01 of 16
Landscaping Pictures: Wildflower Meadows
Landscaping pictures are worth a thousand words. Sometimes you can get ideas for front-yard landscaping design by looking at images of other people's DIY projects. Links to additional resources are included in the landscape design photo gallery, offering design tips and plant information. Click on any of the thumbnails in the gallery below to view the full-size version of the image.
This landscaping picture shows a wildflower meadow. Wildflower meadows are useful for filling extensive areas of your yard where you want low maintenance.
In the picture above of a wildflower meadow, the old tree in the background adds to the "country" feel of the scene. The old farm equipment items that have become such popular lawn ornaments would provide an appropriate accent here.
Thoughts on Wildflower Meadows
- While a more conventional groundcover could have been used in this landscape design, few would match the color display of the yellow buttercups and other wildflowers pictured in the wildflower meadow above.
- The area could also have been covered with mulch and planted with shrubs or store-bought perennials. This option would be more refined, but would not be cheap.
For another simple, natural landscape design, see the next landscaping picture....Continue to 2 of 16 below.
02 of 16
Picture of Lupine Flowers
The natural landscape design below is just as simple as that in the prior picture: just a backdrop of open field behind the beautiful flowers of lupines.
The lupine flowers in the picture above, although wildflowers, are not native to the region where I photographed them. Throughout northern New England and Canada's Maritime provinces, a non-native lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) introduced into the area has naturalized and crossed with their native counterparts (, forming a hybrid. Lupines thrive in this region's climate and soil conditions.
Consider wildflowers, including native lupine flowers, when seeking ideas for low-maintenance landscaping. After all, wildflowers couldn't survive in the wild if they relied on someone to water them just right, or fertilize them on schedule!
In the next landscaping picture, we'll move from rural territory into the suburbs.Continue to 3 of 16 below.
03 of 16
Landscape Edging on a Lawn
From the natural, simple landscape of the prior landscaping picture, we move to the more refined, manicured look of a lawn with a focal point.
In the picture above, a landscape island is established with landscape edging. The landscape edging sets off one area of the lawn from the rest.
After plants and a lawn ornament are added, the result in the landscape design illustrated above is a focal point.
Remember to show some restraint in the number of focal points you create. First of all, creating superfluous focal points defeats the purpose: Rather than focusing the eye on a landscaping highlight, they confuse the viewer. Each additional focal point within sight dilutes the impact of the others.
On a more practical note, mowing the lawn is more work when you have to maneuver the lawn mower through a veritable obstacle course of such landscape islands!
In the next landscaping picture, we'll deal with the perpetually tricky issue of landscaping not the front yard or backyard, but the side of a yard.Continue to 4 of 16 below.
04 of 16
Transition From Front Yard to Backyard
The purpose of the design in the prior picture was to create a focal point in a front yard. In this picture, we turn our attention to the side yard.
In the picture above, the lawn area is quite extensive; the expanse of lawn needs to be broken up. To break it up visually and invite the viewer to the backyard, the fencing and garden arbor serve as a transition.
The arbor frames the view to the backyard as if beckoning the viewer to enter and see what's out back. Landscape design is often neglected in side yards. People understand that the front yard is for display, while the backyard is for relaxing, playing, entertaining and vegetable gardening. But what are the sides of the yard for?
In many cases, the side yard is a narrow strip. Not so in the landscape pictured above. There are many ways to approach landscaping in such an extensive side yard. But I think this homeowner is right in seeing that, first and foremost, a strong structural element is required to serve as a transition and welcome the eye to the cozier corners of the backyard.
In the next landscaping picture and those that immediately follow it, we'll take a further look at how walls or fencing can enhance your landscaping.Continue to 5 of 16 below.
05 of 16
Border With Fence and Shrubs
While the prior picture showed a fence used as a structural element to create a transition, this picture shows a post and rail fence serving as a border.
It is better for the shrubs growing around the post and rail fence (and for the fence itself, too) to be removed a bit from the street, as they are here: they're insulated from road salt (on Northern landscapes) and from stray vehicles. The sidewalk acts as a buffer between the shrubs (forsythia, in this case) and the road.
Notice a visual effect created by the fence as it parallels the sidewalk: the eye is unconsciously led down the length of the attractive post and rail fence, accentuating this impressive span of road frontage. Its length is accentuated while, at the same time, the fence and the shrub planting fill up the space, giving the eye a rest from what otherwise would be an open expanse of lawn.
