Beginner’s Guide to Landscaping

by Jack Grover
outdoor garden landscape image
Reading time: 11 min Prefer to listen?

Gardening is more than just a hobby. It is an art, an expression of your personal style, and a way to connect with nature.

As you delve into the world of landscaping, you’ll realize that with a little effort and creative thinking, you can transform your yard into an enchanting oasis of tranquility.

Our Beginner’s Guide to Landscaping is an easy-to-follow roadmap designed to guide you through the essentials of this exciting process. Below, you’ll find valuable tips and advice to help you plan and create your dream yard.

So, if you want to bring your vision to life and create an outdoor oasis you’ll love spending time in, read on.

Key Takeaways

  • Planning out your landscaping process is vital, including setting a budget, understanding your space, and sketching out your ideals.
  • Design styles should align with your property architecture.
  • Creating wildlife habitats can contribute to biodiversity and enhance the beauty of your landscape.
  • Hardscaping elements should not only be aesthetic but also functional, assisting the flow of movement in your yard.
  • Consistent landscape maintenance, including regular watering, pruning, weeding, and fertilizing, ensures the longevity and beauty of your outdoor space.

Starting With the Basics

As you begin planning your landscape, it’s important to understand the basics of landscaping. Doing so will help you make informed decisions and create a beautiful outdoor space.

One of the key elements of landscaping is planning.

Start by allocating a notebook as your landscaping or garden journal. Use it to jot down ideas, inspirations, and sketches. It will help you keep track of your goals and learn from past mistakes.

Assessing Your Space

Take some time to sit out in your yard and just observe with your garden journal in hand.

Look around and take note of the landscape features, like hills and low spots. Keep in mind privacy considerations and how the sun moves around your property. Write down these observations on your map.

Once you’ve observed your yard, it’s time to do some research.

Pick up gardening magazines, watch home and garden shows, and visit horticulture shows for design inspiration. Take note of any shrubs, structures, or ideas you’d like to try in your landscape.

Next, set goals for your landscaping project.

Think about your current needs and dream big about the future plans for your yard. Sketch out some ideas on your landscape map in your garden journal.

Lastly, consider your budget.

Determine what you can reasonably afford to allocate toward your landscaping project. Keep in mind that it’s best to start small and take your time to enjoy the process.

Designing Your Landscape

When it comes to designing your landscape, there are three key points to consider: landscape design styles, choosing the right plants, and incorporating wildlife habitats.

bird sitting in garden

Landscape Design Styles

Consider the architecture of your home and think about the design style you desire before selecting plants and planning pathways for your landscape.

To help you envision your ideal landscape design, here are some key elements to consider:

  • Clean, straight lines give a modern appeal, with ornamental grasses and shrubs complementing a monochromatic color scheme.
  • Curvy garden beds and pathways create a more natural feel.
  • Hedges can provide a friendly privacy barrier.
  • Adding a fence can enhance both privacy and safety, with various options available, such as stockade, picket, wrought iron, chain link, and post and beam.

Choosing the Right Plants

To choose the right plants for your landscape, start by considering the types of plants you would like to have in your space. Think about whether you want annuals that you’ll need to replant each year or perennials that will come back stronger each year.

Pay attention to the height of the plants and make sure to place taller varieties toward the rear of the garden. Also, determine if you want to plant climbing plants and what structures you’ll need to support them.

Adequate spacing is crucial, especially for perennials, trees, and shrubs, as overcrowding can become a problem.

Consider the color scheme and textures you want in your plantings, and remember that odd-numbered groupings tend to have more visual appeal.

Incorporating Wildlife Habitats

Don’t forget to incorporate wildlife habitats into your landscape design to attract birds, bees, and butterflies. Creating a welcoming environment for these creatures adds beauty to your yard, helps control the insect population, and supports pollination.

Here are some simple steps to incorporate wildlife habitats:

  1. Fill up bird feeders or hang suet to attract a variety of birds.
  2. Plant perennials like salvia, bee balm, rudbeckia, and Shasta daisies.
  3. Add a birdbath for birds to drink and bathe in.
  4. Install birdhouses to provide safe nesting spaces for birds.

Implementing Hardscaping Elements

stone stairs in outdoor garden

When implementing hardscaping elements in your landscape, start by sketching out a map of your yard and include permanent structures like walkways, patios, and pools.

Doing this will give you a clear visual representation of your space and help you plan where to place these elements.

Consider the flow of your yard and how people will move through it. Think about creating a cohesive design that blends well with the natural surroundings.

Also, it’s essential to consider the functionality of these hardscaping elements.

For example, your walkways should be wide enough for comfortable passage, and your patio should be large enough for outdoor seating and entertaining.

Caring for Your Landscape

Take the time to establish a regular maintenance routine for your landscape. This way, you can take proper care of your plants, trees, and other elements.

Here are some key practices to keep in mind:

  • Water your plants and trees regularly, making sure they receive the right amount of hydration.
  • Trim and prune your plants to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth.
  • Remove weeds and unwanted vegetation to keep your landscape looking neat and tidy.
  • Fertilize your plants and trees to give them the nutrients for optimal growth.


Landscaping is an exciting journey that allows you to explore your creativity while enhancing your home’s aesthetic appeal. This beginner’s guide offers foundational knowledge essential to kickstart your landscaping venture.

With careful planning, design, and maintenance, you’ll be on your way to creating an enchanting outdoor oasis.


Can I do landscaping without professional help?

Absolutely! With sufficient research, planning, and a little creativity, you can undertake a landscaping project on your own.

However, for complex projects, you might need professional guidance.

How long should I expect a landscaping project to take?

The duration of a landscaping project greatly depends on its complexity. A simple project might take a few days or weeks, whereas a complete garden overhaul could take several months.

Does landscaping increase property value?

A well-landscaped yard can significantly increase property value. It enhances curb appeal, making your home more attractive to potential buyers.

How often should I water my plants in the landscape?

Watering frequency depends on the type of plants in your garden, the soil type, and the climate.

As a general rule, it’s better to water deeply and infrequently rather than little and often.

What’s the best time of year to start a landscaping project?

It greatly depends on your climate and the plants you plan to use. Generally, spring and fall are considered good times to start landscaping projects due to milder weather.

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