With some basic tips, even a beginner can master landscaping to improve the appearance and value of his or her home. The task of creating a landscape that complements your home and meets your needs may seem daunting. However, following a few basic landscaping principles can start you moving in the right direction.
Begin your landscaping with a plan for the entire area including fixed features such as your house, fence, deck and walkways. Although you can begin landscaping in a small area, it is best to keep the long-term plan in mind. In developing your plan, consider the final look you want to achieve. Do you want a formal look or a natural one? Formal landscapes place plants in geometric patterns or straight lines balanced around fixed features, while natural landscapes use curved lines or ragged edges.
Landscapes need transitions between areas. A transition is a gradual change in pattern or line, such as increasing the height of plants toward a focal point at an entrance or an area around a fountain or tree. Balance plants on either side of a focal point using symmetry and repetition in formal designs. For informal designs, balance can be achieved with groupings of similar color or texture.
Select plants that offer variations in color and texture throughout the year, so that the landscaped areas always have visual interest. You can choose flowering plants for warm weather color and bushes with leaves that change color seasonally or have colored berries in winter. Formal landscapes need evergreen plants for the major elements, with spots of color added by border plants.
Once your landscape plan is complete, purchase plants locally to ensure they are correct for your geographic area. Choose plants that require the amount of care you want to provide such as pruning, watering and soil preparation.