A Class Act -- 5 Ways To Add Formality To Your Yard

If you want to dress up your home's exterior and make the entire property feel more classic, you can accomplish a lot without a big investment if you concentrate on the landscape design. Adding formality to the yard is a simple way to give the whole place a classy makeover. So how can you turn your yard into a formal garden on any budget? Here are 5 simple methods.

Straighten Lines. Formal garden design often relies on straight lines and geometric shapes (particularly squares, ovals, and rectangles). Replace meandering walkways, curving flower beds, and natural stone settings with linear elements. Pavers, bricks, and large square stones make great geometric designs in hardscaping like retaining walls, patios, and walkways. Look for ways to tidy up and straighten out the "bones" of your yard, such as paths, lawn shape, garden beds, and outdoor room design. 

Add Symmetry. Like straight lines, symmetry makes things appear more formal. You may want to start by visually dividing the yard in half as you face the house's facade. Use architectural features of the home as your base. Then, add a base feature down the center -- anything from a walkway to a rectangle of lawn or a horizontal water feature. Build outward from this centerpiece and focus on ways to balance the two sides. You don't necessarily have to make things exactly equal, but the two halves should be roughly equal in visual weight and complexity. 

Limit Variety. Formal landscape design benefits from a simplicity in your choice of plantings. Using the same or similar colors, flower varieties, or decorative accents makes things come together nicely. A simple color palette, such as white flowers and flowering trees, makes the yard feel less cluttered and more cohesive. Similarly, settle on a theme for your outdoor entertainment spaces and decorate sparingly. The fewer the visual disruptions in a space, the tighter the design will feel. 

Accent. Classic yard architecture can add to a formal feeling. You may want to use things like a reproduction of a classic European outdoor sculpture or a traditional water feature. Large urns recall the yards of times past, as do many classical elements of an orderly Japanese garden. Containers allow you to add classic decorative accents and plant mess-free, self-contained flower bunches.

Trim and Shape. Finally, your formal garden should feature well-trimmed and neatly-pruned shrubs and trees. Work with a professional landscaper to shape trees and bushes into a pleasing and symmetrical shape. You may want to cultivate neat and orderly box hedges, which are a classic part of formal gardens throughout the world. Keep things pruned as the seasons change. 

Whether you DIY your yard's formal makeover or you work with a professional landscape designer, the resulting effect in your yard will surely elevate the entire property in the eyes of guests and family alike. 

For more information and tips, visit websites like http://www.allamericanlandscapedesign.com.