Outdoor Design Goals: Do You Want a Formal Garden or Informal Outdoor Living Space?

When extending the style of your  home to the outside, you should make the outdoor living space a reflection of your personality and style. Do you want a formal garden or a informal gathering space? This question is one of many that you need to discuss with your landscape architect when having your yard designed.

Formal vs. Informal Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living spaces can consist of formal planting and hardscape features. The result of this type of design is a well-ordered outdoor living area with clear lines and classical or contemporary design.

Informal spaces have a more natural appearance. Often, these spaces will feature plants spilling out of planters or stepping stones with grass growing in between them. Mediterranean-inspired outdoor spaces often appear more informal due to these additions. However, other styles also can lend an informal touch to your yard.

Examples of Formal Outdoor Space

For a formal landscape, consider classically inspired settings. One example is the Attia Estate which incorporates formal water features such as a runnel and fountain. Another view from the same home features benches around a fire pit surrounded by well-kept and contained flower plantings.

These spaces have clearly defined planting areas, walkways, seating areas, and water features. The clean lines make the space seem formal and classically inspired. If you like this type of design, show it to your landscape architect as a style that you might like incorporated into your space.

Examples of More Natural Outdoor Spots

If you prefer the more informal design inspired by nature, consider natural shapes in planting and less structured lines around your space. One example is this French farmhouse design in Orange County created by Mark Scott. The plants are allowed to grow and spill out of their specific planting areas. Grass grows between the walkway stones to create a deliberately Mediterranean look.

Even the water feature in this home has a more natural look thanks to the use of heavy planting and construction that uses multiple colors of stones. This might be a better option for your outdoor living space if you prefer this type of informal, nature-inspired look.

Connect with Southern California’s Premier Landscape Architect, Mark Scott

Get the formal or informal space you desire for your outdoor living area. Contact Mark Scott Associates to start on your journey to a professionally designed landscape that will incorporate natural and manmade elements into a beautiful, cohesive living space for you.