Top Landscaping Elements For You

With warm weather and longer days, we all want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. If you’re thinking of changing up your backyard but not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. Today we will go over the perfect landscaping elements for your backyard.

Your Backyard's Main Function

Your backyard has infinite possibilities for structure and landscaping elements. Although this can be exciting, it can also cause anxiety for many. Where should everything go? Should I start a garden? What about an area for entertainment?

When starting your planning, make sure you know what you want your backyard’s primary function to be. Get out a pen and paper to draw a rough sketch of your backyard. Seeing it plotted out visually can be helpful in planning and organizing your thoughts. You can also use online landscape design software to take your planning to the next level.

Furthermore, create a list divided into two categories—one for functionality and the other for style and aesthetic. Maybe you want elaborate stonework but also need to keep your shed. By planning your wants and needs, you’ll better understand your priorities.

Choose A Focal Point

If you’re stumped on where to begin, start by choosing a focal point. Focal points are the wow factor to your backyard and could include several things. For example, an extended patio with beautiful stonework elevates an outdoor space. If you frequently have family and friends over and want additional space for entertainment, this is a great option. Additionally, if you despise yard work, another perk to having stonework means there’s less grass to cut.

Perhaps you’ve got a green thumb and prefer to add more natural elements. Fountains and ponds are two landscaping elements that can highlight the greenery in your backyard.

Having a focal point will help you keep the rest of your backyard cohesive. On the other hand, having multiple highlighted areas could make your backyard feel crowded and disorganized. Keep this in mind throughout the process.

Landscaping Elements To Add

There are a few key landscaping elements you should consider.

Textures & Colours

This goes for the structures you incorporate into your backyard and your garden. Firstly, consider how textures and colours play a role in helping bring out the mood.

Simplicity & Balance

Don’t feel pressured to have every area of your backyard filled with something. Having too many elements in your yard can make your area feel cramped. Keep your colour palette to two or three if you’re overwhelmed with choice.

While planning a focal point is important, it’s also a good idea to plan blank space. Having plain grass space might be necessary if you have pets or children who want to play outside. Keeping some areas simple helps make your backyard feel more spacious.

Landscaping elements also include balance. This can include the size of shrubs, symmetrical lighting, or the width of a pathway. Keep this element in mind when planning so that everything will properly fit your space.

backyard elements

Pathways That Make Sense

For walkways, you want to use your space wisely. Stone pathways are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. However, when laid out incorrectly, they can take up unnecessary space.

For a primary pathway, aim to have it 48 inches wide, so it’s large enough for two people. Secondary paths should be between 30 and 36 inches.

Try mixing up different rocks to add a more personal touch. Gravel, brick, poured concrete, and natural stone are just some types of material available. Steppingstone paths are a great way to break up grassy areas.

What To Plant?

With a short but sweet summer in Alberta, it can be difficult to know what to plant. For low-maintenance options, go for perennials. They will come back each season and are a lovely reminder of the beginning of spring. Some perennials that thrive in Calgary’s climate include:

  • Daylily
  • Globe Thistle
  • Harebell
  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Peony
  • Reed Grass

In addition, you also have an abundance of options for trees and shrubs. Some include:

  • Poplars
  • Lilacs
  • Hydrangeas
  • Pine Trees
  • Crab Apple Trees

Planning Your Planting

When choosing your plants, be sure to keep in mind what their mature size will be. You don’t want to overcrowd your garden. Your local garden centre can help you choose what’s best for your space. Before you go, make sure you know the rough dimensions of the area and how much natural light there is. It’ll make it easier to know how many plants you can comfortably fit.

When thinking about landscaping elements, consider where your plants will go. Keep plants surrounding a pathway or patio two or three feet away. It’ll help make your space will feel bigger, and you won’t have to swat away branches.


Want to wow anyone who visits you? Add a pergola to your layout. Pergolas are typically made of wood, vinyl, metal, or fibreglass. They provide the perfect amount of privacy, natural light and can be custom-made. Custom woodwork can be the highlight of your space. While it’s possible to do this on your own, it can be a labour-intensive project, and if you don’t have the skillset and experience, you could be building an unstable structure. A reputable landscaping company can help make your vision come to life.

When You Have Too Much Space

Feel like you have too much awkward space? Scale up your plans! If you choose a patio area as the focal point, a large pergola or gazebo will easily fill the room.

Low maintenance plants are another simple way to make your backyard feel more alive.

Lastly, incorporating new textures and bold colours can also help highlight your existing backyard layout. This can include garden furniture, fencing, or stones.

When You Have Too Little Space

Those with a small backyard space want to be as strategic as possible. Adding a bunch of landscaping elements like pavilions, a pergola, and a pond could make your space feel even smaller. You too can have it all, so long as it’s planned properly.

For patio space, use smaller furniture pieces that aren’t bulky. Moreover, if you still want something bold, pick either a texture or colour.

landscape elements

When planting, larger shrubs and trees can help add privacy. However, try to keep an overall balance in mind as well. Using minimal structures with less overhang will maximize the natural light you get. This can make your space feel airier.

Keep pathways simple to conserve space. Stone paths with minimal design and neutral colours prevent the ground from looking busy.

Professional Landscaping

We hope this guide has helped your backyard layout planning. If you need extra help, professional landscapers know what looks good and works for specific spaces. They can help you customize and bring out the best in your backyard.

Ready to reinvent your backyard space? At Landscape 360, we have over 20 years’ experience in Calgary’s landscape industry. We can bring all your landscaping ideas to life. Contact us today to request a free estimate.