While some elements of a landscape are fixed and permanent, others can be manipulated to create the desired balance, movement, and harmony. These include:
- Space: Use space effectively by: selecting a mixture of plants that provide an effective transition from the vertical plane (air) to the horizontal plane (earth) to create a better sense of harmony and balance; planting trees that provide filtered shade (e.g., honey locusts) rather than heavy shade (e.g., maples) for a more subtle influence on vertical space; selecting plants based upon their form and structure as well as their color or flowering habits; and using curved lines to create a more natural, informal appearance.
- Color: Color affects the landscape design in various ways, giving the landscape movement, accent, and depth. Bright colors such as reds and yellows are good for accent, variety, and for attracting attention to specific areas. Blues and dark colors create shade and depth.
- Texture: Texture is the “visual feel” of the landscape or of landscape plants. Some plants have a coarse texture because of their foliage, branching patterns, or bark. For example, a horse chestnut tree with its large, serrated, compound leaves will have a coarser texture than a weeping willow.
- Plant arrangement: The individual attributes of the plantings and overall effectiveness of the landscape plan is affected by plant arrangement. Specimen plants draw attention to themselves because of their color, shape, or size and should be separated in the landscape. Large shade trees (oaks, maples, and conifers) or small trees and shrubs (ornamental crabapples, hawthorns, burning bushes, and viburnums) make effective specimen plants. Mass plantings enhance the appearance of plants that may not be as attractive or effective individually. Annuals, perennials, small shrubs, and ground covers are generally more effective as mass plantings. Also, on more naturalized landscapes, it is best to plant shrubs in odd numbered clusters for a more natural appearance.
August 20, 2012