Start your design-build process by creating a landscape mood board

A mood board is a type of collage that designers often use to quickly and efficiently convey a concept, feeling, or “mood” of a design. Creating a mood board is tons of fun and can help you think of ideas for your project and share your style when you meet with your designer.

Many types of designers use mood boards. Foutunately, you don’t need special training to create one of your own. There are just three basic steps to the process:

  1. Collect
  2. Curate
  3. Arrange
Landscaping moodboard

Collect images that inspire you.

Collect images and pictures of things that inspire you. You can do this the old-fashioned way – by clipping pictures from magazines. Or, you can use online tools like Pinterest or Houzz to collect photos of whole yards, plants, furniture, textures, buildings, materials, or anything else that catches your eye.

It’s easy to do this from your computer but don’t forget that some of your best ideas might come from beyond the screen. The next time you are taking a walk around the neighborhood, visiting a park, or on vacation in a different state or country, notice what parts of your surroundings spark your interest and take a few pictures. If you’ve taken a photo or found something in a magazine that you’d like to include in your digital brainstorm, Pinterest and Houzz both make it easy to add your own photos to the mix.

At this stage, don’t censor yourself. Go ahead and save lots of images. Create as many collections as you like – maybe one for pools, one for plants, one for structures – or you can add everything to a single board. There will be plenty of time for picking and choosing your favorites later.

Pinterest Vs. Houzz

Pinterest Vs. Houzz


Pinterest is a social media platform organized around collecting things that inspire you. You can sign in using Google or Facebook, or you can make your own account.

Start by searching for something you imagine in your new yard, or for projects that are similar to yours. For example: "fountains inspired by modern art," or "suburban backyard with a pool." You can save images you like to "boards" and it is easy to create as many boards as you want.

When you click on an image, not only do you get more information about what is in the picture, if you scroll down Pinterest will try to show you other things you might like.


Houzz is a combination of Pinterest, Home Depot, and the Yellow Pages.

Not only can you search for inspiration and save photos you like to Ideabooks, you can also buy furniture and products through the site.

No need to create a new login or account, you can sign-in using a Facebook or Google account.

Be sure to visit Southview Design on Houzz and take a look our projects and ideabooks.

Couple looking at a laptop together in the kitchen

Curate: the process of elimination.

Now that you have plenty of inspiration, it’s time to refine your collection to only include what is most important to you. This might mean comparing images and identifying what elements you like. Push yourself to describe what you like with words, even if it is as simple as noting the color of a flower or the pattern of a patio. Be selective and try to only have 2 or 3 pictures that really embody your ideal version of each element.

If you are using Houzz or Pinterest, it can be useful to create a separate Ideabook or Board where you keep only your favorite images.

Arrange: the finishing touches.

This can be a good place to stop. From dozens of images of pools, gardens, walkways, furniture, and patios, you’ve found a handful that capture your landscaping vision that you can share with your designer.

How to use Canva to make a moodboard.

If you are on a roll and want your mood board to have a more professional feel, you can use Canva. Canva is a free graphic-design tool website that uses drag and drop templates to make designing basic mood boards easy for anyone.

Want to learn how to use Canva? Check out this tutorial on YouTube.

What comes next?

How do you feel? Creative? Confident? Excited? That is the power of the mood board. It helps us to see what is possible. But it is just the beginning – there are still plenty of meetings, renderings, plans to make before the first paver is laid or last shrub is planted.

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