Landscaping is a unique art that combines a sense of aesthetics and creativity to form visually pleasing scenery. One of the most important pr-requisites of a landscaper is creativity; without creativity there would be no originality to the designs. A creative person can set about with designing a garden following some simple rules. You must keep in mind some important principles before beginning with the task at hand.

A garden can be designed using original ideas or on "borrowed ideas". The basic
principles of landscape designing give a general guideline to the art of designing a
garden. This doesn't imply that every principle should be applied to every part of a
garden plan. An effectively understanding of these principles will actually help in
aiding your creativity. It is said ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. A garden has
immense potential to turn into a work of art thing. These principles will help define
the intricate elements of beauty, you must know a bit about them even if you only
wish to make a few minor changes to please your creative whimsies.


Unity is regarded as the most important goal while designing a garden. Unity refers to a sense of consistency and repetition to the entire lay out of the garden. Repetition is a vital element that contributes to the principle of unity. Similar elements like plants, plant groups, or decor are repeated at regular intervals in order to give a sense of symmetry to the garden. Consistency creates unity since it creates the impression
that some or all the elements of the garden blend in together to make one whole.
Unity can be attained by ensuring appropriate consistency of character of the various
elements in the designing of the garden. By character, a reference to the texture,
height, size, schemes, color, etc. of different elements is indicated. A good
illustration to highlight the importance of unity would be the use of accent boulders
at regular intervals and not erratically. The boulders should preferably be made out
of the same rock.

This principle also applies to all the other elements such as groups of plants and other
accessories that may add beauty to the garden. An easy method of creating unity in
your garden is by focusing the design around some common theme. One can make
adequate use of garden décor since it is one of the most important elements of a
theme. For example, if you love butterflies, you may wish to make use of a theme of
plants that attract butterflies as well as other delicate décor items like statues,
ornaments related to butterflies. Unity should be effectively articulated through at the very least one element in your landscape and preferably many more. Unity symbolizes harmony and if your design radiates a feeling of harmony, it will create a sense of peace and tranquility.


This is one of the mot elementary principles of art and design. It's one of the best
guidelines that could be regarded as a principle that could be kept in mind by a
beginner. A simple design is easy to achieve and you will be able to do it yourself
without much efforts or help from external sources. A complicated design is the work
of an expert; if you venture into trying anything difficult, you may end up not
achieving your real goals. Simplicity in choosing the right plants is probably the best
option you have; for example, select at the most two or three colors and use them
repeatedly throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping the decor to a minimum
level and within a per-decided specific theme is one way of bringing about simplicity
and elegance in any design.


Your design should be ‘balanced’ just as the word implies, it must appeal to your
sense of equilibrium. Balance brings about a sense of equality. There are essentially
two types of balances in landscape design; the symmetrical balance and the
asymmetrical balance.

Symmetrical balance is a definite layering of equally spaced coordinated elements of
the garden design. A garden is thought to be equally divided, and thus, both the sides
of the garden can share all or a part of the same shape, form, plant group, plant
height, bed shapes, colors, theme, etc. You may even rekindle old memories of school times as a child learning art or craft. If you splash color on paper and fold it into half, you ill observe an interesting pattern upon unfolding the paper. Symmetrical design is somewhat like that, it is actually mirror image of a design. So, if you are opting for a symmetrical style of gardening, keep in mind that this would require the designer to ‘divide’ the garden into two, and
design each half similarly.

Asymmetrical balance is the exact opposite of symmetrical balance. It is regarded as
one of the most difficult styles of landscape design. The principles of this style of
landscape design include colors, forms, textures, etc. used in unique combinations to
create just a hint of unity. However, most elements of the garden are used randomly.
Asymmetrical design may be better considered as actually being abstract,
unbalanced, or free form while still maintaining unity through some form of

A good example of asymmetrical design is a layout where bed shapes are kept diverse
on either side of the line that divides the landscape while preserving some common
features like the presence of similar elements and plants. One side can be curved to
impart a ‘sense of flow’ while the other side of he garden can be kept straight and
completely opposite to that of the first one. Unity and balance can be achieved
through other elements like the color scheme or by proper garden decor.


Contrast can be a very interesting feature that defines a garden and lends a pleasing
appearance to the entire lay out. Contrast is actually achieved by means of
asymmetrical patterning of the garden. For example, flowing lines can be appealing
to the eye but straight lines combined with form a very bold contrast. One excellent
way to achieve such a startling contrast is by arranging the garden asymmetrically.
Asymmetrical arrangement does not depend on the shape of your garden though it can be made to be dependent on the size of the garden.

A good example of striking great contrast would be garden where one side is mostly
lined with huge shady trees while the other side has a low growing flower garden.
Landscaping can be opined an abstract art form that manages to maintain a sense of
harmony and unity. What is really important is that the intensity of contrast remains the same; it could either be soft contrast or bold contrast.

