Integration and Harmonization

Why the architectural style of your home should inform your landscape design
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Kansas limestone at the kitchen, spa and fire pit along with Belgard pavers repeat and blend in with the style and materials of this home.
Photos courtesy of Phase One Landscapes

When it comes to residential landscape architecture, very few landscapes are designed before the house. The architectural style of a home should always drive the landscape architect and inform the landscape design.

Architectural styles for older homes in Denver are predominately Tudor, Victorian, bungalow and mid-century modern; recent new home construction is contemporary, modern and prairie.  

Compare these architectural styles with the classic landscape styles of English garden, Oriental, formal, mountain and contemporary—and it would seem that the designs of residential architecture and landscape architecture do not align with one another.

The challenge that landscape architects face is to take the architecture of a home and meld that design style into the landscape. The first principle of design everyone learns is that form follows function. Good residential landscape design utilizes this rule, but creates these forms to harmonize with the style and shape of the home. 

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Cultured ledgestone is repeated on perimeter planter walls.

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Ipe deck matches the staircase from the upper level.

Architectural unity and balance can be achieved through thoughtful landscape design, focusing on the layout and the use of materials.

The layout and proportions of a landscape design should be directed from the footprint and façade of the home. Creating an architecturally respective layout of outdoor living areas, paths, gardens and special features will contribute to a unified whole. Elevation changes can also be utilized to reinforce the style of the home.

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Strong, bold lines reinforce this modern landscape architecture layout.

Repetition of style and materials will also prevent discord between the home and the landscape, and help to extend the interior living space into the outdoors. 

Façade materials can be repeated in the vertical landscape elements—site walls, outdoor kitchen islands and fire pits can all be constructed with the brick, stucco, stone, concrete or wood that is on the home. With the multitude of natural and manmade materials available—both in paving and exterior wall choices—it is not difficult to find ones that complement the home. 


Stucco that matches the building is utilized in the planter walls, and red flagstone is repeated as capstone from the paving.


Bare formed concrete matching the existing courtyard wall creates this fireplace and water element.

Creating a landscape that is informed by the style of the home may cost more than a standard design, but the end result of a unified whole—the integration and harmonization of the architecture and landscape—is always worth the extra effort and investment.

Dave Graham is the owner of Phase One Landscapes, a landscape design firm based in Denver, Colorado. View their profile or contact Dave at 303.750.6060.

Content for this article provided by Phase One Landscapes.

Categories: Landscaping & Gardening, Native Content