What are the 3 Major Principles of Landscape Design?

Landscape design is all about creating beautiful and functional spaces outdoors. There are three major principles that all landscape designers should follow: proportion, order, and balance. Each of these principles is important in its own right, and if you understand them well, you will be able to create beautiful landscapes that are functional and fit the scale of the property in question. In this article, we will discuss each of these principles in detail and give you some examples of how they can be applied in real-world situations.


Proportion is one of the most important principles of landscape design. It refers to the size and scale of the various elements in your landscape. Everything from the width of your paths to the height of your trees should be in proportion with each other and with the overall size of your property. This will create a sense of balance and harmony in your landscape. 

One way to achieve proper proportion is by using the Golden Ratio, which is a mathematical formula that has been used by artists and architects for centuries. The Golden Ratio is all about creating relationships between things that are pleasing to the eye. If you can find objects in your landscape that have a similar ratio, they will look good together. For example, if you have a tree that is 20 feet tall, you could plant a bush that is 12 feet tall next to it. 

Another way to achieve proportion is by using symmetry. This is when you create two identical halves on either side of an imaginary line. This can be done with your path, your planting beds, or even the layout of your entire property. Symmetrical design is very pleasing to the eye and can make a small space look larger than it is. 

By using the Golden Ratio or symmetry, you can create a beautiful and functional landscape.


Another major principle of landscape design is order. This refers to the way things are arranged in your landscape. You want to create a sense of hierarchy, with the most important elements at the top and the least important elements at the bottom. This will give your landscape a sense of structure and allow people to navigate easily. 

There are several ways to achieve order in your landscape. One way is by using repetition. Repetition can be used for both form and texture. If you have a certain shape or texture that you like, you can use it more than once in your landscape. This will create a cohesive look and make your garden feel unified. 

Another way to create order is by using contrast. Contrast can be used to create visual interest and to draw the eye to certain elements in your landscape. For example, you can use light-colored rocks against a dark background or tall plants against a short fence. Using contrast, you can highlight the features you want people to see first. 


Balance refers to the way the various elements in your landscape are distributed. You want to create a sense of balance so that no one element overpowers the others. This will give your landscape a feeling of stability and harmony. 

There are two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical. You can achieve symmetrical balance when both sides of your landscape are identical. Asymmetrical balance is when the two sides are different but still have a sense of visual stability. 

You can achieve symmetrical balance by using repetition or similar colors and shapes on both sides of your garden. For example, you can plant two rows of identical trees on either of your paths. Or, you can use two different types of flowers in your planting beds, but make sure they have the same color palette. 

Asymmetrical balance can be created by using contrast or dissimilar shapes and sizes. For example, you can place a large tree in the middle of your garden and surround it with smaller plants. Or, you can use various shapes to create an interesting landscape design. 

By using balance, you can create a visually appealing and harmonious garden.

Proportion, order, and balance are the three major principles of landscape design. By following these principles, you can create a landscape that is both beautiful and functional. With a little bit of planning, you can transform an outdoor space into an oasis that can be enjoyed for years to come. 

In this regard, also read: How to Choose a Landscape Designer That is Right for You

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