5 Basic Elements of Landscape Design

The perfect balance of design features is essential to draw the eye and bring harmony to a space. Color is probably the easiest of the five basic concepts to understand. Some colors go better together than others, and our eye can tell the difference. However, it's more than just art, there's also a bit of science.

If you want to understand what colors go well together, take a look at this basic color wheel. The colors at opposite ends of the wheel are called “complementary colors”, meaning they go well together. We have blue combined with orange, red and green, and purple with yellow. If you want to add a splash of color to your landscape but don't know where to start, this color wheel can help you get started.

You need to create a focal point in your landscape design. That focal point could be a fountain, a sitting area, an interesting tree, or anything else. Part of what makes it a focal point is that it is different (in color, scale, texture, etc.). But part of this is how you suggest to the eye that it's a focal point.

It can have lines of shrubs that lead directly to it, or surround it with an especially bright splash of color. No matter what path you take, a focal point is an important part of landscape design, and color and lines are two tools that help you emphasize it. Form in landscaping refers to the shape that a particular plant takes. Not all trees are the same, obviously. Some have branches that reach the sky; others lean down.

Some are short and stubby, others tall and narrow. Varying the shape of the plants in your landscape is a great way to add interest to your garden: using exactly the same shape on all your plants is a guaranteed entrance to the city for sleep. Last but not least, texture refers to the pattern that a plant created when viewed from a distance. Does the plant have large or small leaves? Are the edges straight or jagged? How many leaves does each branch have? All of these things play an important role in defining the texture of a plant. Like the shape, varying the texture of the plants in your garden is a great way to add more visual interest. This design element creates shapes, establishes dominance, and controls eye and body movement.

Landscape designers use lines to create an infinite variety of shapes and patterns, or manipulate perceived depth and distance to develop spaces with cohesive themes. In landscapes, lines are created by edges between materials, contours or silhouettes of a shape, or linear features. Bed lines, hard landscape lines, path lines, grass lines, and fence lines are excellent examples of this element in operation. This design element refers to the three-dimensional space that inhabits a shape. Structures, plants and gardens represent formal and informal shapes, such as circles, squares, or organic borders, but so do the voids between them.

Therefore, shape is the most influential element in determining spatial organization and general style. This design element refers to the thick or fine qualities of surfaces, whether it be plant foliage, flowers, bark and branching patterns, or facades, patios and walkways. Thick textures tend to dominate color and shape, so they are used to attract attention, while fine textures are used to unify compositions. The contrasts created by the thick textures help landscape designers generate interest while fine textures help exaggerate distance creating the feeling of a more open space. This element of design is what gives landscapes a palpable dimension. Guided by color theory landscape color themes shape warm tones will make objects appear closer while cool tones will make them feel further away.

Landscape designers use color theory to determine which color schemes fit best and how colors should be organized. The basic color schemes are monochrome analogous and complementary. Structures plants and gardens represent formal and informal shapes such as circles squares or organic borders but so are the voids between them therefore shape is the most influential element in determining spatial organization and overall style. This design element refers to the thick or fine qualities of surfaces whether it be plant foliage flowers bark and branching patterns or facades patios and walkways Thick textures tend to dominate color and shape so they are used to attract attention while fine textures are used to unify compositions Design elements and principles are particularly useful when creating rooms because they help define spaces add interest and create a unified functional and aesthetically pleasing landscape. Lines such as those used for garden beds and paths help draw attention to focal points and contribute to continuity in your landscape Because color is temporary it should be used to highlight more durable elements such as texture and shape Unity is achieved by bringing together elements and characteristics to create a coherent character in composition therefore arrangement and sequence of plants are dictated by lines used in creating landscape design. In exterior design scale refers to size ratio between garden elements surrounding spaces Repetition doesn't always create pattern sometimes it's simply repeated use psychological comfort also affected by sense pleasure viewer perceives from unified harmonious landscape Proportion proportion refers size parts landscape design each other landscape design whole property structures human elements. If you want add splash color your landscape but don't know where start this color wheel can help you get started Defining landscaping project identifying right equipment help you design install maintain easier if you are.

Matthew Martsolf
Matthew Martsolf

Unapologetic social media fanatic. Amateur zombieaholic. Lifelong food enthusiast. Proud web scholar. Evil twitter practitioner.

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