Creating Harmonious Landscapes: Design Principles for Visual Appeal | Peer Landscaping

January 30, 2020by PeerLandscaping

Just about anyone can dig a hole in the ground and plant a flower, shrub or tree, but it takes some design knowledge to create a harmonious look that adds curb appeal and a sense of order to your landscape. This month we want to talk about some of the design principals we bring to the table.

Each landscape we design is unique to the home, home owner, and land we are creating on. One home owner may request lots of shrubs surrounding their property to create a sense of privacy, while another may want a design that provides different flowers blooming all year long. But what both of those homeowners need is a company that can design their landscape to have balance and harmony.

In nature, plants grow in clusters that mass together, overlapping and interlocking the layers. One of the ways we create pleasing patterns, is through organizing plants in your landscaping both vertically and horizontally to create coherence that is agreeable to the eye.

So we will start by looking at planting in vertical layers, which means choosing plants that have a variation of heights. This allows each plant to get the amount of sunlight they need, while also visually allowing you to see each of the plants in the garden. For example, it makes no sense to put the tallest plants in the foreground of your garden. Think about when you are taking a photo of a group of people. You automatically start arranging people with the tallest ones in the back and the shortest in the front because that’s the only way you will be able to see everyone’s face. Your garden is the same way.

So we want to start by putting the “ground layer” which is made up of low-lying plants, in the front part of the landscaping. These serve as a baseline of the composition and grow to only about 6 inches, just enough to cover the bare soil. 

Our next layers of vertical change is in the foreground layers and plants in this layer should grow no higher than 2 feet tall. These form the edge of the plant beds and transition our eye to the larger plants.

Plants that are between 2 and 5 feet tall make up the mid-ground layer and take up the most space in our landscape composition typically. They provide spatial definition, link the lower layer to the home or to the tall plants in the back. They also tent to create color and texture throughout the yard and plant bed.

The background plants provide the tallest layer and typically consist of trees or large shrubs that are classically used for privacy screens or a canopy of shade for more sun-delicate plants. We create designs that undulate from high to low and back to high along the horizon. They vary from front to back and also from side to side along the plant materials.

By understanding this basic principal of design, we are able to create a look for your home that highlights the house itself and the land it’s on, rather than being a jungle-like cacophony of plants each vying for your visual attention. Looking for landscape design done right? Give us a call at 239-645-6455!

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