Healthy and Beautiful Gardens - Landscape design principles
Friday, September 6th, 2013
Issue 36, Volume 17.
To begin, there are eight basic garden design principles – I will be covering four of them here this week and the remainder next time.
Letís start with unity since Iíve listed that one first. Unity should be one of your main goals in creating your landscape – it is what ties everything together, all the elements from hardscape (your house, patio, paths, boulders, etc.) to your softscape (plants).
Unity ties in closely with repetition so Iíll cover both of these right now. Repetition is repeating a pattern. In other words, donít just plop down various plants in random locations. That looks very busy. Try to either plant groups of the same plant together, or if you donít have enough space, repeat the same plant throughout your entire landscape – both is even better.
Groups of three are the ultimate, but if you can only plant one of something due to space constrictions, make sure further down the planting area you plant another one, that will help tie your landscape together.
Unity can also be achieved by utilizing the same rocks/bricks/etc. in your beds, patios, and house. Letís say you have some brick on the house, tie that in with brick ribbons through the patio, and possibly some brick raised beds – that is unity and repetition, although typically when I speak of repetition to clients I am speaking of plant repetition.
Unity can also incorporate a theme in your garden. For example, Japanese, tropical or Mediterranean style are themes that unify the garden andshould be carried throughout.
Letís move on next to color. Iím sure you all know what color is, but when you plant your landscape you want consistency and colors that work together. This can be anything from an all white garden to an all green garden (one with few flowers).
A color wheel will come in handy to see which colors complement each other and which are opposite. Actually, opposites can work quite well in the garden. An example would be colors lavender/purple and yellow – these are contrasting colors. Whites and grays are great blenders in the garden. They make the transition smoother between colors and I personally love to use them for this purpose.
When we talk color we are not just talking about flowers only, we are talking about entire plants, leaves and all, as well as anything else, pots, ornaments, etc. you place in your garden.
My last design topic for this week is balance and this is a very important one. There are two basic types of balance – symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical reminds me of many of the formal style gardens you would see at great estates where each half of the garden is literally a mirror image of the other. An asymmetrical garden plan is more typical and to achieve balance you might have a large specimen shrub on one portion of the yard offset or balanced by a group of three smaller shrubs on the other side. This is simplified, of course, but the basic idea is that you want to balance your yard and you can do that by utilizing structures, such as gazebos or pergolas, to possibly offset or balance a tree.
Unity and repetition plays into balancing the garden as well so itís necessary to take all these principles into consideration when planning a good design. Next week I will explain the remaining design principles which are line, proportion, transition, and simplicity.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me at my email address and get out and enjoy gardening – when itís cooler of course, not in the middle of the day!
Country Gardens Landscape
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