Why Homeowners Should Be Familiar with Garden Design


Just as the inside of a building needs a design plan and benefits from a sense of style, so does does the property around it. This is an important reason why homeowners should be familiar with good garden design.

Style and design aren’t just a pretty face for a garden. These concepts are deeply concerned with the use and navigation of the surrounding land. Good design makes a garden “people friendly”. This is rightly a main goal in today’s landscaping, a view brought to the fore by landscape architect Thomas Church.

Good Garden Design

Five things that set good design apart from the commonplace:

  1. It makes good use of the space
  2. Enhances the lifestyles of the residents
  3. Attractively complements the architecture of the buildings
  4. Makes the garden practical to maintain
  5. Has a sense of place and personality
cut stone path

cut stone path

Church expressed these ideas through four main principles written in his famous book Gardens Are For People“.[7]

  • Unity — the consideration of the design as a whole, integrating the house and its gardens with a free flow between them.
  • Function — the relation of the outdoor recreational and social areas to their interior counterparts, and of the outdoor service areas to the household’s needs, to please and serve the people who live in them.
  • Simplicity — upon which rests the aesthetic and economic success of the design.
  • Scale — relating the different design parts, features, and areas to one another, to create a whole an integrated landscape design.
Gardens Are For People, Third edition

Scan through Examples of Beautiful Landscape Ideas

The Value of a Home

Good landscaping brings value to a home in two ways. Homeowners may need:

  • leisure and relaxation areas for play and entertainment
  • practical features like paths, shady spots, drying yards or storage and trash bin areas.
Design’s goal is to make the space work well for the needs of the owners.

It will also increase the curb appeal, or value of the home to the public. Important for reasons of protecting the homeowner’s financial investment of the and value of the neighborhood.

Good design allows for personality while dovetailing the public’s interest in the surrounding property.

landscaping for people

Outdoor Rooms

A concept found in more than one style the idea is to have partitions within the general space around the house. The vegetable or herb growing area has a different aspect than a child’s play area or a firepit spot. The idea of “rooms” for the different uses of the yard divides up the space and the goal of a design is to unify them into a whole while keeping the functions working.

Having such differing purposes as a wildlife sanctuary, a chicken run, or a patio might be possible on one property. (If that is the plan an owner dreams of having).  Creating a plan involves incorporating these as well as possible into the landscape.

Your Own Garden Room

Familiarize yourself with the design process, elements, and concepts. This will bring you into the drivers seat of how you wish to use your yard, how you may best maintain its value.

  • You can pinpoint the functions necessary for your lifestyle.
  • Judge whether the look is appropriate for your house style.
  • Efficiently install paths and hardscape elements, saving money.
  • Learning to turn nature to your advantage with shade tree placement and making use of microclimates in your yard.
small garden pond

A water feature area

Soon you will oversee the construction of your own garden spaces. Building outdoor rooms that are tailored to your family and sense of style.

You don’t need to be an expert yourself, but being aware of the basics will help you work with professional you may hire, or appreciate and keep a garden’s good characteristics and plan.

Help for the Busy Homeowner

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.