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Top 5 Landscaping Themes for Your Yard

Anyone planning to design a new landscape for their yard understands how challenging it can be to get started and how challenging it can be to create a consistent look.  With so many options available to you, it just might make your job a whole lot easier if you decide to stick to one of our top 5 landscaping themes for your yard.

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Landscape Themes Vary

We know that themes vary widely, and only our imagination can limit our vision. However, you shouldn’t worry so much about the challenges of picking a theme because once you’ve finally decided on it, all the great ideas will flow naturally.

You should also be aware that while choosing a theme may help you decide on certain elements that you want to incorporate into your landscape, it isn’t necessary to select a specific theme and adhere strictly to it. You can always create your landscape the way you envision it. 

Choosing a theme simply helps you make decisions and helps keep the look of your property more consistent.  We’ve all seen the properties that are just a jumble of plants and beds with no real order or theme.  This can detract from your yard’s value and be very visually distracting.

Add Your Own Personality

A beautiful landscape is an excellent addition to your already beautiful home infrastructure. With a theme, a personality will be added to the garden as it sets the property’s tone.

Here we have a carefully crafted list of the top 5 most popular themes that will help you envision the future landscape of your dreams.

1. Mediterranean style

If you love the styles of Greece, Italy, and Spain and if you have wanted to move to these places but can’t, why not decide to bring these countries right to your backyard? You can create a landscaped garden that resembles a lot of the places mentioned, and the theme that is perfect for that is the Mediterranean style.

Mediterranean-style gardens scream elegance. Landscapes in this theme are inspired by combining laid-back softscapes with formal accents. Some of the Mediterranean garden’s popular features are the tiered fountains, bocce ball courts, Roman columns, herb gardens, and terra cotta pots and colors.

The most common softscapes used in this theme are plants that provide vibrance, texture, and structure. You can pick out citrus trees alongside cypress trees and ornamental grasses for your Mediterranean property.

The people in the Mediterranean love to socialize, dine outdoors, and do gardening. With that, bocce ball courts are prevalent in this style. This is an Italian game that can be traced back to the Roman Empire.

Rome is well known for its majestic Trevi fountain, which has inspired many landscapes in European courtyards to have tiered fountains of their own. These tiered fountains are usually situated mid-yard and become the center of attention with their carvings and statues.

With Italian and French people preparing such scrumptious meals, it is not surprising that they grow herb gardens in their backyards. In the past, the people near the Mediterranean use to grow herbs for culinary purposes and medicinal reasons.

With the greenery from the softscapes and the terra cotta colors’ warmth, this theme will surely make you feel like you live in the Mediterranean regions.

2. Tropical style

Many of us dream of tropical beaches when we think of vacations.  If your climate will allow it, why not bring the vacation to your yard? Tropical-themed backyards will make you feel like it’s summer all year long.

A tropical-themed landscape’s fundamental elements are foliage, vibrant colors, and any form of water feature.  A beautiful pond surrounded by colorful blooms and lush greenery sounds about right.

Be aware that you need to keep your climate at the top of your mind when considering this garden theme.  It does you no good to dream tropical if you live in Zone 5.

Lush foliage is the most popular feature of a tropical garden. Large leaves of many beautiful and healthy-looking shades of green, along with contrasting textures of both large-leafed and long-stemmed plants.

It is crucial to break up the lush green foliage with bright shots of color by using large bloomed flowering plants.  Fill the area with plants of varying heights to create that lush, full tropical feel.

You can pick out palm trees to provide shade in your garden. There are many tropical garden plants to choose from to achieve the rainforest or jungle-themed look that you desire.

You can start with planting caladiums as they are vibrantly colorful and will add a pop of color to your lush and lavish greenery. Hostas are also a great option as they are colorful and are, most importantly, considered to be hardy plants thus making it a perfect and safe choice for a tropical garden in colder areas. Cold hardy plants with broad and lush leaves can give you a tropical garden look even if you are on the fringes of an area considered semi-tropical.

Should you wish to have plants native to tropical regions and your climate won’t support them, you can pick out garden plants that can be wintered indoors. Plumeria, cannas, colocasia, and lilies are some examples. You can simply return them to your garden in spring.

It is also essential to remember that colors should be kept vibrant. Bright yellows, oranges, and reds should be used as accents to your garden as they resemble the tropical birds in rain forests. You should pick out Japanese and Siberian iris plants, which have slender leaves with flowers that highly resemble butterflies.

It is also vital to add water elements in a tropical-themed garden. Depending on your property’s size and layout, you may want to consider a pool, pond, waterfall, or even a fountain.  The sound of flowing water will spread relaxation throughout your garden.

3. Japanese Zen Style

The Japanese love to meditate so much that they bring meditation to their backyard. Nothing else says calm better than a Japanese zen-inspired garden. Since it focuses on minimalist designs, it is arguably the most straightforward garden style to maintain

.Japanese zen gardens are designed for peaceful thinking. They are traditional gardens from Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto philosophies and beliefs that can provide a spiritual haven for those who wish to visit.

You can add a Karetaki, or dry waterfalls, to your garden to create a Japanese zen look. A Karetaki can be created by designing and arranging stones, gravel, and sand to symbolize a waterfall but without the water.

