Whether you are planning to develop a new landscape or want to revamp an existing landscape, you must know the basics of landscape design. All landscape designs draw upon standard tools of composition.

These design elements include mass, line, texture, form, and color. Once you develop an in-depth understanding of these elements, you can use them to create interest and transform spaces in your landscape.

Color and texture add interest and richness to a design, whereas mass, form, and line provide structure.


Lines can direct the eye to a focal point, such as a water feature or fire pit, and create physical flow. Lines can be curved, horizontal, or vertical. While horizontal lines usually make space feel broader, curved lines can make a space look natural.

Vertical lines make small spaces look and feel bigger. Lines can be actual or perceived. A perceived line can be created by arranging objects in a pattern (to make it seem that a line is present).


Warm colors such as different shades of yellow, orange, and red are often used to make spaces feel warm, comforting, and inviting. Cool colors such as different blue, purple, and green shades can create a crisper design that will make areas look relaxing.

Foliage and landscape flower color can create mood-enhancing areas in a landscape. Many landscape designers use warm and cool color combinations to evoke emotions and create visual interest.


The mass of an object is the area or space occupied by it. Every component in a landscape, including individual plants and planting beds, has mass. When designing your landscape, try to balance the mass of every component.


Forms are often associated with three-dimensional objects. In landscaping, the form of an object is its shape. Some common forms of elements in a landscape include square, triangle, rectilinear and circular.

Plants have individual forms ranging from pyramidal to rounded. When plants are placed into groups, they may take on a new form.


Texture can be divided into three categories- coarse, medium, and fine. Elements in a landscape, including plants and pavements, have their unique textures. Contrasting textures can add interest to a landscape. Different parts of landscape plants, including leaves, flowers, barks, and stems, possess a wide range of textural attributes.

Sweetwater Landscape is one of the most reputable residential landscaping companies near you. Our team creates landscape designs tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients. To schedule a site visit, call us at 707-887-0140.

Click here to read another great blog on 10 steps to a successful landscape.