The Art of Outdoor Architecture Elements of Landscape Design

The elements of landscape design that create an amazing outdoor living area are the variation of color and texture, the appeal of linear patterns and creative plant form, and the eye-pleasing balance of an appropriately scaled garden. Perfectly spaced trees with delicately tinted leaves blend naturally with a beautiful flagstone walkway leading to the entrance of a magnificent residence. Images like these attest to the fact that landscape design is truly an art form.

The Use of Color

elements of landscape design

Color can be one of the most powerful attributes when considering the elements of landscape design. Color brings variety, as well as personality, to your landscape design, but selecting the right year round color scheme for your outdoor plan can be a difficult task.

While selecting your plants and materials, consider the seasonal changes of the blooms and leaves and factor those changes into your color scheme.

You can use color in a number of ways, including:

• Attracting attention to prominent areas of your yard

• Affecting the perception of distance. Colors that blend into the landscape, deep hues like black, green, and cool shades of blue, can make a home appear further away, while bright, warm colors make objects appear to be closer.

• Creating mood and atmosphere throughout your outdoor space. Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows convey excitement and are most appropriate in active areas of your landscape design. Cool shades, like blues and greens, are tranquil colors that work well in areas designed for relaxation.

elements of landscape design

The colors incorporated into a landscape design can contrast for a striking statement or can blend softly into the environment to create a more relaxed atmosphere.

Colorful patterns that gradually move through the color spectrum can make stunning displays for areas that should be accented.

Color usage is an integral part of designing an enjoyable and attractive outdoor living area, just like the use of color affects the personality and style of your home’s interior.

Considering the huge influence color has on mood and atmosphere, as well as the many different aspects involved in creating the right color scheme, this element of landscape design needs to be properly understood.


How Line Influences Design

elements of landscape design

Lines and curves are nearly as powerful an element in landscape design as color. Linear patterns can be used to direct physical movement, as well as eye movement, and lines can also be used to draw attention to a central area of your garden.

Line and linear flow can be created many different ways:

•Straight lines, like paved edges or hedge rows, encourages movement and directs attention to a focal point.

•Curves and natural linear patterns invite lingering and free movement.

• Arrangements and design of planting beds and natural areas defines the overall linear style of the landscape.

•Vertical lines of your outdoor design can be enhanced by altering the height of plants and trees.

• Within small, enclosed spaces, like entryways, line is created by the patterns of leaves and branches on the surrounding plants.


The Use of Form

elements of landscape design

The shape and form of the trees and plants you select are also important elements of your landscape design. Trees may have an upright growth form that allows placement near structures.

While spreading trees, like the magnificent pin oak, are best planted in an open location and are ideal shade providers. Weeping forms, like that of the weeping willow, are excellent accent shapes.

Shrubbery forms are typically defined by the plant’s growth pattern. Oval or rounded shrubs are often planted in the front of the property to provide a uniform, symmetrical appearance.


The Role of Texture in Landscape Design

elements of landscape design

The look and feel of the plants and materials in your landscape design can be just as influential as the color schemes.

Tree bark may be rough or smooth, grass may be thick or extremely fine, and plants may have smooth, glossy leaves or sharp, prickly leaves.

The key to effective use of texture is creating a balance between various plant qualities in the yard. A large amount of smooth, fine materials should be used to balance coarse textured plants and trees.

Remember to gradually move through similar textures in your design for a smooth transition into each new texture.




Scale as an Element of Landscape Design

elements of landscape design

For a smooth, flowing appearance, materials and structures in your landscape design should be relative in size to the objects around them.

Landscape designs typically use a universally known human scale to determine the appropriate size of plants and buildings.

The elements of landscape design showcase the simplicity and artistic nature of beautifully landscaped yards. This photo shows how all of these essential elements of landscape design are blended together using the principles of landscape design for an outdoor living area that you will enjoy calling home.


These elements of landscape design are the basics of landscape design. Other basics include landscape planning, the principles of design and garden history. All are important and should be treated as a whole.

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1 jame.c March 22, 2013 at 1:59 am



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