5 Basic Elements of Landscape Design

The perfect balance of design features is essential to create a harmonious space. Color is the most straightforward concept to understand when it comes to landscape design. It's not just about art, but also science. To understand which colors go well together, take a look at the basic color wheel.

The colors at opposite ends of the wheel are called “complementary colors” and they go well together. For example, 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 can also create a focal point in your landscape by using different colors, scale, texture, etc.

To emphasize the focal point, you can use lines of shrubs that lead directly to it or surround it with an especially bright splash of color. Form in landscaping refers to the shape that a particular plant takes. Not all trees are the same; some have branches that reach the sky while others lean down. Some are short and stubby while others are tall and narrow.

Varying the shape of the plants in your landscape is a great way to add interest to your garden. Texture refers to the pattern that a plant creates when viewed from a distance. It includes things like the size of leaves, whether they have straight or jagged edges, and how many leaves each branch has. All of these things play an important role in defining the texture of a plant.

Varying the texture of the plants in your garden is a great way to add more visual interest.Lines are used 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 such as bed lines, hard landscape lines, path lines, grass lines, and fence lines.Shape is the most influential element in determining spatial organization and general style. Structures, plants and gardens represent formal and informal shapes such as circles, squares or organic borders but so do the voids between them.Texture refers to the thick or fine qualities of surfaces such as 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.Color theory is used to determine which color schemes fit best and how colors should be organized.

The basic color schemes are monochrome, analogous and complementary. Warm tones will make objects appear closer while cool tones will make them feel further away.Proportion refers to the size ratio between garden elements and surrounding spaces as well as between parts of the landscape design itself and the property, structures and human elements.Focal points in the landscape such as large trees or flower beds, pools or ponds and artificial fountains or waterfalls can be used to create interest in your landscape.Repetition doesn't always create a pattern; sometimes it's simply the repeated use of the same color, texture or shape throughout the landscape.Scale refers to the size ratio between garden elements and surrounding spaces.Unity is achieved by bringing together elements and characteristics to create a coherent character in the composition.Knowledge of the elements and principles of design is essential for designing a landscape and working through the design process.The use of all elements and principles will unite the entire landscape in a unified and functional way.