Landscaping Design – The Primary Principles

Principles refer to standards or prescriptions for working with or arranging various elements to produce the intended landscape design. Good landscape design follows a combination of seven principles: unity, balance, proportion, focalization or emphasis, sequence or transition, rhythm, and repetition.

Unity refers to the use of elements to create harmony and consistency with the main theme or idea of the landscape design. Unity gives the landscape design a sense of oneness and interconnection. Unity in landscape design can be achieved by using plants, trees, or material that have repeating lines or shapes, a common hue, or similar texture. However, too much unity in landscape design can be boring. Therefore, it is important to introduce some variety or contrast into the landscape design.

Balance gives the landscape design a sense of equilibrium and symmetry in visual attraction. There are three ways by which balance may be presented in landscape design. Symmetrical or formal balance is achieved when the mass, weight, or number of objects both sides of the landscape design are exactly the same. Asymmetrical or informal balance in landscape design suggests a feeling of balance on both sides, even though the sides do not look the same. Asymmetrical balance in visual attraction may be achieved by using opposing compositions on either side of the central axis. Landscape design with radial balance has a center point. A sunflower, a wheel, and the cross-section of an orange all have radial balance.

Proportion describes the size relationship between parts of the landscape design or between a part of the design and the design as a whole. A large fountain would cramp a small backyard garden, but would complement a sprawling public courtyard. Additionally, proportion in landscape design must take into consideration how people interact with various components of the landscape through normal human activities.

Focalization or Emphasis directs visual attention to a point of interest or prominent part of the landscape design. This could be a hanging earth-forms sculpture, a stone-finished Corinthian garden fountain, a mass of architectural herbaceous perennials, or an elegant spruce. Emphasis in landscape design may be achieved by using a contrasting color, a different or unusual line, or a plain background space. Paths, walkways, and strategically placed plants lead the eye to the focal point of the landscape without distracting from the overall landscape design.

Sequence or Transition creates visual movement in landscape design. Sequence in landscape design is achieved by the gradual progression of texture, form, size, or color. Examples of landscape design elements in transition are plants that go from coarse to medium to fine textures or softscapes that go from large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants. Transition in landscape design may also be used to create depth or distance or to emphasize a focal point.

Rhythm creates a feeling of motion which leads the eye from one part of the landscape design to another part. Repeating a color scheme, shape, texture, line or form evokes rhythm in landscape design. Proper expression of rhythm eliminates confusion and monotony from landscape design.

And finally, repetition in landscape design is the repeated use of objects or elements with identical shape, form, texture, or color. Although it gives the landscape design a unified planting scheme, repetition runs the risk of being overdone. However, when correctly implemented, repetition can lead to rhythm, focalization or emphasis in landscape design.

Landscape Design Style – The Best Look for Your Yard

The right landscape design style for your yard will depend on the appearance of your home, as well as your personal preferences and needs. There are many different styles to consider, each with their own unique characteristics, and each offers a number of individual variations for different tastes and purposes. Listed below are various types of garden styles. See which one will work best for your property.

Formal Gardens have linear patterns, defined shapes, and an overall neatness describe the formal garden style. The Georgian Garden is a perfect example of this design style and many other prominent estates feature the uniformity of a formal landscape design. While formal gardens are spectacular displays, they require extensive maintenance and can be quite costly.

Informal Landscape Designs are natural and relaxed, featuring imperfect shapes and meandering curves. The key to an effective informal design style is planning a natural layout with native plants that grow in overflowing flower beds full of color and texture. This type of landscape has an unkempt, laid back appearance and is easier to maintain than a formal garden, but it still requires careful thought and regular upkeep.

The English Garden Style is a unique blend of formal and informal garden styles, the English, cottage, and country garden designs are colorful and relaxed with an intriguing air of elegance amidst the simplicity. These gardens are characterized by quaint borders and hedges, vibrant, lush blooms, and intimate outdoor living areas.

Oriental Landscapes are peaceful, balanced, and serene, oriental gardens reflect the relaxing effect of nature. These Asian influenced styles highlight the beauty of the outdoors, often on a miniaturized level. Lush bamboo provides privacy and shade, charming foot paths and bridges add elegance, and the natural flow of water brings even more tranquility to these outdoor designs.

