Top 7 Design Tips for Great Outdoor Spaces

Good design is good design – indoors or out. And since this is the time of year when so many of us have turned our attention to our outdoor spaces, here are the Top 7 Design Tips for Great Exterior Spaces. Follow this advice and you, too will be belting out that outdoor landscaping Toe Tapper, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses!”


1.    Don’t Make Landscaping an Afterthought

Starting this weekend, do a walk-through with pen & paper in hand. Consider all that is and is not working in your landscape NOW so you can make a methodical plan for its enhancement in the current and upcoming planting seasons.

2.    Make a 3 Year Plan and a 5 Year Plan

Gardens, like Rome, were not built in a day. Design is not fast. Gardens are even slower. And, it’s expensive to build Rome in a day, so who needs the aggravation?

3.    Remember the Power of Repetition In All Good Design

Try to repeat architectural elements from your home into your outdoor landscape. A brick path on a brick house is handsome; a stone retaining wall at the back garden to echo the field stone façade creates richness. Repetition in design is a key to rhythm and harmony. Repeat colors through the garden instead of showing them just once in a single location. Move the eye.

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4.   Create Natural Screens

Create natural screens of large evergreens for side and back windows so you have beautiful indoor views and privacy from the neighbors. This also simplifies drapery needs indoors.

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5.   Create Small, Private Sitting Areas

If your property is large, look for opportunities to create small, private sitting areas. People crave cozy…even those living in larger homes need warm cozy places to perch indoors. The outdoors works the same way.

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6.    Watch Your Proportions

Larger homes need larger sized landscaping elements, otherwise the results look anemic.

7.    Hire a Pro

Beyond your vegetable garden and “puttering spot” – hire a pro. Sorry to my DIY-ers! Professionals in your area already know and understand what does and does not grow well in your region. They will see things you don’t see, understand things you don’t understand and be able to help you map out that long-range plan.

I’d love to see your outdoor spaces. Please send them to me at I may post a few in the coming weeks!

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