DIY Landscape Design for Your Yard - Eshelman Mill
DIY Landscape Design

With a little research and a lot of hard work, you can plan a DIY landscape design that adds curb appeal to your home.

What makes a landscape design a stand out? Is it the variety of plants and grasses that cover the whole yard? Is it the fence that seems to frame the whole garden? Or is it the fountain that sits right in the middle of every plant, grass, and evergreen? The answer is not an individual element, but how these individual elements are combined to make a great looking DIY landscape design.

See also: Download our guide to creating a backyard oasis.

Here are the five key elements that your DIY landscape design must have to look professional and appealing.

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Unity or harmony means that all the components in the design go together as one. To achieve unity, repetition and mass planting should be used in your DIY landscape design. There’s a consistency in the style. There’s a harmonious combination of colors, lines and elements. This is the most important thing in the over all design.

Focal Point

Your DIY landscape design should have a focal point. A focal point gives direction the lines of the whole landscape design. A big tree, a brightly-colored flower bed, a pool or pond, or a water feature are popular focal points in landscape design. The focal point in your DIY landscape design should also direct the traffic in the garden area.


Proportion refers to the size of the parts of the landscape design in respect to one another. For example, a small, pondless waterfall would be lost at the middle of an expansive garden with large trees and shrubs. A large oak tree, on the other hand, would dwarf a modest home. The relationship of each part should be a reasonable size and should not dominate the other parts of the design.

Symmetry and Balance

Symmetry and balance are important elements that can throw off your entire plan if not used properly. There are some DIY landscape designs that look “off.” They lack symmetry and balance. The curves and lines are tiring; the use of plants and groundcovers are helter-skelter; or there’s just too much of a single element. To achieve balance, your DIY landscape design should have attractive lines, shapes, textures, forms and color.


A landscape design shouldn’t look out of place for your neighborhood or property. Simplicity is the key. Keeping your DIY landscape design simple helps you focus on the elements of good design that we just discussed.

Tips for Planning Your Landscape Design

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, a well-designed landscape can increase the value of the home by 15%. Plus, a house with an attractive landscape design sells faster. Here are some important tips for completing your DIY landscape design.

1.) Sketch your plan. On graph paper, draw a sketch of your garden. Draw your streets, walks, patios, driveways, utilities and your house. Identify the different areas of your garden where you will use different landscape elements, like lawns, flower beds, trees, plants, evergreens and play areas.

2.) Research. Scour the internet and magazines for help. There are numerous articles on websites that offer tips on how to create your own design. Use their shortcuts to make your task easier.

3.) Select a good focal point. As we said above, every good DIY landscape design should have a focal point. It can be tree or a flower bed. You can also use a fountain or a pond. Plus, running water creates a soothing and relaxing sound.

DIY Landscape Design Pond

4.) Create zones. Divide your garden into zones so you can group together plants that have similar needs. For instance, one zone is for plants who prefer moist soil in the shade. Using zones can also help you install your DIY landscape design in phases.

5.) Make improvements. Identify parts of your yard that need improvement. If your yard or garden has an unsightly utility area, for instance, try masking it with a hedge or a wall. Take this opportunity to create vertical interest by adding a trellis that will support vines, such as Morning Glory.

6.) Use color. The design of your garden landscape should be coordinated with the color and style of your house. Add the color of plants and flowers you will use, the type and size of the trees you will plant, and the type of ground cover you will plant to your design.

7.) Make a shopping list. Before shopping, make sure that you list everything you need from your DIY landscape design. Purchase only healthy plants. Settling for cheaper plants that are unhealthy will only waste your time and money in the long run.

8.) Add a water supply. Finally, make sure your DIY landscape design can be easily maintained. Design an irrigation system so that each plant gets an adequate water supply. Your watering system could be soaker hoses or sprinklers that are well-placed.

Advanced Landscape Design Ideas

There are lots of factors to consider when planning a DIY landscape design. You need to consider your budget, personal design taste, the climate of the region, the layout of the yard, how will the yard be used, etc. However, there are elements you can add that will take your design up a notch.

1.) Year-round interest. Select trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses and groundcovers that provide interest all year, even in winter. Try to avoid installing plants that bloom or leaf out during the same season. Choosing plants that show color, in blooms or berries or leaves, at different times of the year will provide interest in every season.

2.) Plant evergreens. Evergreens provide continuity and color to your yard. They provide winter interest and can protect your home against glaring sun or howling winds.

DIY Landscape Design Evergreens

3.) Vary heights. Try planting in three rows of varying heights. The front should be made up of the shortest plants. Then the middle row has taller plants, with the back row made up of the tallest plants. You can apply this throughout the design of your yard to provide unity.

4.) Use odd numbers. Plant formations in odd numbers are more attractive than even numbers.

5.) Add color. Brightly colored flowers give life to your yard. Select a diversity of flowers for all four seasons, whether perennials or annuals.

6.) Add hardscape. Hardscaped areas, like patios and walkways, are not only functional but also help delineate spaces in your design. Walls, arbors, decks and patios are important to highlight your landscape design.

7.) Add water. The hottest trend today is the use of water as the focal point of a landscape design. Not only it is visually appealing, but water emits a soothing sound. Installing one is fairly easy. Build your own waterfall and pond in a weekend or purchase a stand-alone fountain.

8.) Consult a professional. Although a DIY landscape design is possible, sometimes you need professional help. Give us a call at (717) 951-5950 for a free, no-strings-attached estimate. We’ll work with you on all or only parts of the job. You can also contact us via this website.

See also: Download our guide to creating a backyard oasis.

DIY Landscape Design for Your Yard

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