14 Easy Landscaping Ideas to Create Lots of Visual Variety

easy landscaping idea bold red yellow green colored flowers

When you need some inspiration for how to use plants in your garden for maximum impact, try a few of these ideas. They'll help you to use basic design concepts to create a gorgeous landscape.

01 of 14

Create Swaths of Color

deck and grass path to seating
Brian Gomsak. Brian Gomsak

One of the easiest landscape ideas to implement is to grow big swaths of the same plant for bold interest. Here, for example, this planting bed offers a bold burst of chartreuse from a mass of golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'). It's contrasted (in color and texture) by a planting of blue fescue (Festuca 'Elijah Blue').

02 of 14

Repeat Colors and Textures

landscaped grass leading up to deck
Brian Gomsak. Brian Gomsak

Planting one of everything gives your garden a hodgepodge look. Avoid that by reusing the same colors, shapes, or plant varieties all around your landscape. Here's a perfect example: To the left of the deck, golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') echoes the color of golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'). The sweet flag amplifies the texture of the blue fescue (Festuca 'Elijah Blue'), which plays off the silvery-blue color of a potted false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Baby Blue'). The shape of the false cypress, in turn, is a repeat of the Japanese maple next to the deck.

03 of 14

Make Plants Do Double Duty

rock wall framing garden path
Laurie Black Photography. Laurie Black Photography

If your yard has limited space, it's important to make the most of it! One key landscape idea is to take advantage of plants that serve more than one purpose. This espaliered apple tree, for example, offers privacy from the neighbor on the other side of it, provides an attractive backdrop for the curve in a path, and in autumn, gives a harvest of delicious apples.

04 of 14

Contrast Bold Colors

multiple-layered garden with pot
Laurie Black Photography

One of the easiest and most basic landscaping ideas: Create contrasts. Also, consider color; when you pair rich burgundy-purple with chartreuse, the gold hues seem to become brighter and the purple tones seem to become richer and darker. Together the colors are much more effective than when used alone.

05 of 14

Add a Few Whimsical Plants

white fence covered with vine
Brian Gomsak. Brian Gomsak

As a gardening idea, enhance what plants do naturally. Espalier is a perfect example of this. Here, for example, a simple climbing rose goes from ordinary to extraordinary with some careful training and pruning. Don't worry: It's easier than it looks (it just takes some pruning once or twice a year) and makes a big impact.

06 of 14

Mix Materials

back yard japanese garden
Jon Jensen Photography. Jon Jensen Photography

You can easily add a level of interest to your yard by incorporating a variety of plants and hardscape materials. Here, the natural feel of lawn and cut flagstones makes for an eye-catching contrast against smooth Mexican beach pebbles and gravel. The color of the flagstone mimics that of the beach pebbles and ties the two together; it's an example of using repetition.

07 of 14

Play with Geometry

formal garden with palm trees
Ginny Weiler. Ginny Weiler

Take advantage of lines, shapes, and angles when reviewing your gardening ideas and laying out your yard to add drama and impact. Here, a square patch of lush green groundcover stands out when lined with palm trees and edged in smooth beach pebbles. This is a simple landscaping idea for the front of the house⁠, too; just run a walkway between the trees up to the front door.

08 of 14

Frame Your Garden with Hedges and Fences

formal garden with curving hedge
Richard Felber. Richard Felber

Add interest to your yard with structures. Use low fences or hedges, for example, to divide spaces, and give each space or room its own unique identity. Plus, the structures add interest all year long. In this playful example, curvaceous boxwood hedges draw the eye into the garden and look attractive every day of the year.

09 of 14

Make the Most of Trees and Shrubs

well planted entryway multiple bushes
Jon Jensen Photography. Jon Jensen Photography

Trees and shrubs are some of the most important players in a well designed landscape. It's easy to use them to make an impact, especially if you select varieties that have colorful foliage. Go a step further with some creative pruning. Here, for example, sheared golden false cypress and columnar holly make for a delightful contrast against sheared purple barberry.

10 of 14

Place Garden Beds In Your Lawn

landscaped grasses on slope
Edmund Barr Photography. Edmund Barr Photography

It's easy to plan all your beds and borders along the perimeter of your property, but adding an island bed that floats in your lawn is a simple landscaping idea for a good-looking yard. Make island beds extra effective by adding height to the center. Plus, you need to walk around the planting to see what's behind it, so it adds a bit of mystery.

11 of 14

Freshen Up Planting Beds With Containers

garden bed with blue pot
Peter Krumhardt. Peter Krumhardt

If you have container gardens, chances are they're on your porch, entryway, deck, patio, or balcony. Too few gardeners consider mixing containers into their beds and borders. Large, colorful glazed or plastic containers add a bright splash, even without blooms. You can move them around to highlight different parts of your yard, plus it's easy to change out container gardens each season to liven up a tired look.

12 of 14

Mix and Match Plant Textures

lush garden path with evergreens
Jon Jensen Photography. Jon Jensen Photography

Our eyes are attracted to color and many gardeners stop there. But it's easy to add another layer of interest to your garden by incorporating texture. This landscaping idea features tidy mounds of blue fescue, punctuated by an upright pyramid of Colorado blue spruce and dwarf black pine. A potted variegated yucca repeats the texture of the grass and adds in a new color.

13 of 14

Break Up Monotony With Boldly Shaped Plants

lush garden path with evergreens
Jon Jensen Photography. Jon Jensen Photography

Embrace plant shapes, and use them in your landscape ideas. Tuck in a few tall, upright plants to draw the eye up and break up the monotony that comes along with using a lot of mounding shrubs and perennials. Design yards with weeping plants, too: They add excitement, visual energy, and a unique graceful shape to your yard.

14 of 14

Plant Shades of Green

sweeping lawn with trees and garden beds
David McDonald

Using a variety of shades of green helps add depth to your plantings. Bright chartreuse greens (as seen in these 'Frisia' honey locust trees) catch the eye and stand out in the landscape, especially compared to the darker, richer tones often found in evergreens. Blue-greens add a softness and almost always harmonize well with other shades of the color.

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