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Landscape Design Techniques For
Beautiful Landscapes

Color And Form In A Landscape Design

Most people focus in on color first when considering their landscape design but this is not necessarily the place to start. Color in the garden, with a few exceptions, is fleeting. It comes in and out of the garden with the seasons, or even a lesser period of time. Most plants only bloom for a few weeks and then their flowers fade. Form lasts all year and is a more powerful element of the garden.

That is not to say that color is not important. Splashes of color are generally what catches the eye and get us excited. Form is even more powerful to how we feel about what we are seeing. Forms that are predominantly horizontal are soothing and relaxing. Forms that are predominately vertical add energy to the landscape. Those are powerful reactions that can be enhanced in the landscape. The impression and feelings that form can exert on how we take in a landscape, or a piece of art, far outlasts the same emotions that color gives us.

Where To Use Height In A Landscape Design

Height plays several important roles in a landscape design.

The height of a plant can help set scale to a property by presenting something the eye can relate to and measure the surroundings by. It can also soften the hard vertical lines of a house or other building.

The height of a plant can also affect where and how much shade is cast. Using a deciduous tree to shade the south side of a house can cool it in the summer but let the sun warm it in the winter when the leaves have dropped. A taller plant can also affect the micro-climate of the plants growing underneath it. A plant that was planted in partial sun may not be able to survive full shade as the plant above it matures.

Using taller plants in the back and smaller plants in the front is a technique known as layering. It adds depth to a planting bed and allows plants to be visible when they look their best, and to be somewhat hidden when they do not.

Appealing To The Senses With Landscape Design

Landscape design is a visual art. Beautiful landscapes appeal to our visual sense. Really good landscape design appeals to all of the senses. The way leaves of ornamental grasses rustle in the wind or the sound of wind chimes appeals to our sense of sound. The scent of lilac or lavender can bring back fond memories and create a feeling of relaxation. The soft feel of Lamb’s Ear can bring a smile to one’s face.

A good landscape design takes all of the senses into account and works to incorporate plants and elements that will appeal to each. Understanding how they will all work together takes a lot of thought and consideration. When done correctly, a garden can be both soothing and provide awakening at the same time.

Something For All Season With Landscape Design

Seasons come and go. Finding plants, or combinations or plants, that have something interesting to offer in multiple seasons is a challenge.

Spring, of course, is the easy one. The garden comes alive each spring and most plants bloom at this time of the year.

Although many plants bloom in the summer, there are certainly less of them than in the spring. This is a good time to plant mid-season blooming perennials and to supplement with annuals, which generally bloom from spring through fall. There are also plenty of plants with vibrant foliage color which can add a ton of excitement during the summer.

Obviously in fall we consider leaf color an important feature of many plants. This is also the time of year that can highlight the seeds of many plants.

Winter can be a little more challenging but is not impossible. Many tree have very interesting bark and structures that add appeal. There are also plenty of evergreen plants, some with variegated foliage, that add lots of interest.

Repetition In Landscape Design

Repetition creates rhythm in a landscape, and rhythm creates the comfortable feeling of having seen something before. Repetition also leads the eye on a journey through the landscape, taking us from one point to another to another.

Repetition can be created by repeating a plant throughout the gardens, a group of plants, or plants with similar forms, textures and colors. The use of boulders and gravels can also accomplish this goal.

Bringing The Landscape Design Together

Bringing all of this together in one cohesive landscape is the ultimate goal of landscape design. This is made more challenging by the fact that landscape are comprised of living, breathing and perishable components. Understanding the individual needs of each specie of plant used is an important knowledge base to have when putting together any plant palette.

The end result, a beautiful landscape to be enjoyed, makes the thought process and creativity worthwhile.


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