Tropical Outdoor Designs are lush, with vivid colors, and depend greatly on a warm, moist climate. Ferns, shrubs, and fruit trees with oversized leaves create a wonderful backdrop for the bright blooms common in a tropical landscape. Comfortable island style accessories with splashes of color create an outdoor paradise with a flair of the tropics.

Desert Garden Styles are dependent upon warm weather, but requiring a more arid environment, southwestern landscape designs make the most of a dry, hot climate. These gardens typically include a variety of native plants like cacti and saw grass. Desert style landscapes demand careful planning, especially in plant selection.

Contemporary Landscape Design is a more modern approach to outdoor design follows a formal garden style with defined lines and geometric shapes, but contemporary garden styles integrate various angles and patterns with innovative outdoor materials as well. Unique garden sculptures, rare plant species, and groups of similar flowers and shrubs are common elements in this style.

Natural Gardens are a completely informal landscape style, natural gardens are typically seen in commercial areas with large expanses of land or outdoor parks rather than residences. Also referred to as Xeriscape, this style incorporates native plants in carefully planned natural areas for a landscape that reflects the pure qualities of nature.

Mediterranean Style Landscape Design with its warm, breezy Mediterranean coast was where gardening seen its origin so it is not surprising that there are a variety of design styles within this broad category. The Italian Renaissance style, also referred to as Palazzo, falls neatly into this category and features refined patterns and formal designs that reflect the period of classic Rome. Tuscan landscape designs are one of the most popular Mediterranean garden styles These quaint and rustic outdoor spaces are influenced by Old World Tuscany and feature natural materials with elegant accessories.

Landscape Design – The Principles and Elements of Landscaping

Introduction to Landscape Design

The Definition of Landscaping

Improve the aesthetic appearance of (an area) by changing its contours, adding ornamental features, or planting trees and shrubs.

“the site has been tastefully landscaped”.

What is Landscape Design?

Landscape design is not something that anyone needs to be fearful of, if you have an idea for your landscape or garden space you will be able to make it reality with a little bit of research and desire to create something beautiful.

As a potential Landscape Designer you need to be aware that your backyard masterpiece is going to be a living and growing thing that will change as the plants grow and develop, the environment changes through the season and you and your family use the space you have created. You will also grow as a person and landscaper as you learn through the experience and as a direct result of your personal growth and confidence in your ability your landscaping ideas and designs will also advance dramatically.

However you choose to Landscape your garden the priority is always to create something that you love, it will be your space and you will create something that is visually pleasing, functional and ultimately a landscape that works for you and for your garden.

What are the Landscaping Elements?

The first step in any design process is to put the ‘Elements’ in place for your Landscaping Space, obviously this changes for every single project because of the size of your space, the level of the ground, the conditions of the site and the soil and what is already there and may need to be worked around.

You, as the landscaper, need to sit and draw a rough plan of your space and place in any fixed feature that you may be required to work around (eg. a manhole cover). I would recommend doing a rough scale map of the area you have available to work in. It does not have to be fancy but a plan that is easy for you to work on and visualise your landscaping ideas.

When you have your basic plan (make sure you make a few copies) you can start to organise the hardscape materials and plants. Hardscape and Plants are referred to as features.

Features are anything that can be physically described by the visual qualities of:

Line – Form – Colour – Texture – visual weight.

These are the Elements of Landscaping Design.

What are the Landscaping Principles?

The principles of Landscaping are the guidelines that we use to arrange and organise the features to create a beautiful landscape, the fundamental concepts of landscape composition are proportion (always remember that plants grow over time), order (remember size and colour), repetition (how large or small a space do with to cover with a certain effect), and unity (will they and do they work together).

Understanding the Elements and Principles of Landscaping Design is the basic foundation of all landscaping Design, at this stage you just need to put your ideas down and think about what you want to create.

If you are brand new to landscape design do not be afraid, just apply your thoughts, ideas and what you are wanting to create to your design and deal with the details as you research and progress further into your landscaping experience.