Simple Garden Designs

By its very nature, simple garden design is based on awareness that less is actually more. Its intention is not to create grandiose adventures in outdoor living, nor any wild sense of the exotic. Instead, it focuses on the basic senses of sight, sound, and smell that blend together into a desired state of mind.

Geometry is also very basic, even to the point of being downright plain in some cases. Colors are attractive but never overdone. They suggest experience without overwhelming the eyes.

Simple garden design is derived from the evident features of home architecture. This is not to say that vegetation patterns represent a one-to-one correspondence with walls, windows, and rooftops. An asymmetrical balance may also be struck, where curved elements compliment lines and angles, or vice versa.

Not only does this style of gardening strike a balance between architecture and lawn elements, but it also helps create focal points for special areas of interest. Focal points are very important because they help accentuate hardscapes, outdoor rooms, buildings, and special monumentation that may otherwise go unnoticed at first glance.

For example, if you have an outdoor kitchen, a simple garden design around the front entrance is a living welcome mat to summer guests. Focal points are also very useful in notating fountains and outdoor art. In very large yards, they can even be used to create zones of interest where guests feel more comfortable in a theme setting as opposed to a sense of being overwhelmed by too much space.

When it comes to adding such a garden to your yard, one thing you absolutely must be careful about is anyone that promises you the moon for rock bottom prices. People that offer cheap gardening services are basically selling you the plants, not a quality garden design.


The problem starts with an assumption that simple garden design means something they can be simply purchased in a nursery and installed in a do-it-yourself fashion. A nursery or lawn service company will be operated by genuinely well-intentioned people that are more than willing to offer you all sorts of complimentary advice on how to install your new plants around porches, gazebos, patios, and in the corners of your yard.

As altruistic as this truly is, it will not bring you quality results. In almost every case, you will end up with a collection of pretty plants and flowers that does not fit the aesthetic of your landscape design as a whole.

This is why it is better to have a professional garden designer develop something for you whose size, geometry, texture, and sensory fits within the context of a larger landscape master plan

Such an expert can also integrate simple garden design into other forms of landscape development such as hardscapes. In some patios, designers can remove some of the patio materials and either install plants in the opening or build masonry planters that rise up from the patio surface. We often see this done in outdoor fireplace patios, where the vertical impact of planters compliments that of the fireplace.

With other patios, however, gardens are planted as borders. Swimming pool patios, for instance, witness too much human traffic for plants to grow safely. Here, it is better to install garden materials that contribute accent and form to the surface in order to integrate the inorganic structure of the patio with the surrounding lawn and general landscape beyond.