Printer Friendly

Chapter 8 The principles of design.


Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to

* describe the basic principles that lead to good design

* explain how these principles are applied to landscape designing

* describe features of plant materials, hardscape materials, and architecture that make them useful as design elements

The Foundation for Designing

Many texts address the subject of design principles, and each does it in a slightly different way. Since the names and number of principles vary from book to book, the reader might begin to wonder if any one source is complete or totally correct. While each author may present the subject in a slightly different way, by chapter's end most have explained the principles fully even if the terminology fails to match completely. As discussed in this chapter, principles refer to standards by which designs can be created, measured, discussed, and evaluated. Because design is at times very personal, it can be difficult to evaluate objectively. Whether someone likes or dislikes a certain plant selection or paving pattern does not necessarily credit or discredit the design. Only when the design can be shown to be in compliance with or in violation of the principles that guide all design can it be judged as good, bad, or in between. Only when a judgment can be offered that the design is good or bad because it applies or fails to apply one or more of the principles of design does it become a judgment or critique that is understandable or justifiable to the designer.

Here then are six principles that artists have been using in the fine and applied arts for centuries. Whether the art form is oil painting or flower arranging, the same principles of design can be applied during the creation of the work and can be used to describe a viewer's reaction to the work. The reassuring thing about these principles is that they were not created centuries ago by artists. Rather, they stem from an inherent visual sense possessed by most people, whether they regard themselves as creative or not.


Balance is a state of being as well as seeing. We are physically uncomfortable when we are off balance. Whether while held hostage on top of the see-saw by a heavier playmate when we were children, or tipping over in a canoe when the contents shifted unexpectedly, we experience a lack of balance at various times in our lives, and we do not like it. It follows that we are most appreciative of and comfortable in landscape settings that are visually balanced.

There are three types of balance: symmetric, asymmetric, and proximal/distal. Symmetric balance is the balance of formal gardens. One side of the composition is a reflective mirror image of the opposite side, Figure 8-1. While it can be somewhat stiff, especially if the plants used are geometric or sheared forms, symmetric balance is acceptable to a great many people because it is comfortable and easily understood. It is not necessary that landscape composition be stiff, though, in order to be symmetric. The combination of materials used may be loose and casual, yet as long as the shapes, colors, and specific materials match on both sides of center, the balance will be symmetric. Asymmetric balance is informal balance. The visual weight on opposite sides of the composition is the same, but the materials used and their placement may vary, Figure 8-2. Asymmetric balance has the potential to be more visually interesting to the viewer because there are two sides to observe and explore. With symmetric balance that is not true. Proximal/distal balance is asymmetric but carries it further by dealing with depth in the field of vision. In addition to balancing the left/right relationship in the composition of the landscape, there is a need to balance the near/far. This becomes a concern more frequently than might appear at first. The landscape designer is seldom able to design without concern for off-site features. Those features may be pleasant and desirable to include within the composition, but once included they must be factored into the balance of the setting. Tall buildings, distant mountains, large, off-site trees, and other such features can affect the balance of a design that looks good on paper, but would be off-balance once installed, Figure 8-3.



Focalization of Interest

Anything that is designed well has a focal point, one place within the composition where the viewer's eye is first attracted. Whether it be the enigmatic smile on the face of the Mona Lisa, the largest, brightest flower in a table arrangement, or the jeweled pin on an evening gown, there will be something placed by the designer to command the attention of the viewer. Everything else in the composition will serve to complement that feature. Focalization of interest is the principle of design that selects and positions visually strong items into the landscape composition. Focal points can be created using plants, hardscape items, architectural elements, color, movement, texture, or a combination of these and other features, Figure 8-4. Some focal points are predestined. For example, in the public area of most residential landscapes, the entry to the home is understood to be the most important focus of attention. All of the design decisions made in that area serve to support that focal point. In other areas of the landscape, the designer usually has more opportunity to select those areas to be highlighted as focal points. Beginning designers often must learn restraint in applying the principle of focalization of interest. There is often a tendency to overuse focal points, which creates complexity and visual confusion within the landscape composition.





As with the principle of balance, simplicity seeks to make the viewer feel comfortable within the landscape. Few people are happy when exposed for any length of time to settings that are cluttered or fussy. Complexity is not always the opposite of simplicity, at least where landscape design is concerned. Landscapes may involve buildings with complex and intricate architecture. Other projects may be technically complex, with extensive lighting, water features, sound systems, circulation patterns, or security systems. If such things are present, they are probably important to the client or to the site; but the landscape into which they are placed can still be simple and comfortable for the user. Simplicity does not imply simplistic, boring, or lack of imagination. It does avoid the use of too many species, too many colors, too many textures, too many shapes, curves, and angles within an area or within a project.

