Your backyard can be the place where your children play, where you host parties for friends and family, where you relax and unwind – or, the place where you can’t bear to go. If your garden is less of a masterpiece than you would like, or if you are stuck with a garden that doesn’t suit your purposes, it may well be time for a redesign.

When you are designing your garden, it is essential that you keep in mind two fundamental goals. You want to have a space that is functional, and one that looks beautiful, just the way you want. Here we will take a look at the core principles that will help you achieve these goals, and how you can end up with a garden that looks expensive for less…

What are the principles of landscape design?

There are several key principles that govern landscape designers, and these can be applied whether the landscape in question is a golf course, park, or your own back garden. The most important of these are:


You can choose between symmetrical or asymmetrical balance for your garden depending on the elements you wish to include. In a symmetrical landscape, both sides are identical, giving a pleasing balance to the eye. In an asymmetrical landscape, both sides are different, and yet the various components on display still balance each other out with a similar weight given to both sides.

Freshly mowed long rows of tall green decorative white cedar at country residence. Hedge of fresh cedars trees at city park. Landscape design and gardening concept.


Repeated elements help tie your landscape together, giving it a united look that makes it a clear whole. A certain consistency is required so that your garden doesn’t end up looking like a series of mismatched components that have been thrown together. You can create this by using repeated colours, plants, and décor to tie into one theme or idea.


The Golden Rule of proportion is a key tenant in all design. In essence, it states that all the elements of your garden must be in proportion to each other. That way, an overly large item doesn’t dwarf everything else that you can see, and stand out like a sore thumb. The right proportions are agreed to be pleasing to the eye for pretty much everyone in the world.


The right lines help promote depth in your landscape, showing the distance through paths, flower beds, entryways, and more. The idea is to create movement and flow, going from one feature to another, moving throughout your landscape in a cohesive rhythm. When people look at your garden, their eyes should smoothly move along these lines.


In so many areas in life, less is more. The principle of simplicity focuses on this idea, using minimalism to convey elegance while still bringing in the components that you wish to have. Chaos is the enemy of a well-designed garden, and it is all too easy to clutter up your landscape without even meaning to. Aim to stick with one theme, one colour, and so on to keep your garden simple yet beautiful.

Use what you know

Finally, one of the most important principles in designing any space is to be comfortable and confident in going for the things that you want. There is no point in creating an elegant yet Spartan, modernist garden when all you want is a cosy nook in which to settle down with a good book. 

Take inspiration from the activities you may want to do in the garden, look at magazines, online, and out in the real world and see what others are doing right. Think about whether you might like to emulate the feeling of sitting out in a square in Barcelona, or in your own private meadow. Then bring it all together to create your own Eden in your backyard.

How do you make a backyard look expensive?

One of the true tricks to designing and creating your ideal backyard is to make it look expensive without it actually being expensive. An absolutely essential part of keeping any garden looking its best is to ensure that it is being properly cared for. Each plant and tree has its own individual pruning and watering needs, and it takes a huge amount of time, effort, and knowledge. 

That is where a reputable and professional company like AB Trees Arborists in Perth come in. With properly shaped and trimmed trees in your garden, it will instantly look more expensive, neat, and beautiful. Some of the other best ways to add value to your garden and have it looking expensive include:

Caucasian Gardener Taking Care of Plant. Shrubs Pruning to Maintain the Appearance of the Landscape Design in the Backyard Garden.

  • Installing a water feature – Water features make excellent additions to any garden, adding sounds to the atmosphere as well as being picturesque and eye-catching.
  • Choose the right lighting – nothing can brighten a garden like a few well-placed lights, and the right kind of fixture can create any atmosphere that you want. You can go for twinkly fairy lights, themed tiki torches, or something brighter and more central, the choice is yours.
  • Create a stone walkway or patio – The right path can again draw the eye and add class to your garden. Particularly if you use nicely coloured stones, or local stones from your garden to make it look even better and more natural. 
  • Build stone walls – Similarly, you can edge your flowerbeds or any steps with a contained stone wall, which looks great as well as forms more perfect lines.
  • Include a variety of seating options – The right furniture can set your garden apart or have it looking instantly cheaper depending on what you go for. The classic off-colour plastic chairs and table, maybe with the occasional crack, mark, or cobweb, simply won’t do. Think about the kind of seating area you would like to sit in and go for elegant or interesting furniture to match.
  • Consider different regions for different moods – Having several sections in your garden, for instance, a tranquil corner for quiet reading, and then a social area around a fire pit, is a fantastic way to add value and make the area look more expensive. 

Final thoughts

While there are many different principles and forms involved in landscape design, and in creating the perfect, expensive-looking garden, it actually can be fairly simple. Have a good think about what it is that you want out of your garden, what makes you happy. Then try and implement it while keeping in mind that less is more and that there should be balance and harmony in all things.

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