When it comes to garden landscaping, there are so many different styles to choose from. It can be overwhelming for beginner gardeners to try and pick the right one.
However, it is important to remember that you have your own wonderfully unique style and have the complete freedom to incorporate something that expresses your personality. This is your garden after all!
That being said, taking a look at all the diverse garden landscaping styles out there can help lay the foundation for the overall look you’re going for, as well as inspire you to add your own personal touches.
Whether your garden is inspired by Italian landscapes, tropical climates or even just your own backyard features, garden landscaping is a great way to create an environment that is both relaxing and visually stunning.
In this article, we’ll share with you our 12 most popular garden landscaping styles to get you started.
Most Popular and Widely Used Garden Landscaping Styles
It’s time to get inspired! Here are some of the most popular and widely used garden landscaping styles to consider for your home.
Meditation Garden Style
Meditation gardens are a type of garden landscaping that originated in Asia. These gardens were most definitive in Japan at around 1300 AD, a period when Zen Buddhism started becoming more popular.
The gardens emulate the Buddhism beliefs as it’s designed to promote a sense of peace and relaxation and for visitors to connect to the space in a spiritual way.
Often minimalistic in design, common features of meditation gardens include raked sand or stone to represent rivers and mountains, water features and low-maintenance plants.
The garden is meant to be a place for quiet contemplation and reflection, providing a space for contemplation and inner peace.
Are you interested in garden landscaping for your home? At Exscape designs, our garden ideas are inspired not only by both traditional and modern influences, but also by your unique vision for your garden.
Mediterranean style gardens are originally from the countryside of Italy, France, Greece and Spain. This garden style is known for its pebbled or cobbled walkways, intricately patterned tiles, vivid colors and trimmed hedges.
Water features are also usually seen in these types of gardens as they’re a great way to cool the hot summer air.
In terms of plants, gardeners usually go for colorful and attention-grabbing ones. Since this style originated from a place with a lot of heat and not much rain, drought-tolerant plants are often informally planted. Succulents, euphorbia, yucca, agave, artemisia and blue fescue are some examples of these.
Another notable characteristic of Mediterranean gardens are the herbs that release strong scents. Some of the most common ones are lavender, rosemary and sage.
Woodland Style Gardens
Woodland gardens are a bit different than other styles as they require plants that can tolerate shade. Instead of planting in lines or formal designs, go for a mix of different textures, colors and forms.
This style focuses on creating a more natural landscape that resembles a forest. So think about adding ferns, mosses, ivy and other groundcovers. For trees and shrubs, you want to use types that have interesting bark or foliage. Then underplant with spring bulbs for a pop of color.
One of the benefits of creating a woodland garden is that it can provide a habitat for wildlife. So if you want to attract birds or butterflies, make sure to include the right plants. And don’t forget to add a water feature! A small pond or stream will help to create a tranquil atmosphere.
Coastal Style Gardens
Also known as seaside gardens, coastal gardens are designed to withstand strong winds and tolerate salty air and humid conditions.
These gardens typically feature native plants that are adapted to the local climate such as perennials like salvias, sedums, coreopsis, Shasta daisies and dianthus.
Strong structures like stone walls or teak wood fences can help to create a sense of enclosure and provide protection against the wind.
And when it comes to style, they often lean towards the quirkier side. Think nautical themes like anchors, buoys and rope as well as flamingo statues, lobster traps and any other beachy paraphernalia you can find.
Tropical Style Gardens
Whether you live in a tropical climate or not, a tropical garden landscape can bring a touch of paradise to your yard or garden. Although a warmer, more humid climate is best, it is still possible to create one in a cooler climate.
Common elements in a tropical garden include:
Trees: palms, bamboos and other tropical trees provide the jungle feel as well as the necessary shade.
Foliage: large leaves in shades of green, red, purple and even black create a lush look.
Flowers: colorful blooms in hues of pink, orange, yellow and white add brightness and contrast.
Surfaces: paths of gravel or stone, patio decks and ponds create visual interest and help define space.
Traditional Garden Style
If you are into the more colonial look, a traditional garden style is more your scene.
This garden style has a very tidy and well-manicured look, with straight lines and symmetrical elements. Boxwood hedges are often used in this type of garden, as they can be easily sculpted into various shapes.
Other popular features in traditional gardens include gazebos, topiaries, and statuary as well as framed views of stone fountains and cleanly edged walkways.
If you like the balance and symmetry of traditional gardens but don’t want yours to look so “uptight,” you can always add in a few more natural elements to soften the look. Lavender, for example, is a great plant to use in a traditional garden as it has a very neat growth habit but also adds a touch of color and fragrance.
Major Garden Landscaping Styles
Now that you’ve gotten some inspiration from some of the most popular landscaping styles, let’s take a look at the six major garden landscape designs that you can choose from.
The tradition of the Mughal-style garden spread throughout India and Pakistan during the Mughal rule. With its origins in Persia, the Mughal garden was an extension of the paradise garden and was meant to represent an earthly paradise.
