Property Whisperer Design Specialties

Land design.jpg

Paul's designs and projects have been featured on,,, and  Property Whisperer was a Thumbtack's Best of 2015 Winner in the Creative Landscapers category.  Paul has worked on and received ALCA awards on projects over $1M, designed the water-fountain and main entrance landscape for one of the largest hospitals in Phoenix Valley Abrazo Arrowhead Campus Hospital, project managed landscape installation at City North (renamed High Street), and designed the 16th story penthouse patio that was featured in the 2010 Health and Wealth $1M Grand Prize.  Kneisl feels privileged to meet with his clients and get an intimate glimpse of their true appreciation for life: what inspires, energizes, and makes them feel alive, fulfilled, and at peace.  Property Whisperer Paul Kneisl says, "My clients’ personal inspirations of beauty help me to design their outdoor living spaces to be an outward reflection of their inner happy places, thus their unique outdoor environment is a perpetually nurturing reminder that allows them to tap into a priceless healthy and positive state of mind."

The beginning concept of new landscape design projects most always take their styles based on the style of a home, personal and family needs, and the personality of the owner when possible. Beginning with a theme in mind and a complete finished plan will help keep the project on track as well as create and maintain unity between the home, landscaping, and garden.

While there are several different landscape design styles that are quite popular and used a lot in most landscaping and garden designs, they are not limited to a strict and selected list of types and themes. Still, most folks try to at least start with a theme that will match their home style and geographic area. And while we will take a look at those in this list, you still might want to see pictures of landscape styles on pinterest, houzz, etc to get a better visual idea of the possible types you can use.

Again, keep in mind that the following list of design types is only a partial list of the most commonly used in most gardens and landscape design. And while the foundation of these design styles is commonly named according to geographic location or home style, the end product is limited only to the imagination.

Modern land design.jpg

Modern/ Contemporary Landscaping Style
A modern or contemporary garden is characterized by a sleek, streamlined and sophisticated style. Modern garden designs draw on the simplicity of Asian design practices. Generally, a modern garden places more focus on the architecture and materials than on the plants and greenery. Geometric shapes and repeating patterns are often employed in contemporary outdoor spaces. The main idea is to create a garden that has a controlled and organized appearance.  Modern gardens often rely on hardscaping and structural elements to achieve their minimalist look, with plants used as accents to provide contrast and color. Designs for these gardens are rarely haphazard and should be carefully thought-out so all the elements will work together in harmony.


Midcentury Modern Style
When it comes to boosting the curb appeal of your midcentury modern home, less is more. The design aesthetic for this period of architecture (1945-1965) is best described as minimalist with clean lines, flat or gabled roofs, dramatic edges and large picture windows.  In terms of landscaping, again, think minimal; think sustainable. The midcentury modern design philosophy was to be in harmony with the outside.

Mediterranean Style
As with most design styles, this theme gets a lot of its atmosphere from the plants used to create it. And as new varieties of Palm trees and different Mediterranean plant varieties are propagated to conform to different climates, the Mediterranean design style is becoming one of the most popular themes used in many parts of the world.

Japanese Garden Style
While there aren’t a lot of Eastern and Japanese type homes in the U.S., the Eastern way and philosophy of designing gardens has become very popular in the Western world. So in order to enjoy the order and elegance of this garden theme, most folks either devote all or part of their backyards to it. In most instances, it clashes with the look of most modern home designs.

Cottage Gardens
Cottage gardens were originally created for raising crops to sustain families. However, over time, they have taken on a whole new appearance and use. Originally, flowers were few or established only by blown in seed. Still, even though a lot of the time this style still makes room for kitchen, herb, and vegetable gardens, it has become a more popular type of flower garden.

Southwest Landscape Designs
A very popular theme and atmosphere that can be created through the type of garden decor as well as type of plants. While mostly used in arid regions like Arizona and New Mexico, it is becoming quite popular in many parts of the world. Again, since a lot of the atmosphere for this theme can be created with decor and hardscapes, it is becoming more popular in many areas that can’t sustain the type of arid plants used in this design style.

Formal Gardens
Formal landscape design depends a lot on straight lines and geometrical shapes. Many times this style is very symmetrical. Plants are in order and continually pruned to maintain their formal effect.

Tropical Landscape Design Style
Depending on geographic location and type of plants, this landscaping theme is often grouped in the same area as Mediterranean gardens. However, the plants generally have much larger leaves and flowering plants with intense bright color. Thick foliage placed toward the back of planting beds creates a dense tropical atmosphere planting area.

Tuscan Garden Design
These gardens almost always exhibit some form of statuary or fountain--especially wall fountains, which give an older aged feel.  Old Terra Cotta planters, vase shaped planters, and broken pots laying among beds will also give an old Tuscan Feel. The plants you use, however, are one of your main keys to getting the right feel. Use plants from the Mediterranean and Italian regions.

While Xeriscaping isn’t actually a design style, but is more of a water wise method of landscaping, it's still usually referred to as a theme or style. Most often associated with Southwest, Santa Fe, Arizona, or Desert landscape designs, it's generally a part of all of these design types. However, what most folks don’t understand is that xeriscape principles can be applied to almost all landscape design styles to help preserve natural resources as well as save money. Well worth looking into.

Permaculture is typically considered to be a productive design concept, where your synergistic land system produces more output resources fueled with less inputs.  The ultimate intention of Permaculture is for each component to complement each other within the ecosystem, thus eliminating waste and providing purposeful byproducts that can be used as resources to keep the system going with less work.  Mother Nature has this system down the best!

Final Considerations For Selecting Landscape Design Styles

  • Consider the design of your home. Is there a strong popular theme that is commonly used and associated with the type of home you have?
  • Take local natural resources and conditions into account. Is there a need for Xeriscaping, native plants, or a style of landscape design that is more hardscape elements rather than lawn and a lot of plants?
  • Future maintenance. Are you the type that likes to spend a lot of time working in the yard or do you simply enjoy seeing and relaxing in it? While some landscaping styles and themes will work with almost any type of home, some require a lot of work and some require very little at all.

Property Whisperer is well versed in the aforementioned design principles and will be happy to discuss customized design options for your property needs.