Key Factors in Rural Property Landscape Design

3D landscape design image of a rural property showing the orchard, vegetable gardens, greenhouse, potting shed, machinery and storage sheds, the lake area, water storage solutions and stormwater run off collection solutions for this country property in rural Victoria. Integrated into this landscape design is wildlife corridors with areas of diverse native plantings for habitat creation and biodiversity.


When it comes to designing a rural property landscape, you must take into account several factors that play a pivotal role in creating a harmonious and sustainable environment.

From understanding the topography to considering native plant selection and incorporating functional zones, each element contributes to the overall success of the design, as its functionality and aesthetics depend on these.

Let’s explore some of these key factors and their significance in rural property landscape design.

Image showing the master plan of a rural property with permaculture design principles incorporated.

Understanding the Topography

One of the foundational aspects of rural property landscape design is a comprehensive understanding of the land’s topography.

From analyzing slopes and other elevation changes to drainage patterns. These natural features make or break when it comes to making adequate decisions.

For example, slopes can influence water runoff and erosion, so incorporating them into the design can help minimize disturbance and maintain soil regeneration. This step ensures that the design works in harmony with the land’s inherent characteristics.

Image showing biodiverse Native habitat windbreaks with a selection of plants native to the area.

Native Plant Selection

Choosing the right plants is essential for a successful rural landscape. Opting for native plants is a wise choice for several reasons: 

First, they are well-adapted to the local climate, requiring less maintenance and water, they are also best suited for the soil conditions in the area.

Also, they promote biodiversity by providing habitat and food for local wildlife, contributing to a balanced ecosystem and natural pest control indirectly. Furthermore, they serve a visual purpose, as they help maintain harmony.

When considering plant selection, incorporate a variety of plants that bloom at different times throughout the seasons to maintain visual interest constant throughout the year. This not only supports the local environment but also enhances the features of your rural property.

Functional Zoning

Dividing your property into functional zones based on intensive energy usage is a key aspect of rural property landscape design and a key design principle of permaculture design. This zoning helps enhance the capabilities and functionality of the location.

Whether it’s creating leisure spaces, agricultural areas, or wildlife habitats, thoughtful planning ensures that different parts of your property serve their intended purpose effectively.

Agricultural Considerations

For rural properties that include agricultural activities, the landscape design should support these endeavors.

This involves incorporating elements such as irrigation systems, accessible pathways, and storage areas for agricultural tools and equipment such as  machinery, shovels, watering cans or sprinkles, to name a few.

Image of a rural property landscape design by Lisa Harper showing multiple Native vegetation areas with a mixture of trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcover for wildlife habitat around the utility sheds of this farm.

Water Management

Proper water management is crucial in rural landscapes to prevent erosion and maintain healthy vegetation.

Swales and terracing, dams, water tanks, and even retention ponds are tools that can effectively capture and manage rainwater to maintain proper moisture, prepare for drought conditions as well as indulge in zero waste practices where possible as water is a precious resource.

Hardscape Elements

Integrating hardscape elements like walls, pathways, retaining walls, driveways, and patios is essential to complement the rural surroundings, for these man-made items add to the visuals.

Locally sourced materials for these elements allow the design to blend seamlessly with the environment, creating a cohesive and natural look that appeals to the sight and reduces the carbon footprint if sourced locally.

Wildlife Habitat Creation

To encourage wildlife habitats on your rural property, consider adopting features like birdhouses, bat boxes, insect piles, retaining some fallen logs and trees for native birdlife and pollinator gardens. 

Designing with consideration for the ecological footprint of the local environment fosters biodiversity and overhauls the overall ecosystem of any given landscape. Every landscape should include a variety or native vegetation, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, trees and a natural water source to allow a variety of native fauna to survive and live in the area.

Other Factors

Additional notions such as privacy, views, sustainability and eco-friendliness, cultural and historical context of the territory, lighting and nightscapes, and even maintenance planning are all key points to consider. 

Make sure you combine them all accordingly for optimal results in your rural property design.

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