How the Pros Stage Outdoor Spaces

How the Pros Stage Outdoor Spaces

There is a new awareness that good design is good design wherever we find it. This presents new opportunities and challenges to the thinking landscaper. More and more clients are becoming aware of new and more detailed design ideas having to do with “staging” their outdoor living spaces. While this is similar to realtor staging, the goal is not to present a neutral space for potential buyers, but to create an inviting space for the enjoyment of the homeowner. So, where do you start? You are working to create beautiful landscape pictures, start from the beginning!


Limited Palette

Landscape pallete

Start with a palette of colors, textures, and shapes. Try to stay within three to four main colors that are complementary, and a range of shapes and textures that harmonize within the space.


  • Choose colors that will work in multiple seasons, or be prepared to change them
  • If you’re stuck, use a pre-selected paint color palette from your home center, they’re free
  • Start with some of the natural colors in your space, from plants or stone, etc
  • Vary the textures, but try to avoid too many jarring contrasts (more about this later)
  • Shape matters too. Use rounded shapes to create a soothing environment, angular shapes to define spaces


Big Pieces First

carl fuchs

If you are in the design phase of your landscape, you’re lucky! That means you get to consider staging choices before plants and structures are in place. Take your cues for the space from the largest pieces, whether natural or man-made. You can’t hide or avoid them, so, work with them!

euro 7

  • Notice shapes and textures, as well as color tones
  • Allow the larger pieces to help define and shape the space, not just provide a backdrop
  • Mirror, or echo (repeat and mimic) the shapes of these larger pieces in furniture, and other details for a cohesive design
  • Sketch, or use digital design program to test expensive changes “on paper” first
  • Work your way down from big to little, adding decorative touches last for the best results


Adding the Contrast

Softscape 1

While making limited palette choices creates a cohesive design, too much matchy-matchy (as they say on Project Runway) tends to put people to sleep. So, as the design progresses, be sure to integrate some pieces that have contrasting colors, textures, and shapes.

  • Use plants to get this effect, notice the profile more than the individual leaf pattern
  • Learn to use a color wheel to select contrasting colors that will be in harmony with your design
  • Juxtapose hard and soft shapes and textures to give the space a sense of motion
  • Remember, this is your space, edit out anything that doesn’t “feel” right, it’s okay
  • Have fun and experiment, when possible, use images to test choices, rather than costly purchases

When you have reached the end of your skill set, let us help! We love to work with homeowners to create livable outdoor spaces that they will love and live in for years to come. We’re not just landscapers, we’re reinventing paradise.