Landscape Like a Pro

By Lauren Caggiano on May, 26 2021
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website:

Landscaping can add curb appeal to any home. But it takes some savvy and skill to create looks that work for your space. Keep these expert tips in mind to curate a look that commands attention:

Start with a Plan

Survey your property. What are your needs, wants, and desires when it comes to landscape design? You’ll need to take into account what’s feasible but also appealing. For instance, if you have a lot of direct sun in your backyard, certain plants will fare better than others. The same consideration needs to be given to seasonal factors. For instance, some flowers bloom in spring, while others open up in late summer. Mixing these varieties together can give you 5-6 months of flowers instead of just one. Evergreen shrubs, bushes, and vines can be year-round staples, so your yard doesn’t look bare in the winter months.

Create a Focal Point

Whether it’s a hardscape or a stately tree, you’ll want to design the landscape with a visual draw in mind. Usually, it’s a front door or entrance of some kind. It’s important to strike a balance between having too many plants and a design that looks sparse. Also, think in terms of color, texture, size, and shapes when you look at the larger context. Our brains love curves, so avoiding harsh angles will create a look that’s naturally appealing.

Be Open to Change

Perhaps your design looked better on paper and didn’t really go as planned. That’s OK. Embrace failures and learn from them. No one gets it right the first time. You can always make adjustments as you go. A design is fluid, not static, after all. Plants are living organisms and therefore you need to be flexible as they evolve.

Make Use of Lighting

Lighting offers form and function. Ideally, the main visual elements are connected by walkways. This is where adding lighting can really kick things up a notch.

Invest in a Good Pair of Gloves

Quality gloves are non-negotiable for landscaping pros. Look for something well-fitted, and ideally with Nitrile coating, which offers good dexterity and grip while protecting you from injury, poison ivy, and chemical exposure.

Don’t Skimp on the Nozzle

A top-of-the-line nozzle will save you both time and water. It’s worth spending the money when it’s going to get used daily. Buy something more heavy-duty, like one made from solid brass.

Embrace Compost

Experts recommend using organic compost for planting beds and lawns as opposed to fertilizer, ideally 2-3 times a year. That’s because compost is made of natural organic material and adds back nutrients to your soil without harming the environment like a fertilizer does.

Stay Current on Trends

Landscape design— like interior design — changes with the times. You can read trade publications, blogs, and lawn and garden websites to stay abreast of trends and how to translate them into your environment.

These tips can put you on the right track, but remember that, ultimately, it’s your design. What matters is you like it and get the most value out of it.