Landscape for beginners: Getting started with designing an outdoor space

by N. B. Taylor & Co. Inc. 03/13/2023

There are many factors that go into designing a landscape - for beginners, the number of options can be overwhelming. How do you choose the best plants and where to plant them? How do you arrange your yard in an aesthetically pleasing but functional way?

Luckily, there are some basics you can follow to get started in beginner landscaping. Regardless of your landscape goals, knowing the best practices will help you. Here is a quick guide to landscaping for beginners:

Plan your planting

The more you know about the plants you intend to grow in your outdoor space, the more healthy and rewarding your garden will be. Consider environmental factors of your yard like the amount of direct sun, shade, wind exposure and rainfall.

It’s also helpful to think about what you want from your landscape: do you want a place to gather with loved ones, or a personal getaway?

Regardless, choose plants that work for the space you’re in. Research specific care needs before buying and planting anything to make sure your landscape gets the right amount of sun, shade and exposure it needs to thrive.

Find a focal point

Selecting a focal point is an excellent way to get started on landscaping design. Focal points can be almost anything, but some popular options include an outdoor dining table, a fire pit or a water feature. It could also be a natural element, like a particular tree or garden bed.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try taking inspiration from other yards or outdoor spaces you enjoy. What catches your attention? What will you enjoy in your own backyard? Questions like these can help you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

Start small

It’s common for new gardeners and beginner landscaping enthusiasts to get overwhelmed. To help avoid this, start small by making simple changes to your outdoor space, like planting a starter vegetable garden or designing flower beds. Begin with the basic elements of your intended design, rather than trying to act on every one of your landscaping ideas at once.

Some small projects to start with include:

  • Adding a series of stepping stones to create a safe pathway through the garden.
  • Building a raised garden bed for favorite vegetables, herbs or flowers.
  • Choosing a handful of young plants to care for and grow into more prominent design elements.

Regardless of your landscaping goals, keeping these basics in mind can help you get started. If you ever need additional guidance, you can always consult the professionals at your local garden center or landscaping company for advice and inspiration.