Landscape design is the balanced combination of both art and architecture to create a beautiful, functional outdoor living space. Landscape architects incorporate natural elements with the skill of building to create spaces that flow, are aesthetically pleasing, and emit feelings of peace.
To create a stunning landscape that feels both thoughtful and effortless, follow these basic principles of landscape design.
#1 – Color
Variation in the use of color is a basic yet vital element of landscape architecture. Primary colors are red, yellow, blue, and secondary colors—violet, orange, and green—are a combination. Colors can also come in a variety of shades ranging from light and pale to deep and vibrant. Consider one of three color schemes when choosing your landscape design.
Monochromatic consists of one color in several different shades or tints. An analogous color scheme includes colors that are adjacent to one another on the color wheel—like various blues, greens, and violets placed side by side. Complementary color schemes combine colors from across the color wheel like red and green.
Some landscape designs may follow one color scheme year-round, or the color scheme may evolve during different seasons throughout the year—like when different plants or flowers bloom in spring or summer or when leaves change in the fall.
Keep in mind that bright, vivid colors are strong and draw attention while cool colors tend to be more calming and restful.
#2 – Texture
This relates to the surface quality of an object in a landscape design, like foliage, leaves, blossoms, walkways, patios, and buildings. Examples of different textures might be coarse, fine, rough, smooth, dull, or glossy. Use a variety of textures to add depth to your landscape.
#3 – Line
This element relates to the flow or movement of the eye across a landscape design. Line includes the way flower beds are arranged and how they flow or fit together. There are also vertical lines in changes of plant, tree, and shrub height and the way their canopies reach or drape.
Your landscape may include modern, structural, straight lines, more gentle, curved, free-flowing lines, or a combination of both.
#4 – Form
While line refers to the separation of each element by outlines in a landscape design, form is an encompassing term for the entire area. Form relates to the shape and structure of a specific plant or a group of plants within an outline. Examples of the form of plants in a landscape design may include oval, columns, weeping, or spreading.
#5 – Scale
Scale relates to the size of a plant or object in relation to its surroundings. It’s important to consider the size of an element in your landscape design as it relates to the objects adjacent to it.
#6 – Balance
Balance is crucial when it comes to developing a cohesive landscape design that flows freely and is pleasing to the eye. It includes symmetry and equilibrium in the overall visual aesthetic of the design.
For example, balance is achieved when each side of the landscape is a mirror image of the other. A distinct dividing line between each side can be identified clearly. Lines, forms, colors, and textures are used on each side to achieve symmetry.
Balance can also be achieved in an asymmetrical way through colors, textures, and forms. While compositions may be opposing on either side of the design, there are still balancing elements like the same mass but in different colors or the same plant in the same scale but in different heights.
Achieving asymmetrical balance takes great skill on the part of the landscape architect and requires thoughtful planning and execution.
#7 – Repetition
This is when plants with identical features like color, texture, line, or form are used repeatedly throughout a landscape design. When done well, repetition doesn’t create monotony but a sense of rhythm, focalization, and unity in the overall design. Repetition is how beauty is achieved without a design looking too busy or cluttered.
#8 – Proportion
Proportion is the size of different elements of a landscape in relation to each other and the design as a whole. For example, a large water feature may dominate a small, private garden but would make a grand statement in a public park or city plaza. A large tree may tower over a small home but add balance to a tall office building. A small swimming pool wouldn’t make sense in the center or a large lawn but would add character to a cozy backyard area.
Proportion is key to doing different design elements justice and placing them in areas where they’ll fit and enhance the space.
#9 – Transition
Consider the transitions throughout the space. For example, there may be a flow of medium to fine textures throughout the design or shorter to taller plants. Some features in a landscape design may include transitions of more than one element at a time—like short, coarse, darker plants to tall, soft, brighter ones.
Remember, the purpose of transitions is to gradually move the viewer’s eye along the path of your design in a natural way.
Landscape Design in Salt Lake City, UT
Eliminate unnecessary detail to create a landscape that’s stunningly simple and functional. Consistent style and character create harmony when all parts of a landscape fit together. The goal is to achieve this natural feeling that comes through thoughtful, professional design.
Our goal is to help you love what you see when you step outside your property. Turn heads and enjoy the perfect landscape design you’re looking for with help from our team of experienced, passionate architects.