Landscaping 101 – Part 2

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Landscaping 101 – Part 2

Far from its typical definition, the art of landscaping is defined as the harmony of agricultural sciences with the principles of architecture.

The main goal of garden designing and landscaping is to combine the functional and aesthetic aspects in order to make optimal use of each part of the garden. The aforementioned takes two main variables into consideration:

  • The static data of the garden (land acreage, water source, building height, building style, exterior color);
  • And the variable data (the budget for construction and periodic maintenance of the garden).

Design Basics

Repetition of the elements of the garden

Repetition means re-adopting multiple models of the same type of element on a regular basis and at equal distances. This is a main factor in engineering and symmetrical planning, as it helps to tighten the design components together and create a garden identity. While it may be artificial in the case of clipped trees and shrubs or natural when using trees of regular growth and symmetrical shapes like ornamental palms.

Diversification of items

This is the opposite of repetition, where each element of the design differs from the other elements, increasing the aesthetic feel of the garden.

This pattern is usually used in natural and asymmetrical engineering gardens as it relies on the element of surprise and uniqueness. The diversification can be presented in different forms such as different ground levels or through the use of existing fixed installations (statues – or stone figures ….). Diversification can also be in the use of plants of different sizes.

This pattern namely focuses on the unity of style, creating an overall balance and harmony between the elements in the garden.

Symmetry and Balance

Symmetry is the similarity of the two halves of the design on both sides of the road or the main axis of the garden that divides it into two equal halves. The number of elements (plant or structural) and their size, shape and color are the same for each of them. While we can distinguish between different types of symmetry (bilateral, quadruple, circular or radial), one downside to this pattern, especially prominent with multi-path plots is the lack of surprise and anticipation. A visitor, upon seeing the whole garden with one look looses interest in wandering further as the diversity among the components of the garden decreases. Another aspect worth exploring with symmetry is the need of constant care as to maintain the homologous patterns.

If we were to put symmetry in simple terms, it means the repartition of the garden elements in a balanced manner around the axis of the design that represents the main road. This can branch out into two types of design,

1- Symmetrical or symmetrical balance, as in symmetrical geometric gardens.
2- Asymmetric balance as in the following gardens:

  • Asymmetrical geometric gardens
  • Modern style gardens
  • Natural parks

In the latter cases, the balance is created between two groups of plants that are not asymmetric in shape and size on both sides of the road. However, these two elements perform the same visual function and leave the same effect on the viewer (no element dominates the other and grabs all the attention).

For the sake of visual balance:

Here are a few tips to maintain visual balance in your garden:

  • Do not plant flowering plants in dark colors on one side of the road and plants with bright flowers on the other side. It is also not suitable to plant conical trees on the right of the road and others with broad leaves or tents on the left.
  • Repetition plays an essential role in creating balance in geometric gardens.
  • Balance is not achieved through repetition in natural gardens, but rather by planting plants that have a single and equal effect in terms of attracting attention (though different in shape, size and number).
Maryse Bou Zeid

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