Back to Basics: Landscape Design Concepts You Need to Know

When it comes to anything design related (interior, landscape, remodeling, etc.), it can be easy to get carried away with all of the information out there at your disposal. For this reason, it is important to always have some basic landscape design principles at the foundation of your brainstorming. Check them out!

1. Keep clutter to a minimum
Minimizing clutter and excess is key to a beautiful and simple landscape. Too much "stuff", whether it be plants, trees, yard decorations, or lawn gnomes, creates a complicated mess that is neither pleasant mentally nor attractive to the eye.

2. Think about drainage
When designing a landscape, you must always consider the system/method of watering you will use, and how that water will drain. If you don't know the watering needs of your plants, you could place them next to something that hogs water, or vice versa. So keep this in mind.

3. Remember to add texture
Texture is important to a beautiful landscape design because it creates dimension. So choose flowers that contrast the texture of the grass. Vary the heights of certain plants. Add in some stones or rocks to establish levels in the yard. Mix it up!

Landscape Design Photos

Sometimes the best way to get an idea for your own landscape design plan is to look at photos of other designs. Whether you like desert landscapes, green landscape, floral landscapes, or a mixture of design concepts, picture can be influential and inspirational to the concept you create for your property.

We want to know what our readers are interested in! Comment in response to this post with links to some of your favorite landscape designs online. We will do a post on each one, and discuss how you can make it happen for yourself!

Water Feature Options


When considering a new landscape design, one of the most popular elements people want is a water feature. There are all sorts of water features to choose from, and with so many options it ca be hard to determine which one to go with. Here we will discuss some of the most popular water features out there so you can get an idea of what might fit for you!

Fountains
Fountains are without a doubt the most popular water feature choice out there. They come in so many different designs and varieties, so whatever your interests or aesthetical inclination, you will undoubtedly be able to find one that matches. Custom fountains and prefabricated ones have pros and cons (cost = custom con/prefab pro; personalization = custom pro/prefab con), but both add huge appeal to any property.

Ponds
Ponds are another great choice. From small to large, ponds offer a feeling of serenity and really bring Mother Nature to the forefront in your landscape. Maintenance is crucial if you want a pond, because nothing says eye sore more than green water.

Water Walls
Water walls are fun to look at. Again there are plenty of custom and prefabricated options, so first consider your needs and wants and go from there. Outdoor water walls can make your entertaining area even more enjoyable, especially during those warm summer months! And they can be a place of reprieve year round, so consider them an option when choosing your water feature.

Fighting Against Weeds


For all property owners, there is one thing that seems to be a common frustration across the board, and that is weed growth. Weed growth in your landscape can make it appear uncared for, even if you toil away at maintaining the health of the plants. So what are some ways you can fight against weeds and embrace beautiful landscape?

1) Lay the Foundation
Putting some sort of covering under your landscape before adding in rocks, grass, and plants can help prevent weeds from breaking through the surface. There are many options, and a local landscape designer can give you guidance on which would suit your location best.

2) Mulch
Using mulch in your landscape is another great way to stop weeds before they start. Mulch will encourage the growth of your plants, and will discourage weeds from thriving.

3) Spray Before Winter
To effectively kill weeds, most herbicidal products (green or not) work best when the weed is still alive. So spray before it dies off for winter on account of cold weather, and come spring you will be greeted by blooming plants and trees instead of weeds.

Making the Most of Fall Evenings Outdoors


Outdoor living is one of the best parts of Scottsdale. The weather is perfect now for enjoying nights on the patio, having outdoor dinner events, or even watching the big game outside with family and friends. So how can you make the most of your outdoor living landscape? Here are some tips to help you out!

Consider Your Space
When design an outdoor living space, it is important to first of all consider your square footage and current layout. You must decide if you want to work with what you have and make changes within that framework (i.e. pick some new patio furniture, plant a garden in that unused corner, invest in a permanent gazebo space, etc.) or demo and start from scratch.

Consider Your Needs
After considering your space, you will want to consider the needs of you and your family as it relates to outdoor space. Do you need a large grassy area for the kids to practice sports, or do you spend more time entertaining friends who enjoy an outdoor picnic area?

Consider Your Intentions
Last but certainly not least, consider your intentions for the outdoor living space. Do you want it to be enjoyed by just you and your immediate family, or do you plan on throwing parties for lots of people? Do you intend to plant a large garden and grow your own produce, or would you rather go the desert landscape route with rocks and water-efficient plants?

After you have gone through each of these steps, you can have a better understanding of what design will work for you: a fun, interactive, sporty design; a design perfect for entertaining; or maybe a design with water features, plenty of shade, and fun lighting enhancements!

Fall Planting 411


Fall is finally here, and with it comes the exciting opportunity to prepare Fall gardens and design colder weather landscapes. For Scottsdale residents, Fall is the perfect time to plant and enjoy the outdoors, and our climate allows many plants to thrive. Check out some of our favorites!

Herbs
Herbs are popular in the Fall garden. Basil is hugely popular, but is best to plant it earlier in the season as it thrives in more moderate temperatures. Other great options include the southwestern favorite cilantro, which does well in colder weather, and mint which is a homegrown favorite for many.

Fruits
While you might think about all of the fruits ripening right now, Fall is a great time to plant certain fruit trees as well. Apple trees planted now have time to settle in and become established in time for a great Spring experience, and plum trees respond similarly. If you are maintaining citrus trees, explore our blog for tips on keeping them safe from weather damage!

Vegetables
Popular Fall planting as far as vegetables go include the three C’s: cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage. Also, the hottest super food out there right now, kale, is another great option for Scottsdale green thumbs.

Flowers
Flower seeds and transplants respond well to Fall weather. For beautiful Spring blooming, plant the following in the your garden: iris, sweet pea seeds, tulips, and even daffodils!

Water Efficient Landscapes


Water efficiency is important – especially in a dry desert environment such as Scottsdale. While most of us have no shortage of water in our homes, we should still attempt to conserve as much as possible because it is a limited resource. In addition, creating a water efficient landscape will keep your monthly bills at bay. So how can you begin to design a water efficient landscape, while keeping aesthetics in mind? Here are three tips to get you started.

Decide on a Theme
Picking a theme can help you strategize the most water efficient layout for your landscape. Do you want rocky slopes? A cactus garden? Space for growing herbs? Consider where you will draw inspiration from when designing your landscape, and come up with a theme for consistency.

Pick Your Must Haves
After you have chosen your theme, decide on a few must haves for your landscape. If there is something you cannot live without, well, don’t! But if it is a water hog, compensate with a desert plant that requires little water. Make it a give and take, so you can still have a water efficient landscape.

Get Educated
Getting educated is important so you can develop an understanding of the water needs for your landscape plants. If you don’t know how much water certain plants need, you could over or under water them. Take the time to seek expert guidance on just how much water your plants require, and then water accordingly. Many people decide to water all plants at the same time each day or week. Plants of different kinds have different water needs (and nutrient needs, temperature/climate needs, etc.), so if you want your landscape to thrive, carry out a relevant watering plan.