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The Pros and Cons of Using Themes for Your Landscaping

  • summer private garden with blooming Hydrangea Annabelle. Curvy lawn edge, beautiful pathway. Landscape design in English cottage style.

Themed yards are landscapes designed around a specific motif or concept, which creates a cohesive look and feel for your outdoor space.

Think of them as the ultimate expression of your personal style, but outdoors. Whether you want a tropical paradise, an elegant English garden, or a backyard built for BBQ bashes, using a theme can help guide your plant choices, colour scheme, and decorative elements, ensuring everything works in harmony.

Now, let’s delve into some popular themes and explore their upsides and downsides.

Common Themes in Landscape Design

The English Garden

If you’ve ever daydreamed about sipping tea in the midst of lush greenery and beautiful blooms, the English Garden theme may be for you. This classic style typically features flower beds, boxwood hedges, ornate fountains, and perhaps even a gazebo.


Visual Elegance: The lush greenery and intricate layout can turn your yard into a visual masterpiece. The aesthetic appeal alone can enhance your property’s value.

Eco-Friendly: The variety of plants can attract pollinators, contributing to local ecosystems.

Versatility: While generally formal, the English Garden style can be adapted to fit various settings, from suburban yards to grand estates.


High Maintenance: This is not a set-it-and-forget-it garden. It will require regular pruning, watering, and possibly even professional care to maintain its beauty.

Cost: Between the various types of plants, the fountains, and other decorative elements, the costs can add up quickly.

Climate Sensitivity: Not all traditional English Garden plants may be suited for every climate, particularly harsh Canadian winters.

The Cabana Resort

Imagine stepping into your backyard and feeling like you’re on vacation.

The Cabana Resort theme usually includes features like a pool, an outdoor bar, lounge chairs, and even hammocks, all designed to make every day feel like a holiday.


Entertainment Hub: Your home will become the go-to spot for social events, barbecues, and family gatherings.

Vacation Vibe: No need for a getaway when your backyard feels like a resort.

Property Value: A well-executed resort theme can be a huge selling point and increase your property value significantly.


Maintenance: Pools require cleaning, pH balancing, and winterizing. Plants around the pool will also need special attention.

Utilities: Expect a surge in your utility bills, especially if you’re running an outdoor fridge, lighting, and heating the pool.

Space Requirement: To achieve the full resort effect, you’ll need a larger yard space, which may not be feasible for everyone.

Zen Oasis

A Zen Oasis theme focuses on creating a space for relaxation and reflection, often featuring elements like koi ponds, bonsai trees, and rock gardens. It’s your go-to theme for a serene, peaceful backyard.


Mental Wellness: The tranquility of a Zen garden can provide a real boost to your mental well-being.

Low Maintenance: Typically, this theme requires fewer plants, making it easier to care for.

Unique Selling Point: If you ever decide to sell your property, a well-executed Zen Oasis can stand out in the market.


Initial Costs: Elements like koi ponds or rock gardens can be expensive to install.

Limited Child-Friendliness: A Zen garden is about calm and tranquility, which might not align with younger family members’ needs.

Specialized Care: While generally low-maintenance, the specialized elements like bonsai or koi ponds do require some specific care.

Rustic Farmhouse

Inspired by the rural life, the Rustic Farmhouse theme includes vegetable gardens, wooden fences, and perhaps even some small livestock. It’s your slice of country living, even if you’re in the suburbs.


Sustainability: Growing your own vegetables is both rewarding and sustainable.

Budget-Friendly: Many elements of a rustic farmhouse theme can be built DIY, saving you money.

Charm Factor: The rustic elements can add a unique, charming vibe to your property.


Time-Consuming: Maintaining a vegetable garden and possibly caring for livestock requires a significant time commitment.

Zoning Restrictions: Before you bring in those chickens, make sure your local zoning laws allow for it.

Seasonal Adjustments: Your gardening and outdoor activities may be limited during harsh Canadian winters, requiring you to think seasonally.

Hybrid Concepts: The Best of Both Worlds

So, you’ve read through the themes, and you’re scratching your head, thinking, “I like this, but I also like that. Do I really have to pick just one?” The answer is a resounding no.

Combining elements from different themes to create a unique, hybrid landscape design is not only possible but also an exciting way to maximize both the aesthetic and functional aspects of your outdoor space.

Cabana-Zen Hybrid

Suppose you’re working with a smaller yard but still want the resort vibes of a Cabana theme. Why not integrate some Zen elements to maximize your relaxation?

While you may not have room for a full-sized pool, a smaller water feature or a koi pond could give you that resort-like water element, as well as the tranquility associated with Zen gardens. Opt for lounge chairs that have a more natural or minimalistic design and focus on more subdued colours to marry the Cabana vivacity with Zen calmness.

You can even install a mini outdoor bar near a rock garden, so you can sip your mojito while contemplating the serenity of your space.

Rustic Farmhouse Meets Zen Oasis

Perhaps you like the sustainable aspect of the Rustic Farmhouse but also enjoy the tranquility offered by a Zen Oasis. Well, you’re in luck.

Instead of traditional vegetable plots, you can build raised garden beds filled with both vegetables and Zen-friendly plants like ornamental grasses. A rustic, wooden fence can encircle a peaceful koi pond, allowing you to meditate to the gentle clucking of your chickens in the background. A small gravel path can lead to your vegetable garden, lined with large stones to sit and reflect.

The blending of these two themes helps you create a sanctuary that feeds both your body and soul.

English Garden With Cabana Flair

Perhaps you’re charmed by the romantic allure of the English Garden but also relish the idea of a lively Cabana Resort.

While traditional English Gardens usually feature lush greenery and floral arrangements, there’s no rule against adding a lively social hub within that space. You can create a designated area for social gatherings with an outdoor bar and seating, framed by the classic English boxwood hedges and flower beds.

During the day, your English Garden reigns supreme, but as the sun sets, the area transforms into your very own Cabana Resort. You’ll be sipping Pimm’s one moment and a piña colada the next, all in the comfort of your beautifully landscaped backyard.

Creating a hybrid landscape theme opens a world of possibilities, allowing you to tailor your space to fit multiple needs and desires.Discover the pros and cons of using themed landscaping to transform your outdoor space. Explore popular themes such as English Gardens, Cabana Resorts, Zen Oases, and Rustic Farmhouses. Learn how to create unique hybrid concepts that cater to your desires, enhancing both aesthetics and functionality.

It’s all about taking what you love from each concept and finding a harmonious way to blend them into your ideal outdoor living space. With some creativity and thoughtful planning, you can truly craft an environment that is uniquely yours.

By | 2023-10-24T12:22:10-05:00 October 18th, 2023|Blog, Landscape Design, Landscapes|