Contrast and harmony can also be achieved using different varieties of plants as well.
A good example of contrast is making use of fine foliage instead of foliage that is
coarse, rounded leaves in place of spiked. A good idea would be to use
complementing or contrasting colors. For example, a flower bed having alternating
rows of yellow and red flowers is a bold contrast while a line of red lowers followed
by one of pink ones signifies soft contrast. Plant color, texture and height can be
blended in one area as against the other area, but the lay out of each area should
stay unswerving within the parameters of its own theme. In fact, many beginners prefer to choose a theme to lend and identity the garden. For example, a garden can
designed to resemble a lovely and colorful butterfly park.


Color is the most important of all the principles of landscaping. It is color that defines
a garden. It is a well known fact that colors are capable of affecting a person’s
moods. So, a cool color scheme will give a serene appearance to your garden. Color
patterns are known to add the aspect of creative reality and interest to the
landscape. Bright colors such as shades of orange, yellow and red give an impression
of advancements towards you and can make you feel as if an object seems is closer
than it really is. Colors such as violets, blues and greens give the impression of moving away from you and make objects seem farther than they really are.
Colors like grays, blacks, and whites are thought of as neutral colors and are best
used in the background to complement the bright colors in the foreground. However,
if you wish to impart a feeling of depth to your landscape coarse textured and dark
colored plants in the forefront and fine textured, light plants in the backdrop serve as
a perfect solution for this.

Colors can also be used to draw attention to specific areas of the garden and at the
same time, draw our attention away from undesirable details. A bright hue of colors
amongst cooler colors will act as an eye catcher. It is imperative to note that some
colors may not blend well together, it is best to avoid using such colors in the same
place. For example, yellow and pink may not look good together, so avoid flower
beds of such typical colors.


Natural transition is a term coined together using the two words ‘natural’ and
‘transition’ each depicting a vital concept behind the art of designing a garden. It
indicates a shift from one style or element of gardening to another one in a smooth
manner. It is a technique of making ‘ changes’ to the garden without bringing about
rapid and abrupt deviation from the central theme. Transition is basically introduced
gradually in order to maintain the touch of discipline to the entire garden décor. It
can best be demonstrated in terms of plant color or height, but can also be extended
to all elements in the landscape design that can not be limited in any sense owing to
external attributes like textures, size, shape or color. In short, transition is a layering
technique that can be realized by the arrangement of different element each having
unique attributes in a steady, descending or ascending manner. A good example of an effective transition would be a staircase effect where a garden is patterned by
arranging large trees next to medium trees which are followed by shrubs which in turn are followed by bedding plants.

Illusions in the entire lay out of the landscape. For example, a transition from taller
plants to shorter plants creates a sense of depth and distances making the garden
seem bigger than it actually is. A transition from shorter plants to taller plants is used
to impart a feeling of nearness by attempting to create a focal point that makes the
garden look smaller than it actually is.


Line refers to one of the structural principles of landscape design. It is of great help
in determining how the entire garden should be patterned and aligned. Line refers to
a sense of flow that a construction depicts; it is a creative architect’s aid for
designing beautiful gardens. It can mostly be associated with the way beds, pathways, and entryways move and continue. This flow of design is essential in lending an ‘aesthetic feel’ to your garden. Straight lines are forceful and can be effectively used to represent some strong theme. Curvy lines have a flowing effect and can be used to design a garden that offers a sense of peace and tranquility.


Proportion refers to the size of the elements in relation to each other. Of all the
principles of landscape design, this is simple enough to understand but is often
overlooked. Proportionate garden designs require elaborate thinking and planning.
Many elements of landscape design can be deliberately aligned to meet what is
actually defined as right proportion.

As an illustration, if you are planning to create a small courtyard garden, a massive
garden statue located in the center would make the design seem out of proportion. A
small four foot cascade and pond positioned at the center of a large garden would
lose its charm since it would be hardly visible. Proportion is a relative concept and
elements of a garden can be scaled to fit by creating different rooms in the open
expanse. The goal is to create visually pleasing scenery that used various elements of
gardening appropriately.

A water expanse if planned as a part of the garden should be structured on the basis
of the total area of the garden. For example, a back yard garden that is not too large
and has a small pond in the middle. You can arrange various plants around these
water bodies. Also, special thought should be given to a proper selection of plants. It
is best to avoid using plants that may be out of proportion on account of their color,
size or shape.


Repetition is a feature that is directly allied to unity. This principle indicates that one
typical element of garden design can be used over and over again in a particular area
of the garden. It is always good to have an assortment of elements and forms in a
garden, but repeating these elements gives a sense of variety to expression. Unity in
the garden design is achieved by repeating objects or elements that may be alike. Too
many disparate and dissimilar objects can make the garden look disorderly and
unplanned. However, this repetition should be controlled to a certain extent. It is
possible that too much of one element will make the garden look uninteresting. An
ideal solution would be to repeat two or more formations in your garden to make it
look pleasing to the eye.

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