Rhythm and Line

Rhythm and Line may be regarded separately or collectively as a principle of design. When something repeats enough times with a standard interval between repetitions, a rhythm is established. In landscape designing, the interval is usually a measured space. What repeats may be something structural, such as lamp posts or benches. It may be something patterned, such as a sidewalk pattern that is replicated every 50 feet from one end of a mall to the other end. As a user experiences the landscape, moving at a fairly even rate of speed, these repeating design features establish a rhythm within the user's experience. The lines of the design establish the very shape and form of the landscape. Lines are created where different materials meet, such as where turf meets pavement or where turf meets the mulched planting bed. The merger of the two edges of the materials creates the line. Lines are also created for the eye when paved areas or walls cut through lawns, or when patterns are created within paved areas. Nature too provides lines, in the crest of surrounding hills or at an edge where a lake or river meets the land. When enough lines are parallel to each other, and all can be seen by a viewer at the same time, then a rhythm of lines is established, bringing the two concepts together as one, Figure 8-5. No landscape should be without a rhythm to the layout of its major line-making features.


Proportion is concerned with the size relationships between all of the features of the landscape. That includes both vertical and horizontal relationships as well as spatial relationships. Much of our perception of vertical proportion is influenced by the height of the viewer and in particular by the viewer's eye level, which varies between standing, seated, and reclining. Shorter people perceive the vertical space of some landscapes differently than do taller people. Children have needs for certain types of landscapes that are vastly different from those of their parents if they are to feel comfortable within the space. The concern for proper proportion extends to building size, lot size, plant size, the relationship between the areas of mass and void, and the human users of the landscape, Figure 8-6.




As a principle of design, unity is the easiest to measure if the other five principles have been applied properly and comprehensively to the design. A unified design is one in which all of the separate parts contribute to the creation of the total design. The color schemes and textural choices support each other rather than demanding individual attention. In a painting, the background details match the foreground features. In a flower arrangement a suggestion of each color is distributed evenly throughout the design. In a fabric pattern, the same shapes and colors repeat at regular intervals throughout the cloth. In each case, while individual components are valued and appreciated, they collectively create a single overall design. The same principle applies to landscape designing. Each component of the design, whether it is the plant materials, the shape of the planting beds, the choice and use of paving materials, the color selections, the lighting plan, or any other component of the outdoor rooms within a project, is obligated to be a part of the whole.

Applying the Principles of Design to Landscape Designing

Some references have already been made to ways that the six principles of design are used in designing and evaluating landscapes. Beginning designers may have to make a conscious effort to assure that all of the principles are applied to a specific design. However, as designers and landscape architects become more experienced, using the principles becomes part of their creative thought processes, and the application becomes nearly automatic.


It is important to understand that the principles of design must be applied at all of the levels that people will experience the landscape. While the designer may be able to see the entire project as it is spread out across the drawing board, that is not the way human users will actually experience the landscape. They will move through it one outdoor room at a time and at varying rates of speed and attentiveness. At any one time, users of the landscape will only see what falls within their cone of vision, Figure 8-7. Thus, a focal point is only effective when it falls within that cone of vision. Balance is only apparent when the viewer is able to see both sides at the same time. As people move back and forth through a landscape, their perception of it continually changes. As a designer works to develop a plan that is responsive to those who will be using the landscape, it is important to envision the design from every logical vantage point, realizing that only birds will see the property as an overhead panorama, and birds are not the clients. The human user will experience it as an ongoing series of visual images, and no two people will link those images together in the same way.

Applying the Principle of Balance

Balance must be addressed from several ranges. At macro-range, the viewer sees the landscape from the most distant vantage point, such as the opposite side of the street. This extends the cone of vision and often permits the viewer to see the entire house or building plus the entire adjacent landscape. Frequently houses are not centered within the lot, and predictably there will be a driveway connecting the street to the garage, creating a barren, no-plant space on one side of center that does not exist on the opposite side. Visible from behind the house may be large trees or utility poles that affect the balance of the setting. In addition, immediate off-site features, such as the neighbors' houses and trees, are often visible when viewed from curbside, making them a site feature to factor into the consideration of balance. It is almost mandatory that the designer take a series of photographs during the site analysis to be certain that none of these factors is overlooked when designing the public area of a landscape. It is the only way to assure that the curbside view of the landscape is balanced, Figure 8-8.


The same concern for macro-range balance must be applied to all other use areas of the landscape. For example, when viewing the family living area or the private living area from inside the house or from the patio, how much of the view is on-site and how much is off-site? What must be done on-site to bring the view into balance? Correct design solutions may require the addition of trees or the thinning or removal of existing ones to bring the site into balance with the immediate off-site setting.


