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example of the 5 basic elements of landscape design

An aesthetic landscape design incorporates five key elements: line, form, texture, color and scale. The perfect balance of these design features appeals to the eye and brings harmony to a space.


In landscaping, lines can be used to control movement, such as a walkway, path or flower bed. They can also highlight a design feature like a pond, pool or fire pit. Lines add visual interest because they can take various shapes – straight, curved, horizontal, diagonal. Straight lines tend to create a more formal design, while curved lines fit well with an informal landscape. They can be created with hardscape materials (pavers, natural stone) or vegetation.


Form refers to the shape of the plant or hardscape feature. Plants are available in many forms – upright, groundcover, round, freeform. Hardscape forms can be in various heights and shapes: think stone paths, retaining walls, and pergolas. A balanced landscape design carefully considers use of form. For example, a more formal garden could include more structured, trimmed shrubs, while an informal yard would feature more natural and flowing plants. The combination of forms is what helps lay the foundation for the landscape design.


As color tends to truly capture the eye, it is a key element in landscape design. When incorporating color, it is important to consider the four seasons. While flowers and plants in varying hues make a wonderful summer garden, you will also want to be sure to include vegetation that will offer color during the other seasons, such as evergreens, conifers and holly. The color of hardscape also plays a role in the design. Are you looking for something that stands out like a crystal blue pool or something more subtle such as natural stepping stones?


Texture applies to both softscape and hardscape. By texture we mean whether the plant or design feature is hard, soft, fine, course, heavy, light, rough, smooth, etc. Leaf structure, flowers, bark, and stone surface all have texture. Incorporating a variety of plant and hardscape textures adds a layer of dimension to the design.


Varying heights and widths enhances the overall design composition. The scale of your hardscape and softscape additions must also complement and fit with the size of your home, yard and existing landscape features.

If you live in the Rockland County, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey area, Curti’s Landscaping can assist you with your landscape / hardscape design and installation. Give us a call to schedule a consultation.