By Luke Kalawsky on February, 3 2021
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Luke Kalawsky

Luke Kalawsky has a passion for all things trees, plants, and landscape design. He has designed numerous landscapes as the head designer in the Surprise, Arizona region until he became a manager of our Central Phoenix Nursery. He now dedicates his knowledge, expertise, and creative capabilities to help the masses discover how to design, plant, and maintain their landscapes with his writings.

The Next Big Thing in Landscape Design

Our nursery pros and expert landscape designers are the best in the business when It comes to professional landscaping ideas. Part of that expertise comes from their ability to recognize, innovate, and develop methods for designing a yard that work for any outdoor space in any style. This allows them to create design standards that become popular across the industry. Our nursery pros and professional landscape architects would like to express to you one of these design concepts and believe it is the next big thing in landscape design.

This exciting design concept is called layering. Layering within landscape design is the process of creating depth and interest by placing trees and plants according to their size in relation to the focal points within the yard. In other words, layering is making sure your bigger trees and plants are near the back of the design and your smaller plants are closer to the front. This forms a texture to the yard and generates incredible appeal to the landscape. Read on to see examples of this powerful design technique!




Notice the layering on this excellently designed Tuscan style landscape. This front yard utilizes two large multi-trunk Olive trees with plenty of character to frame the home and create focal points for curb appeal.

The lower Rosemary shrubs and agaves cover the ground and create texture around the main trees, while being clearly confined within the low Dwarf Myrtle walkway hedge. The trimmed Blue-point Juniper topiaries and medium sized plants near the home itself help to define and accent the front door and windows while providing depth between the home and rest of this Mediterranean-styled landscape.

Tuscan Layered Landscape


The beautiful specimen Olive trees act as the main focal points in the yard.


Upright Rosemary, a selection of flowering plants, and tasteful agave placement create interest inside the Dwarf Myrtle border hedge.


The shaped Blue-point Juniper topiaries mark the entryway and define the entryway and provide a classic accent.






Here we have an example of what happens when the native trees of the southwest are cleverly brought together to form a powerful expression of native beauty. The layering in this landscape design uses an incredible Chilean Mesquite as the primary focal point and centerpiece of the design.

The yard is then accented by several mature Saguaro cacti and is filled in with native shrubs, variegated agaves, and smaller cacti. You can easily see the defined large, mid, and small plant layers in this drought-tolerant, desert landscape design. 

Southwest Layered Landscape


This gorgeous specimen Chilean Mesquite takes center stage in the design.


A few select cacti such as these mature Saguaros make an excellent mid layer accent while retaining an iconic Southwestern look.


The Variegated Century Plant Agave and Golden Barrel cacti bring the immense texture found in this southwest landscape design.





This backyard swimming pool attributes its lush surroundings of paradise to the palm trees and tropical plants that create a layered look. The tall Resort Style Date Palms™ set the tone for a tropical landscape and dominate the large layer of this design with their wavy fronds and diamond-cut trunks.

Taking the mid tier, Thevetia trees compliment the oasis style with vibrant green foliage and prolific yellow bell-shaped flowers. The landscape is pulled together with Hibiscus dotting the back wall and Gold Mound Lantana to pull color from the Thevetia trees.

Tropical Layered Landscape


The Resort-style Date Palms™ bring an upscale luxurious look to the yard and pool.


Thevetia trees fill the middle layer with lovely yellow blooms and plenty of soft green foliage. 


Hibiscus are commonly recognized as a tropical flower and their large red flowers marry wonderfully with the abundant golden blooms of accent Gold Mound Lantana shrubs. 





Modern landscape designs are similar in many ways to contemporary art. Sharp, clean lines and underlying thoughtful concepts are often found at the heart of great modern styled landscapes. This is a exquisite sample of a well-executed modern layered design.

Note the manicured Japanese Privet trees lined along the top layer creating both shade and privacy for this garden area. The mid and low layers are bordered with Japanese Boxwood and Dwarf Myrtle while the flower beds are filled with white flowering shrubs such as Boxwood Beauty

Modern Layered Landscape


The lush and clean Japanese Privet trees stand neat and clean in rows providing privacy and shade.


The Japanese Boxwood sections off the area while being complimented by white flowering shrubs such as Boxwood Beauty or white Lantana.


The Dwarf Myrtle used to define the low tier makes a perfect border between the layers and the grass lawn.






Here at Moon Valley Nurseries our nursery pros and landscape designers are passionate about working with you to make your yard the best it can be. Our professional designers are experts in creating layered landscapes that will perform wonderfully in our local climate.

Whether your landscape is large or small, layering is a powerful technique our designers use everyday within many different design styles to bring you the yard of your dreams. Talk with a designer today to learn what the next big thing in landscape design can look like for you!


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