At closer range, the viewer's shortening cone of vision becomes a major concern. For example, as the person approaches the entry of a building, certain features such as the masses of trees that enframe the building move outside the viewing range and no longer contribute to the viewer's perception of balance. Instead, the placement of shrubs on either side of the entry assumes greater importance. The viewer's eye will make a judgment about the type of balance and the success or failure of the principle's application, Figure 8-9. Similarly, the viewer will pass judgment on whether the plantings on each side of an important window are or are not balanced, or if the trees lining the drive are as densely planted on one side as on the other. The viewer will decide if the shrub planting at one end of the patio has sufficient mass to counterbalance the stone grill constructed at the other end.

The designer must envision dozens of viewing stations, looking across every section of the landscape at ground level as well as from upper story windows and decks. Further, the designer must envision a dividing line down the center of each view to determine if the design balances from each vantage point.

Applying the Principle of Focalization of Interest

As discussed earlier, focal points are places in the landscape where attention either is naturally drawn or where the designer elects to direct it. In the public area, focusing attention on the entry is just common sense, because the first question a visitor to any building asks is "How do I get into this building?" See Figure 8-4. To place anything else in the public area that will compete with the entry area design would be a violation of the principle of focalization of interest. Both beginning and experienced designers frequently violate this principle. Among the most common mistakes are the use of flowers or night lighting in places removed from the entry. Brightly colored flowers are strong magnets for the eye. If used at all in the public area, they should be clustered at the entry and not spread across the front of the building or tucked between the shrubs bordering the lawn. Likewise, night illumination of a tree at the end of the house or in the center of the lawn will shift attention away from the entry. In the public area, night lighting should be used to reinforce the entry design so that the focal point is not lost when darkness falls.

In other use areas of the landscape, the designer often has a choice for placement of the focal points. Depending upon the size of the property and the type of design (private or public, residential or commercial), it may be suitable to have one or multiple focal points. In a typical residential family living area, a single focal point is usually appropriate, Figure 8-10, unless the area is large enough to develop additional ones without conflict. Again, the viewer's cone of vision plays a major role in deciding what works. If the property is so small that two focal points can be seen at the same time, there may be a visual conflict. As long as the focal points do not compete with each other, then more than one can be appropriate.

Many things can function as focal points in the landscape. Some of them will fulfill that role continuously and without changing. Statuary and other garden ornaments exemplify such items. Plants can also serve as focal points when they are unusually colorful or have striking growth habits. Their time of service can vary immensely. Many plants that are visually powerful when in spring flower or fall color become uninteresting during the rest of the year. By carefully selecting and positioning the focal features of the landscape, the landscape designer can introduce shifting focal points, Figure 8-11. This is an opportunity that is unique to landscape design. No other artist is able to do that.



The Corner Planting. One of the most natural places to position a focal point is in the corner of the outdoor room. When bedlines converge at the corner from two directions the eyes of viewers follow willingly to the point of convergence. Termed the incurve of the planting, the point of convergence easily accepts a focal feature such as a specimen plant (highly attracting to the eye) or an accent plant (less attracting than a specimen plant, but sufficiently different from other plants around it to be distinctive). The incurve plant is usually taller than the other plants extending from it to the outer reaches of the corner bed, the outcurve, Figure 8-12. The placement of plants into the corner arrangement should be done so that when the plants are mature, the viewer's eye will step up from the outcurves to the incurve, Figure 8-13.

Many variations are possible for the corner planting, Figure 8-14. A garden ornament, bench, or fountain might be used instead of a plant as the focal feature at the incurve. Flowers could be used directly at the incurve in front of the focal feature to lend some seasonal variation to the design.


Applying the Principle of Simplicity

The provision for simplicity in landscape design is the exclusion of unnecessary change. The key word here is unnecessary. Each time that there is a change of shape or color, complexity is introduced. Each time a bedline changes direction, complexity can result. Too many garden ornaments, too many different kinds of furniture, too many different types of wall or paving materials, can spoil a design that has everything else done correctly. It is not that change, diversity, or variety are wrong or unwarranted. A good design contains all of that. It is when the introduction of that change or variation does not advance or improve the design that it becomes a violation of the principle of simplicity. Unfortunately no magic number establishes a threshold that tells a designer when to stop. How many different colors or materials become too many? At what point does something cross the line from tasteful to garish? There are no clear answers, and there is a great deal of subjectivity in the interpretation of this principle. However, here are a few guidelines and suggestions for designing an imaginative, but simple landscape.


a. Avoid using too many angles in the layout of planting beds and paved areas. Use wide arcs in designing curvilinear features such as planting beds, and match concave arcs with convex ones of closely comparable size, Figure 8-15.

