The house is the focal point of the design. The landscape should complement, not clash, with the house.
The landscape is an extension of the living space. Just like the appearance and arrangement of your house affects your personal living space, so does the appearance and arrangement of your landscape. As you complete your design, consider these principles:
- Balance: Balance in a landscape can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. In a symmetrical arrangement, you place equal numbers of plants, plants of equal size, or structures or planting beds of equal size opposite each other on the landscape. When using an asymmetrical design, balance plants and structures in terms of volume of space occupied on the landscape. One example might be to plant a large red oak on one side of the yard to counterbalance a mass planting of ornamental shrubs on the opposite side. Also, you could counterbalance a deck with a perennial bed.
- Movement: You can create a sense of vertical and horizontal movement on the landscape. For example: Tall, columnar trees or shrubs draw your eyes upward, whereas a low, flat bed of colorful annuals pulls your eyes downward. Also, lines, especially curved lines of walkways or planting beds, create a sense of motion that encourages you to move visually and physically through the landscape.
- Harmony: The proper use of space, color, texture, and plant materials on the landscape creates harmony. In practice, use plants and structures that are in scale with the house and enhance the overall landscape design with plants and plantings that complement each other with respect to color and texture.
Dr. Leonard Perry, University of Vermont discusses basic design principles in more detail.