The typical features of a Mughal garden include water channels and reservoirs, fountains, terraces, lawns, fruit trees and flowering plants. Geometrical patterns are often used in the layout of these gardens. The charbagh, or four-quartered garden, is a particularly popular design used in Mughal gardens.
Water channels and reservoirs are also essential elements in a Mughal garden and are often used to reflect the light and create a cooling effect. The fountains are another important feature, as they not only add to the beauty of the garden but also help to cool the air.
A traditional Mughal-style garden is great for backyards that are on the smaller side, as they are very efficient in their use of space. By incorporating water features, open areas and plenty of greenery, a Mughal garden can be a beautiful and tranquil oasis.
Persian gardens typically feature a rectangular structure with four symmetrical sides. The Persian garden is divided into four equal parts, each with its own quadrant.
In the center of each quadrant, there is typically a pool or fountain that looks out onto the garden. The four quadrants are further divided into smaller sections by pathways or walls.
The Persian garden is symbolic of paradise on earth and often features fruit trees and flowers such as roses and jasmine.
Traditionally, Persian gardens incorporate the four elements of water, fire, earth and air. The fountain in the center of the garden represents water, while the candles or lamps in each quadrant represent fire. The earth is represented by the stone or brick used to build the walls and pathways, and the air is represented by the open space in the garden.
To add a taste of Italy to your garden, try an Italian garden design. Italian gardens are characterized by their use of marble sculptures and fountains, geometric patterns and extensive use of greenery.
Other common features include terraces, pergolas and topiary. To get this look, make sure you use a variety of plants, including evergreens, flowering shrubs and vines. You can also add some fruit trees to your garden for a truly authentic Italian touch.
When it comes to hardscaping, Italian gardens typically feature stone or brick pathways and steps. Paved areas are often decorated with mosaic patterns. Fountains, sculptures and statuary are also common features.
France is known for its expansive, beautiful and elaborate gardens. However, just because they are traditionally known to take up a lot of space, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a stunning French-style garden in your own backyard — no matter the size.
With a French garden, symmetry is key. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be perfectly lined up, but rather that there should be a sense of balance throughout the design. For example, if you have a large lawn area, consider dividing it into two equal sections with a path running down the middle.
Alternatively, if you have a smaller yard, you can still create a sense of symmetry by planting matching shrubs or bushes on either side of your path or patio. Common plants used are lavender, roses and hydrangeas.
Another important element of French gardens is the use of stone or gravel. This not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also serves a practical purpose — it helps to keep weeds at bay.
English gardens greatly reflect the region’s typical grassland climate. The well-distributed rainfall offers favorable growth of herbaceous perennials.
To add elements of this style to your backyard, add features like trellises, pergolas, and topiaries. Also, try to keep the lawn as natural-looking as possible by avoiding sharp geometry. Planting in curved beds will also help give your garden that English countryside feel.
Some of the key plants used in English gardens are roses, lavender and herbs. Roses are a classic choice for any garden, but they especially fit in with an English garden theme.
Lavender is another great option for adding color and fragrance to your garden. And finally, don’t forget the herbs! They not only look great but can also be used in cooking or for making herbal teas.
Travel a bit more east, and we have the Japanese-style gardens. These gardens are designed to give the visitor a sense of peace and relaxation, as they are meant to imitate nature.
For this look, you need to have a lot of green, and carefully selected plants that will grow well together. Typical plants used in these gardens are bamboo, maples and azaleas.
The Japanese also use a lot of stone in their gardens – both as décor, and to help with drainage. Use gravel or mulch for your ground covering, and add in some large rocks or boulders.
And finally, don’t forget the water feature! A small pond or stream is essential to any Japanese garden. Add some koi fish or lotus plants to really complete the look.
What Garden Style Fits You?
There you have it, today’s most popular traditional and modern garden styles. Do you have a favorite? Or maybe you can see elements of several styles that you like in your own garden. Either way, we hope this has given you some inspiration and got you thinking about what style of garden would suit you best.
If you’re still not sure which style is right for you, try following these tips for guidance:
Consider your home’s style. A garden should complement the look of your house, not compete with it.
Determine how you want to use your garden. Do you want a place to entertain guests or relax in solitude? Do you have young children who need a safe place to play? Or are you an avid gardener who wants space for planting vegetables and flowers?
Think about maintenance. How much time are you willing to spend caring for your garden? Some styles, like Japanese gardens, require more upkeep than others.
Choose plants that fit your climate. Not all plants will thrive in every climate, so it’s important to choose ones that will do well where you live.
Consider your budget. Some garden styles can be quite costly to create and maintain.
Once you’ve considered these factors, designing your dream garden will be much easier. However, hiring an experienced landscape designer and contractor will ensure that your garden is everything you want it to be, without you having to do all the work yourself.
At Exscape Designs, we are just as passionate about gardens as you are. We will work with you to create a custom garden design that fits both your lifestyle and your budget.