Great landscape designs will follow the basic principles of landscape design - unity, simplicity, balance, color, natural transition, line, proportion, and repetition. Yet, these principles are not hard and fast rules that should be applied to every aspect of a landscape project. A good landscape designer will use some of the principles while allowing for creativity and individuality in the landscape or garden design.
In most cases, the creativity and individuality in the landscape design comes from you, the client. Whether you want to incorporate items from other landscapes you have seen or just work your favorite color into the garden design, the landscape designer should be able to combine your desires and the design principles. If the landscape designer has, at the very least, a basic understanding of the design principles they will partner with you to generate a great landscape design for a front yard landscaping, hardscape project, patio design, water feature, or landscape lighting.
Here are some further details on the basic principles of landscape design to help you decide which techniques you would like to see in your project.
Unity: This principle should be included in all landscape designs. Through repetition and consistent use of one or more elements, like plants, shrubs, or stone, throughout the landscape a sense of unity can be achieved. A theme such as a color, texture, decor, or style of garden is a simple way to create unity in a landscape design.
The picture to the right is a good example of a unified design.
Simplicity: Keep it simple. You can always add more to the landscape later if it is boring. An example of simplicity is limiting the number of colors used in the landscape, like in the picture to the right.
Balance: Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, but both alternatives create a sense equality in the landscape design. Symmetrical balance is characterized by equally spaced, matching elements in the design. Asymmetrical balance is distinguished by separate or different themes within a unified design. Each theme has an equal but different type of attraction.
The photo on the left is a good example of asymmetrical balance.
Color: Color can be used to draw your eye to a specific area of the garden or to add dimension and depth to the landscape. Bright colors like reds and yellows stand out and make objects appear closer to you, while cooler colors like blues and greens make objects seem farther away. Neutral colors like blacks, whites, and grays are typically used in the background to support the bright colors in the foreground. Neutrals may also be used increase depth in the landscape.
The photo to the right is a sample of the use of two colors in a landscape area. Notice the use of the color white in the background and pink in the foreground.
Natural Transition: This is a gradual change in the landscape brought about by an ascending or a descending arrangement of multiple elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes. Transition can be used to create depth or frame a focal point in the garden design.
The photo to the left shows the beauty that natural transition can bring to a landscape.
Line: Lines are what give a landscape design structure. Lines are created by the flow of walks, beds, and entryways. For a formal and direct setting, use straight lines. For a more natural and flowing environment, use curving lines.
The photo to the right illustrates how the use of lines draws you into the landscape, inviting you to further explore your surroundings.
Proportion: Proportion is how the size differences of the various elements in the landscape relate to one another. Proportion must be considered for all elements when they are first installed. If plant material is included in the design, then the changes in proportion that will occur as the plants grow and change must be accounted for, too.
To the left is an example of a landscape with great proportion.
Repetition: Repeating a limited number of elements throughout your landscape assists in unifying the design. Too many unrelated items can cause a landscape to look cluttered. Too many related items and the garden can become boring. Getting the combination just right can look result in a striking effect, as seen in the picture below.
The landscape designer at Upstream Waters Landscape uses these principles as guidelines for creating landscape designs, garden designs, patio designs, hardscape designs, and water features. Whether a new installation or a rejuvenation of an existing landscape, our landscape designer will use these principles to upgrade and enhance the landscape and gardens around your house or commercial building. Once you approve the final design for your project, Upstream Waters Landscape is your go to landscape contractor to install the design envisioned for your new hardscape, water feature, lighting or planting project.