plants. Switchgrass, native to the southwestern plains of the United States, has greens, browns, and even a bit of purple or red.

It has evolved in many environments, from cold to warm and from shallow to deep soil, so it can adapt to most climates. Switchgrass is also drought resistant, so it’s a good option if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of rain. It can also be a less expensive option than trees or shrubs.

4. Desert

A desert style landscape does not mean a dull landscape. Desert landscaping can be a low maintenance option that requires little upkeep and water. Succulents are of course a must; cacti, aloe and yucca are traditional desert additions. To add color, consider desert-tolerant plants like begonia, fall sage, and yellow columbine—certain types of succulents can also offer color.

Decor-wise, consider Southwestern-style design and heat-resistant furniture in light colors (no one wants to burn their skin on hot metal or a black cushion). A fire pit evokes the drama of the desert, and an outdoor kitchen could help you make the most of hot days outdoors. And don’t forget to provide shade: umbrellas, gazebos, or desert-friendly trees are a must.

5. English Garden

The English Garden, also known as the English Cottage or English Country, is a popular landscape style that evokes stories of summers at your grandmother’s house in Kent, nicknamed the “Garden of England”. It was the English garden landscaping style that actually helped people see nature as something to be enjoyed and valued rather than feared.

Besides flowers, shrubs and trees, a water feature is a common feature of the English garden. Whether man-made or natural, it can be a large-scale lake, a pond or a reflecting pool at the smaller end. A bridge, bench, and birdbath are classic accompaniments, along with sculptures and a cobblestone path.

6. Japanese Garden

A space for peaceful contemplation is the goal of a traditional Japanese garden. Drawing on Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist philosophies to provide a spiritual haven, this landscape style has four essential elements: rocks, water, plants, and ornaments. When incorporating these features, the design principles of asymmetry, enclosure, borrowed decor, balance and symbolism should be kept in mind.

Koi ponds, waterfalls and rock pools are common water features for a Japanese garden. the incorporation of a bridge is also common. Traditional Japanese gardens are enclosed, all for a better way to escape into peaceful contemplation, and bamboo is a great choice for that. Decorative ornaments are also a key to bringing this landscape style to life.

7. Tuscany

You don’t need 300 acres to recreate your own slice of the Medici Gardens in Tuscany, Italy. You can emulate these famous gardens and others in Italy with a Tuscan style of landscaping. The region is known for its rolling hills, verdant vineyards and fragrant olive trees. Even without these exact components, you can achieve a Tuscan look and feel.

Potted citrus fruits and herbs can make your garden look and smell like a Tuscan landscape. If you have space, a maze of sorts can give guests (even if they’re just kids) a place to wander around. Growing your own herbs or vegetables is a symbol of Tuscany’s connection to the land. And an arbor or pergola is the perfect structure to sit and watch your masterpiece.

8. French

Formal gardens were originally inspired by the style of the Italian Renaissance, but they added elements of their own. The Gardens of Versailles are the greatest example of this landscape style; they are even larger than the aforementioned Medici Gardens – nearly 2,000 acres. Fortunately, a French style can be reproduced on a much smaller scale.

Even though landscaping is all about your yard, the residence is usually the focal point of a formal garden. Planting trees or shrubs in straight lines that lead to the house is one way to bring the gaze back to the house. Trellis, columns, birdbaths or fountains and cast iron furniture are signs of French design. And remember that with this style, symmetry is key.

9. Spanish

Spanish-style landscaping is popular in areas with a similar hot, dry climate. Influenced by Islamic, Persian and Moorish gardens but with a style all its own, this type of design is generally drought tolerant meaning grass is not a central or necessary feature.

Most of the structural elements of Spanish landscape design include ceramic: it is found in benches, reflecting pools, walls, walkways, decorative accents and fountains. In terms of fountains, the Spanish style is not one large centerpiece but several smaller pieces. Terracotta pots, urns, and bright blue glazed accent decor are also authentic touches.


No matter which landscaping style speaks to you, be sure to choose the best style for your property. Consider factors such as climate, weather, personal preference and maintenance level before deciding on your finalized style. If you’re looking for more landscaping ideas and must-haves, our resident general contractor has some great advice.

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