If you’ve ever drooled over a magazine article or curated Pinterest boards of gorgeous gardens, the secret to their stunning look is landscape layering. Learn how to master this do-it-yourself technique with my free guide and checklist!

Running trailing plants down the side of a planter or along the top of a wall softens hardscape materials and helps them blend into the garden. Plus, it’s an easy way to maximize space in a small yard.

1. Rocks

When it comes to landscaping, rocks are a versatile and time-tested material. They can bring out the beauty of your plants, build useful landscape features, add definition and accents to your garden and yards, and help control weeds and soil erosion. There are many different types of landscaping rock available, ranging from pea gravel to flagstones. Each has its own unique look and purpose, so it’s important to choose the right one for your project.

The size and color of your landscaping rock will affect its overall aesthetic. For example, small pea gravel looks great with flower beds and helps keep weeds at bay. River rocks are larger and can work well with a variety of colors, including white, black, brown, and mixed hues. They’re also a good choice for leveling out sloped areas in your yard. Lava rock is another option that’s available in a number of bold colors. It’s made of real lava from volcanoes and can make an excellent accent rock in your garden because it’s so bright.

Rocks are a great alternative to traditional mulch. They’re easier to maintain and last a long time. Plus, they don’t attract bugs like wood or rubber mulch does. They’re also more affordable than mulch and help control weeds and moisture issues in your garden beds.

Landscaping rocks are a popular and attractive choice for Florida gardens. They’re easy to spread around, long-lasting and can look beautiful on their own or paired with grass or flowers. They can be used to create interesting planters, accent gardens or even a rock path to a front door or other entrance. They’re also great for highlighting hardscape features such as fountains or fire pits in your garden.

2. Water Features

Adding water features to your landscape can add an element of tranquility and beauty. Incorporating water in the design of your garden can also help to create a habitat that encourages wildlife like birds, butterflies, and dragonflies to visit. Using natural-looking waterfalls and fountains can also create a beautiful focal point for your landscape, and they’re sure to be the talk of the neighborhood.

When you choose to incorporate a fountain into your landscape, there are many different types of fountains to consider. Some of the most popular types of fountains include a sphere fountain (also known as a ball fountain) and a bubbling fountain. Decorative sphere fountains are the perfect accent for a small garden, while bubbling fountains can be added to existing ponds or pools to give your landscaping a refreshing feel.

For a more unique touch, you could choose to incorporate a statue fountain into your yard. These sculptural elements can add a touch of personality to your backyard and are available in a wide range of designs from humorous and whimsical to elegant and calming. If you’re a fan of the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, you may want to use your water feature as an opportunity to attract wealth. Simply place a flowing water fountain in a spot where it can be seen from your home, and you’ll find that your finances will begin to improve as time goes by.

Streams are another type of water feature that is becoming more and more popular in the world of landscaping. Unlike fountains, which are typically created as part of the hardscape, streams are often built into the natural landscape and can include waterfalls, ponds, and even fish. However, it is important to note that streams are a more complex form of landscaping and require the services of true professionals to create a satisfactory result.

3. Solar Lighting

For homeowners who want to illuminate their landscape, solar lighting is a great option. These lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them easy to integrate into your yard’s design.

Typically, these lights are inserted into the ground as stakes, and they usually have a panel directly on top to provide light when the sun goes down. This type of solar landscaping is great for walkways and driveways, as it creates a clear path without the need to install a separate light.

Another option for walkways is to incorporate path lights into your landscaping, which can help make your home more visible in the dark. These lights have an integrated solar panel that charges during the day, and they’re available in a number of different styles. For example, this metal silhouette of a bird has a feathered filigree design, and it holds an LED that can be turned on and off with an accessible on-off switch. This solar light is perfect for a garden or a front porch, and it creates a beautiful glowing sculpture in your outdoor space.

Other options for solar lights include string lights, flood lights and spotlights. String lights have a long cable with connecting bulbs, which can either be full-size Edison bulbs (like those on our best solar string lights pick) or dainty fairy-style lights. These types of lights are designed for aesthetic effect and won’t provide a lot of brightness. Flood lights have a brighter, more concentrated beam and are great for illuminating a large area of your backyard for security purposes or guidance. Spotlights have a narrower beam and are good for accentuating specific areas of your landscaping.

4. Mulching

Mulching is an essential landscaping technique for your yard, whether you’re looking to elevate the look of your home or business, or simply cut down on maintenance. There are numerous benefits to investing in mulching, including the fact that it can help to suppress weeds. Weeds aren’t just unsightly, but they can also compromise the health of your plants by stealing nutrients and water from them. Mulching blocks sunlight from reaching the soil and deprives weed seeds of their opportunity to germinate, making it easier to maintain a weed-free garden. Some types of mulch even contain natural anti-weed properties to restrict their growth further.

Another benefit of mulching is that it helps to retain soil moisture. The extra layer of material stops the sun from quickly evaporating the water in hot weather, which keeps the soil moist and encourages healthy, fast-growing plant root systems. In addition, research shows that mulches can significantly reduce soil erosion by reducing the amount of bare ground on your property.

Finally, mulches are an excellent way to add a splash of color and aesthetic appeal to your landscape. There are many different options to choose from, ranging from organic wood chips to colorfully-coordinated dyes. They’re great to use along the foundation of your home, around the base of trees and shrubs, and in between flower beds.

When it comes to low-maintenance gardening, the less lawn you have, the more you can save on your property’s water and energy bills. By using hardscape features like pavers, bricks, and decorative stone to create pathways and garden beds, you can eliminate the need for grass and dramatically reduce your maintenance duties. This can make your yard more appealing, and it can also increase the value of your property.

5. Weed Barrier Cloth

Weed barrier cloth (also known as landscape fabric) is a solid sheet of synthetic or recycled materials gardeners lay over different types of terrain to stop weeds and cover rocky areas. It’s also a great way to prevent soil erosion. Woven or non-woven landscape fabric can be pinned in place with metal pins, or tacked to the ground using stakes. It can last for several seasons, limit the need for chemical herbicides, and is eco-friendly.

The idea is that once a layer of weed barrier cloth is laid, you can simply put mulch or other ground covering on top and never have to worry about weeds again. Existing weeds will be blocked from the sunlight by the barrier, and any sprouting seeds will be prevented from getting through. It is a great way to reduce the time spent weeding in the yard, especially if you are installing a new landscaping bed or rock path.

However, over time, the weed barrier loses its effectiveness. It inhibits the movement of earthworms and other beneficial organisms that help mix organic material deeper into the soil, as well as water and air that are needed for plant roots to grow. Additionally, it can restrict the amount of nutrients in the soil because organic matter, such as shredded bark or compost, cannot reach it.

The best use of weed barrier fabric is under a gravel or rock mulch, where it will prevent unsightly weeds from poking through the rocks or pavers you’ve put in. It can also be useful under the base of trees to prevent weeds from growing into the tree trunk itself. Otherwise, a thicker layer of organic mulch 2-4″ deep will do the same thing for much less cost and effort.