A Guide to Popular Landscape Design Styles

Understanding landscaping styles is essential before diving into any project. It helps you determine what look you want for your outdoor space. Four main categories to consider are Informal, Formal, Modern, and Traditional. Each category offers a variety of styles, giving you plenty of options to play with. You can mix and match different elements from various design trends to create a landscape design that perfectly suits your taste and vision.

Formal Landscape Design

A formal landscape design is all about straight lines and geometric shapes. Think of carefully trimmed bushes, symmetrical patterns, and a sense of orderliness. These designs typically exhibit a sense of elegance and sophistication, with carefully planned plantings and architectural features.

Formal gardens often include straight paths, neatly trimmed hedges, and geometrically shaped beds. You can expect a formal landscape design to incorporate hardscaping elements like paved walkways, statues, or fountains.

Formal gardens are well-suited to historical landmarks, grand estates, and pu blic spaces where a sense of order and grandeur is desired. They are popular in Europe and North America, particularly with architectural styles that reflect similar principles.

Some Examples of Formal Landscape Designs

French Parterre: This design features intricate parterres, which are low-growing, densely planted flower beds arranged in symmetrical patterns. Gravel paths, fountains, and topiary sculptures.

French Parterre landscape design

Italian Renaissance Garden: Italian Renaissance gardens also showcase order and symmetry. They often incorporate statues, fountains, and terra cotta planters along with manicured hedges and geometric flower beds.

Italian Renaissance Garden design

Informal Landscape Design

An Informal Landscape is quite the opposite. Informal landscape design gives a very relaxed and natural feel to the space. You will see a lot of curves, different textures and unpredictability.

Showcasing winding paths, curved flower beds, and a variety of several different types of plants and flowers. Creating the feeling that everywhere you look you see something new, which encourages interaction within the space. 

Informal designs are ideal for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere mostly seen in residential gardens. They are popular worldwide and can be adapted to various climates and settings.

Some Examples of Informal Landscape Designs

English Cottage Garden: This style revels in a more relaxed and natural feel. Lush, overflowing flower beds with a mix of colors and textures define this design. Winding paths, climbing vines, and hidden seating areas create a sense of discovery and charm.

English Cottage Garden

Prairie Garden: Inspired by North American prairies, this style features tall grasses, wildflowers, and perennials that sway gently in the breeze. It offers a low-maintenance approach that provides habitat for butterflies and birds.

Prairie Garden design

Modern Landscape Design

A Modern Landscape could be described as minimalistic. This design choice focuses on the negative space between hardscape and softscape elements creating a sense of balance and tranquility. Focusing on clean lines and geometric shapes which provides a sleek aesthetic. As well as sticking to a limited color palette using mainly greens, grays, and whites.  A backyard with a modern design would showcase a lot of hardscaping like patios, walkways, and retaining walls, fire pits, and limited plants. Another popular addition is a water feature, these are often used as a focal point. Things like infinity pools, water walls, or a water fountain.  Modern landscapes thrive in urban environments and complement contemporary architectural styles. They are gaining popularity worldwide for their low-maintenance approach and sleek aesthetic.

Some Examples of Modern Landscape Designs

Modern Rustic:  This style combines modern elements with natural materials and textures. The use of stone for the patio and the fire pit in the image are both elements of rustic design.


Desert Modern: This style thrives in arid climates and incorporates elements that complement the natural surroundings. Gravel gardens, cacti, succulents, and drought-tolerant plants create a low-water-use and visually striking landscape.

Modern Desert Landscape

Traditional Landscape Design

Traditional Landscape is very similar to formal landscape design, just slightly more relaxed.  Traditional designs evoke a sense of familiarity and timelessness. 

You will see elements from various design styles but with a focus on classic materials and established practices. Often features symmetrical layouts, well-maintained lawns, and established plant varieties.

Traditional designs are popular in areas with a strong sense of heritage and are well-suited to complement classic architectural styles. Adaptable to various settings, from residential gardens to historical landmarks. They create a sense of comfort and connection to the past. Found worldwide, with variations reflecting regional traditions.

Some Examples of Traditional Landscape Designs

Colonial Garden: This style evokes a sense of history and features symmetrical layouts, brick or stone walkways, and well-maintained lawns. Flowering shrubs, climbing roses, and picket fences add a touch of charm.

Colonial Garden

Japanese Garden: Defined by tranquility and a connection with nature, Japanese gardens feature rocks, sand, water features, and strategically placed trees and shrubs. Asymmetry, balance, and the concept of borrowed scenery (incorporating the surrounding view into the design) are key principles.

Japanese Garden design

Whether you crave the order and grandeur of a formal landscape, the relaxed charm of an informal garden, the sleek lines of a modern design, or the timeless appeal of a traditional style, there’s a landscape design waiting to transform your outdoor space. With a little planning and inspiration from the design styles explored in this blog, you can turn your dream landscape into a reality. Ready to take the first step? Contact Lamacchia Landscape Construction today! Our experienced team can help you explore your options, schedule a consultation to discuss your vision and bring your dream landscape to life. Let’s create an outdoor space you’ll love!

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