 To build on the waterfall idea, you can incorporate a dry stream bed at the end of the dry waterfalls. A layer of white sand or gravel can create the dry stream. This is called Karenagare, which means raked sand.

Kogetsudai can be placed in your Japanese zen garden. This is gravel shaped into cones that represent the mountains of Japan.

 Rock sculptures, or Karensusai, are also important in a Japanese zen garden. Rocks can symbolize the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth.

Reisho rocks can be used to symbolize the firmness of metal.

Taido are tall rocks that stand for wood and are often designed and arranged with reishoi.

Earth can be symbolized by kikyakui rocks, which are turned onto their sides on the ground.

Flat shintai rocks will represent flowing water.

Shigyo rocks symbolize fire.

To create a contrasting effect to the gray tones of the earlier mentioned features, moss and evergreens can be added to create a pop of green color. Japanese maple trees and azaleas are great accents also.

It is important to pick perspective and focal points in Japanese zen gardens. Be aware of where you will view your garden from and what elements your vision will be drawn to.  Plan ahead and create sitting areas in just the right spots to place your guests at the absolute perfect location to view and enjoy your Zen creation.

4. Italian style

Italian-themed landscapes are loosely based on the Renaissance to blend drama and elegance. Italian landscaping features classic and theatrical elements. Symmetry and order are essential characters in an Italian-themed garden. They are termed “formal” gardens and have heavily influenced the French-themed landscaping style.

You can use heavy iron gates to create a dramatic entrance.  This will provide a formal, structured look and give you much-needed privacy and security.

Upon entering your garden, noticing a citrus scent will engrain the memory of your Italian garden on your guests’ olfactory memory, ensuring that they will envision your masterpiece every time that they catch that scent. The smell of sweet oranges, lemons, and grapefruit can add a wonderful fragrance to the air.

Italian-themed gardens heavily follow geometric and linear styles. Everything must be planned out, from the rows and columns of bushes down to the placement of statues and other hardscapes.  Ars topiaria (topiary) is an essential element of Italian gardens. This is the art of cutting plants such as shrubs and hedges to create precise shapes. They can turn it into classic shapes or even animals to use as decoration in the garden.

It is best to use yews, cypress, and boxwood plants for pruning because they are well suited to shearing and will last for a very long time if cared for properly. Through ars topiaria, the garden can be divided into symmetrical areas, private rooms, and even mazes that lead to secret gardens.

Another vital element is the pergola. This is a space designed for relaxation while being at least partially shaded from the harmful rays of the sun.  Climbing and blooming plants can make for a stunning sun shade that will also provide a soothing fragrance. You can choose to plant roses or evergreen ivy with lavender also.

While the typical Italian gardens are traditionally not surrounded by four walls because they are in open countrysides, you can undoubtedly make a very similar design work within the confines of your own yard. 

Remember to use strategically placed romantic and classic statues in your garden to provide focal points and intriguing corners. You may also add water elements such as stone pools, fountains, and elegant canals. This water element will create a calm vibe to soften the heavy symmetry.

5. Xeriscape Style

Xeriscape landscaping has been gaining popularity nowadays. This type of landscaping is used in places where water conservation must be followed, such as drought-susceptible states and countries. Because of climate change, a lot of households have switched to xeriscaping.

An essential element in this landscape theme is using less lawn grass. Lawn grasses don’t do well in arid climates without supplemental irrigation, making them ill-suited for xeriscaping.

Instead of having a lawn, you can create walkways made of stone and rocks. Native plants must also be used since they are already used to the local climate and have already adapted to the environment, thus needing less water than foreign plants.

Rock walls and terraces make great ways to break up a landscape comprised of mostly dry-loving plants.  Rocks are very eco-friendly as they look beautiful all year round, regardless of the precipitation.  The rock walls are great spaces for growing plants as the rocks will trap moisture in their crevices.

 Over time, these plants will grow and spill over the rock surfaces. This will form an artistic look and create a beautiful, flowing rock garden. Thyme, campanula, and lamium are some of the many plants that can thrive in rock gardens.

Succulents are also a great addition to your plant collection in your xeriscape-style garden. They require very little water and do not mind being under the hot sun.

It is best to place them in terra cotta pots for better moisture retention. However, clay and ceramic pots work well too. Putting them in containers will allow you to redecorate easily.

Mediterranean plants can also be included in your list of plants to collect as they enjoy plenty of sun and love being in sandy soils. Not only do they look pretty, but Mediterranean plants also provide other practical purposes, such as for your culinary needs. Thyme, rosemary, and oregano can be added to your herb garden.

Aside from picking out the right plants that will thrive in water conservation areas, it is imperative to plan out an effective water irrigation system if one is required. A well-built drip system buried in the ground will stay cool and conserve water.  A drip system can use up to 70% less water than a broadcast system.

The drip irrigation system is highly efficient as it drips water where it is needed at the plant’s roots rather than spraying the water through the air. 

This is Only a Taste

This is just a small taste of themes that you can choose from and remember that you don’t necessarily need to follow a theme; you can create the landscape in your own style, but be sure that as you plan your gardens, you keep consistency in mind.  Using similar and consistent looks throughout your garden will give it a calming and complete look rather than a confusing, cluttered look.