In the next landscaping picture, we'll look at another post and rail fence.Continue to 6 of 16 below.
06 of 16
The prior picture looked down the length of a post and rail fence, my emphasis being on how fences are effective in exploiting the concept of line.
But in this head-on photo, my emphasis is more on the planting method.
Note how the plants spill over from the back of the fence to the front. This softens the look of the fence and gives the landscape border a more natural feel. Note also how the lawn behind is nicely punctuated with a couple of focal points that lend visual interest, without cluttering the lawn and making the chore of lawn mowing more difficult.
For more extensive information about landscaping borders, please see:
- Landscaping Property Lines
- Fence Line Landscaping
In the next two landscaping pictures, we'll look at a different style of fencing.Continue to 7 of 16 below.
07 of 16
Landscaping Pictures: White Picket Fences
The landscaping in the prior picture showed a post and rail fence being used as a decorative border.
In the photo above we see another popular style of fence: white picket fences.
Note how the white picket fence in the photo above undulates, rather than running evenly across the top. This undulating style helps soften the hard lines of the clapboard house, in the background.
Despite the fact that this landscape is located downtown, it exudes a charm evocative of a country cottage. The white picket fence is partly responsible, but so are the black-eyed susans peeking out through the pickets. A more formal (and more conventional) planting of annual flowers just wouldn't have the same effect. Another idea would be hollyhocks, which are often used to grace white picket fences in the cottage garden style. But even these or other conventional perennials wouldn't connote "country" as effectively as do these wildflowers.
In the next landscape idea picture, we'll look at another example of white picket fences.Continue to 8 of 16 below.
08 of 16
Wood Picket Fences
The design in the prior picture showed how wood picket fences can create the illusion that your landscape is in "the country," even if you live downtown.
The fence in the photo above didn't need to create such an illusion. The photo above was snapped in an area renowned for its appealing countryside, so there need be no question here of creating an illusion. But no matter how beautiful your natural setting, it is possible for human skill to improve upon it. That is the premise of landscape design. Incidentally, it is also the premise of a fascinating story by the great Edgar Allan Poe, entitled, "The Domain of Arnheim."
These homeowners have, indeed, improved upon their lovely natural setting. Their landscape design has combined the rugged beauty of stone walls with the elegance brought to their wood picket fence by the use of finials. Wood and stone complement a country setting so well that sometimes it's hard to choose between them when selecting materials. Here the landscape design obviated this difficult choice simply by using both!
In viewing photos of fences, we are indirectly touching upon a basic element of landscape design: namely, the element of "line." In the next landscape design picture, we'll take a closer look at this concept.Continue to 9 of 16 below.
09 of 16
Example of Line in Landscape Design
An essential concept in landscape design is line since nothing controls eye movement more readily than a straight line.
In the picture above, the eye is directed along the line of the wall and straight driveway of this landscape to an ocean vista. Such a view is well worth framing -- and this landscape design frames it beautifully. The objective of utilizing line is to direct eye movement, unconsciously, in a manner that is most conducive to appreciating the landscape in question. The masonry wall is not only attractive in its own right, but channels eye movement right down to the sparkling waters dotted with sailboats.
In the next landscape design picture, we'll take another look at an example with a masonry wall.Continue to 10 of 16 below.
10 of 16
Stone Wall Borders
In the prior picture, we saw how elaborate masonry walls can serve as more than just a landscaping border, serving to channel the eye to a desirable vista.
In the photo above the stone wall border is less ambitious; mainly, it provides the structure for a planting. But the influence is not all one way. As much as the flowers benefit from the hardscape, the latter benefits from the planting, which softens what would otherwise be a harsh edge.
While the plants arguable take center stage in this photo, I've seen some very creative stone walls standing all alone that just take your breath away. In my region, rocky New England, stone walls are practically a way of life.
In the next landscape design picture and the picture that follows it, we'll look at examples of ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses can be effective at filling in that odd area on the landscape that you're not sure what to do with.Continue to 11 of 16 below.
11 of 16
Ornamental Grasses in Roadside Plantings
In the prior landscaping picture, we looked at a decorative border along a sidewalk.
Perhaps that was an easy call for a landscape designer, right? But what about problem spots for which the landscape design approach is less obvious? A hillside, say, or a roadside corner nook in between the street, your driveway and the woods?
The photo above shows just such a roadside nook. The landscape design solution employed here was to use ornamental grass, along with other plants, and a liberal dose of mulch. The unusual blue color of the ornamental grass pictured above (blue fescue) is striking enough to allow this landscape design to remain rather minimalistic. Many ornamental grasses are also a low-maintenance alternative, not requiring the deadheading that flowers do.
