Landscape professionals must follow the right rules and guidelines to ensure the best garden design. Before you start, make sure you have a strong idea of what you plan to do.
Instead of jumping straight into bringing your design to life, consider starting with rules and guidelines for laying out a garden design. For instance, think of using a wall to separate different parts of your garden or starting with guide pegs—these are essential for laying out a large or complex design.
If your goal is an eye-catching garden with an overall balance that pleases the eye, take some time to learn the scaling principles we’ll discuss below. This will help you create better structure and proportions in your garden and save you time and money by avoiding mistakes that can lead to costly redesigns.
1. Follow the “Significant Enclosure” Rule
When you look at a garden, you can typically tell when too many elements, shrubs, and plants sit in the wrong places. One of the keys to achieving balance in your garden and laying out the correct components is to follow the “significant enclosure” rule.
The rule is simple: you should never have too many different elements in the same enclosure—this is very hard on the eyes and will lead to a chaotic-looking garden. To avoid violating this rule, you must consider the whole garden design and the plants. What this rule gives you is a more cohesive and balanced design.
2. Pay Attention to the Regulating Line
The next principle to learn when designing your garden is the regulating line. This line separates two different parts of your garden, and it draws attention to a focal point in the foreground.
For instance, if you have a long path that leads to the entrance of your garden, you can use the entryway as the regulating line. You can accentuate it by using a focal point on the other side of the path. Next, you can use the focal point to lead the eye through the regulating line and into the next area.
3. Learn How to Use the Focal Point
A focal point is an area that draws the eye to it. While the focal point can be any number of things in your garden, including a sculpture, it is often a shrub, tree, or a spot on the ground.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what your focal point should be, you can use a focal point generator to help you find out what works best for your garden.
4. Apply Proportion
Proportion refers to how big or small your different elements are in relation to one another. Typically, you want the most prominent features in the foreground and the more minor ones in the background.
For example, if you plan to put a seating area in your garden, plop it in the middle of the garden and hope it looks good. Instead, place it off to the side or in the back, and use the garden beds in the front as the focal point.
5. Know the Golden Ratio
You can use the golden ratio to help you create a better design. For example, if you want a large, dominant tree in your garden, place it at the golden ratio point.
You can also use the golden ratio to help you find the ratio of the focal point to the area around it. Typically, the ratio of the focal point to the area around it should be 1 to 1.6.
Landscape design is filled with many different rules and guidelines to follow. Yet, considering the right ones will help you create a design that is appealing to the eye and offers versatile results. The steps above are essential for creating an eye-catching and practical landscape design.
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