5 Landscape Design Tips for Outdoor Spaces that Invite & Delight

brick cobblestone

5 Landscape Design Tips for Outdoor Spaces that Invite & Delight

We all love a well-designed home filled with stylish, comfortable spaces, and we especially love when those spaces extend outdoors. The best landscape design blends seamlessly with a house, no matter its style, making it look like the hardscapes and plantings have always been there. But landscape design, like any other design, is definitely an art. We spoke with Louisville-based landscape architect Patrick Henry of Patrick Henry Landscape Architects to find out more about the elements he thinks are the most important to consider when creating a design. To illustrate his design tips, we’re using some of the projects created by his design-build firm. Of course, one of his biggest tips is to start with a plan with the help a design professional.

“Landscape architects can help on so many levels. I love the projects that I get to take from start to finish, of course, but creating the plan is the best part,” Patrick shares. “I always encourage clients to come to the table with how they want to feel in the space, how they want to enjoy it. The best compliment I ever get is how much a client enjoys being in the space I designed.”

Here are Patrick’s five landscape design tips to make your outdoor living space inviting and beautiful for years to come.

A landscape design master plan by Patrick Henry Landscape ArchitectsSave

A landscape design master plan by Patrick Henry Landscape Architects

1. Find a rhythm through repetition.

We know. This isn’t dance or music class. But think about what makes a rhythm – a repetitive sound at regular intervals. Patrick likes using the word rhythm over just repetition because it captures the beauty of the structure found in design.  “Use materials – both plants and hardscape – that build a common language within the design,” he says about the best way to find a design rhythm for a space. “Create masses of plants, like grasses or shrubs, to create the foundation. Then add repeating elements, like a particular tree species or stone paving pattern, to create strong, architectural lines.”

The repetition and mix of textures of European hornbeams and Cassian grass provide an architectural, eye-catching border. Save

The repetition and mix of textures of European hornbeams and Cassian grass provide an architectural, eye-catching border.

The repetition of materials is anything but dull in this inviting path to the entrance. Save

The repetition of materials is anything but dull in this inviting path to this home’s entrance.

Indiana limestone stepping stones over crushed stone flanked by grasses and a row of redbuds make this a satisfyingly beautiful walk at any time of year. Save

Indiana limestone stepping stones over crushed stone flanked by grasses and a row of redbuds make this a satisfyingly beautiful walk at any time of year.

2. It’s all in the details.

Just like the wrong shade of lipstick, or adding one too many bangles, details can make or break a landscape design. “A good design becomes great design when the details are well-considered,” Patrick says. “The most important place to remember is when materials come together. Paving can be thought of as a carpet. Stone details can be sculptural. But when these meetings are overlooked in the design process, elements can seem disconnected or even simply won’t work in the build phase structurally. Well done detail work is the key to elegant, functional landscape design.”

Even a transition from drive to walk can be elegant with the right materials. This design features Indiana limestone and brick in a running bond and herringbone pattern.Save

Even a transition from drive to walk can be elegant with the right materials. This design features Indiana limestone and brick in a running bond and herringbone pattern.

The detail found in this hand-carved Indiana limestone is the defining element of this pool. Save

The detail found in this hand-carved Indiana limestone is the defining element of this pool.

More views of the detail of this client's pool with hand-arved Indiana limestone.Save

More views of the detail of this client’s pool with hand-carved Indiana limestone.

A patterned brick drive that meets granite cobblestones.Save

A patterned brick drive that meets granite cobblestones

3. Think about texture and shape.

Flowers are seductive – that’s their purpose, right? But don’t get distracted by them. Go for the long-term when selecting what to plant. “Flowering is almost always just one stage – and often a short-lived one – so prioritize the texture of leaves or the limb structure of a tree so your garden is beautiful year-round,” offers Patrick. “The same advice goes for hardscaping materials. Go for naturally beautiful textures and simple, geometric shapes. Combine hardscaping materials judiciously. More than two can become confusing to the eye.”

This Indiana bluestone and crushed stone walk combines beautifully with the texture and shape of boxwoods, and classic hydrangeas. Save

This Indiana bluestone and crushed stone walk combines beautifully with the texture and shape of boxwoods and classic hydrangeas.

This sunken garden mingles crushed limestone with evergreen shrubs (pencil hollies, boxwoods, junipers) and catmint in a cor-ten steel container.

Crab apple trees provide interesting structure in a carpet of coral bells and variegated hostas.

Crab apple trees provide interesting structure in a carpet of coral bells and variegated hostas.

Heart-shaped hostas contrast beautifully with blade-like liriope leaves.

Heart-shaped hostas contrast beautifully with thin blade-like liriope leaves.

 

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