In the next landscape design picture we'll look at another example of the use of ornamental grasses and mulch.Continue to 12 of 16 below.
12 of 16
Landscape Design on Hillsides
The landscaping in the prior picture showed how effective ornamental grasses can be in landscaping.
The picture above offers an idea for the challenge of hillside landscaping. Note how ornamental grasses are used to fill in an area that could easily frustrate your landscaping attempts. As in the prior picture, heavy mulching is an integral part of the hillside landscaping strategy applied here.
This little nook is on a hillside, just off the street. A common challenge in such spots is controlling hillside erosion. Mulching helps check erosion. Not only that, but mulching will keep weeds in check, as well, making for low-maintenance landscaping. As if these benefits weren't enough, mulching around the ornamental grasses will help the soil beneath remain cool, meaning you'll have to water less. And when you do water, the mulch will aid the soil in retaining that water longer.
To learn more about mulching, please consult my FAQ on selecting the garden mulch.
In the next two landscape design pictures, we'll look at a popular garden accent -- the ornamental wishing well.Continue to 13 of 16 below.
13 of 16
Landscaping Pictures: Wooden Wishing Wells
The landscaping picture above shows a landscape design with little in the way of frills: Mainly just a nice lawn with some well-cared-for trees.
One lawn accent was allowed to enter into the landscape design in the picture above -- a wooden wishing well. Wooden wishing wells are popular lawn accents.
But the wooden wishing well doesn't really "work" here. Why? Because it isn't in scale with this huge lawn. The only reason it stands out at all is that it is the only hardscape element in this landscape design. Indeed, the little wishing well is dwarfed by the trees behind it.
Just as scale is a pertinent consideration when selecting a tree to grow near your house, so it is important that lawn accents be in scale with their surroundings.
In the next landscape design picture, we'll look at another example of the use of wooden wishing wells.Continue to 14 of 16 below.
14 of 16
Landscaping Pics: Wooden Wishing Wells
In the prior photo, we saw a wooden wishing well used as a lawn accent, but which was out of scale with the lawn it inhabited.
The landscaping pic above shows a wooden wishing well that gets all the attention in its landscape design. This lawn accent is every bit as much the focal point as was the planting circle pictured in an earlier pic.
Because the expanse of lawn is much smaller in this landscape design, the wooden wishing well is "in scale" and able to serve as a focal point. Not even the tall trees around it can take away from its prominence. Closer to the street than the prior wooden wishing well, it just jumps out at you. The vines growing up it only enhance its appearance.
Such wishing wells usually have no water -- they're purely decorative. But in the next landscape design picture, we'll see how to design for a landscape that has lots of water.Continue to 15 of 16 below.
15 of 16
The landscaping picture below shows what can be done with landscapes containing sufficient water.
Landscape bridges are garden accents indispensable for designs with garden ponds. What could be more natural than to run landscape bridges over scenic garden ponds?
Smaller structures than the one shown here are garden accents well worth considering if there's only a trickle of water on your landscape. Landscape bridges can be either functional or purely decorative. But what if you don't have a garden pond on your property? Consider this idea: Artificial garden ponds can easily be created. Start off with just a small one, if such a project seems daunting. For some tips on this project, please consult my article on building small garden ponds. After you get the knack of it, you may wish to graduate to the construction of a garden pond large enough to warrant a larger landscape bridge.
But what if you're not interested in having water on your landscape at all? And perhaps a patio or deck would be too big a project? Well, the next photo may suggest something more up your alley in the way of a hardscape accent.Continue to 16 of 16 below.
16 of 16
Picture of a Rose Arbor
The landscape photo below shows what beauty rose arbors can provide in your landscape.
The structure of this rose arbor is attractive in itself but, in addition, acts as a trellis for the roses. Climbing plants such as these roses need the support provided by trellises in order to be displayed properly. If planted against a building, the trellis support for roses may not be a free-standing rose arbor, as in the photo above. Rather, it may be a two-dimensional trellis or perhaps even just latticework.
Also note the exquisite balustrades used as fencing in this landscape photo. The creators of this landscape design obviously have refined tastes. The balustrades, as much as the rose arbor, proclaim to the world, "I am not a run-of-the-mill landscape!"
For step-by-step instructions to build wooden rose arbors, please consult my article on garden arbors.