Good Landscape Design

Garden landscape design skilfully executed

Posted: 17/02/2016 in Garden Design

Good garden landscape design transforms the natural environment into beautiful and functional outdoor spaces. Creating a garden enjoyed by all entails carefully laying out various elements to successfully realise both inspiration and the land's physical promise. While this is a task most garden owners prefer to leave to professionals, a working knowledge of the principles of landscape design greatly enhances their appreciation of the design and build process and allows them to better engage with designers or landscape contractors.

Good landscaping design maximises the use of the given outdoors space in a way that is also most visually pleasing. Design involves the functional as well as artful utilisation of hard and soft elements, i.e. those that are constructed and those that are planted, respectively. Hard landscaping includes walls, fencing, paving and surfaces and structures such as terraces, steps, pergolas and gazebos. These hard elements, which give form and structure to the landscape design, amplify the aesthetic quality of the garden as well as address practical considerations such as privacy and pathways. Soft landscaping, of course, is everything to do with planting and installing garden beds and hedges.

Skillfully combining soft and hard landscaping to achieve the garden's intended effect is often a matter of applying basic design rules. How the eye moves and flows throughout the garden entails utilising linear principles - straight lines move the eye directly from one focus to the next, and creates a more structured appearance. Curved lines, on the other hand, gives a softer, more relaxed feel to the space. Colour, meanwhile, creates interest and focus and can make small areas look larger. Smart repetition of elements provides rhythm to the design and emphasises certain aspects.

Good landscape design strives for balance and proportion. Gardens can be symmetrically balanced, or halves being mirror images of each other, or asymmetrically balanced, seemingly random but providing interesting contrast and a natural character. Proportion, or the size of elements relative to one another, considers the proper relationship among width, length and depth. The transition between elements of the garden, on the other hand, should be gradual, for a pleasing, natural flow of movement.

One good rule to fall back on, especially for DIY gardens, is to keep things simple. Choosing a few design elements, colours and planting minimises mistakes and avoids clutter. More can be added later if needed.

Essentially, landscape design should be coherent, consistent and unified. Unity is perhaps the most important principle to bear in mind. The best gardens communicate their theme or main idea in a single glance, then heighten appreciation by unfolding elements one by one.