b. Limit the number of different species of plants in any use area. While no exact number can be given because use areas can vary in size so greatly, do not create an arboretum.

c. Massing plants eliminates the need to look at each one individually.

d. Arrange plants so that they create a silhouette that flows smoothly and is not choppy, Figure 8-16.

e. Avoid paving patterns and shapes that introduce independent lines, angles, or colors into an area.

f. When planning for color, high color contrasts are appropriate at the focal points of the design, but elsewhere it is best to use more subtle color schemes. If the architecture or nearby off-site features already contain numerous colors, the landscape should only repeat the existing colors rather than introducing new ones.


g. Avoid the overuse of geometrically shaped or sheared plants. Pyramidal forms are especially eye-attracting, so only use them where a specimen or accent plant is appropriate.

Applying the Principle of Rhythm and Line

The establishment of rhythm and line in the landscape has been compared to the creation of frozen motion. Drawing upon strong existing lines (and sometimes objects) and replicating them to the extent that the person using the landscape is consciously or subconsciously aware of them is the way this principle of design is applied. As an example, consider a typical residential landscape. The strongest and most dominant lines are the lines of the house. Architecture provides an excellent springboard from which to begin. It is seldom wrong for a landscape designer to repeat the lines and angles of the house in the lines and angles of the landscape. It's a technique that nearly always works. In other situations, the designer may choose to repeat the lines of some other visually powerful item, such as a swimming pool or a patio, Figure 8-17.




The principle of rhythm and line also can be used to evoke certain emotional responses from the users of the landscape. Strongly rectilinear designs suggest greater formality than those which are mostly curvilinear. One may seem stiffer to the viewer, while the other more casual and leisurely. One might be ideal for the design of a corporate headquarters, and the other better suited to a city park. In neither case is the use of the principle of rhythm and line incorrect. Should the lines of the landscape not be sufficiently replicated to establish at least a suggestion of rhythm, then the lines become erratic. That will also evoke an emotional reaction from the user of the landscape, but it will not be a pleasant one. Erratic lines introduce complexity and confusion.

The Line Planting. Concern for the vertical linearity of the landscape is as important as concern for the horizontal linearity. Off-site features such as distant hills or the spire of a church might offer a strong design line that could be replicated on-site. Other times, the planting design must first fill a functional role such as blocking an unsightly view or providing some degree of privacy, Figure 8-18. Still, the line created by the silhouette of the mature plants should be envisioned by the designer at the time of plant selection, and its appropriateness to the overall design should be considered.


Positioning plants in the line planting must also be done with care at the time the design is created. If not done carefully, the plants can create a vertical line, which will not match the shape intended for the outdoor wall, Figure 8-19. While the bed-lines appear very prominent on the drawn plan view, the vertical linearity created by the plants and other materials is responsible for the creation of the shapes of landscape spaces. The plants need to be positioned so that they replicate the lines of the beds. Where smaller plants are used in front of taller plants, or where plants are staggered for shadow effects, both ranks of plants should replicate the bedlines, Figure 8-19.

The Foundation Planting. One of the most prominent line plantings is the foundation planting. It has been passed down from an era when houses were built on top of high, unattractive foundations. The planting was designed to screen the foundation. Even though modern houses often have no exposed foundations, the foundation planting still is used; however its functions have been broadened. The foundation planting includes the entry design, and as such must focus attention on the front door of the residence. That was discussed in detail earlier. Being so close to the building, the modern foundation planting also serves as the single most important element connecting the man-made building with the more natural landscape. In applying the principle of rhythm and line to the design of the foundation planting, a designer may use the lines and angles of the house as described previously, but with some added objectives. Where space permits, the foundation planting should reach outward from the ends of the building, not stopping just because the building has ended. It should also reach forward from the entry rather than sticking snugly against the building. In both places, the intent is to free the planting from the constraints of the building and, by extending the lines toward the surrounding landscape, cause the house to interface more comfortably with its setting, Figure 8-20. Figures 8-21 and 8-22 illustrate contemporary foundation plantings.


Applying the Principle of Proportion

Maintaining the proper size relationships within the landscape first requires that the designer clearly understand what those relationships are to be. Anyone who has read Alice in Wonderland or seen the animated motion picture can understand how the scale of the landscape, in comparison to the human users, evokes predictable reactions from the users. The designer is in a position to control those reactions, assuming they are anticipated in advance. If the ceiling of the outdoor room is low, the feeling is more intimate. That is frequently desirable when developing a residential patio. If the trees loom high overhead, people feel smaller by comparison. Even small buildings appear out of scale and threatened when the nearby trees are disproportionately large. The higher the wall and ceiling elements become in the outdoor room, the more dehumanizing the landscape gets. People who walk the canyons of New York City, Chicago, or similar cities learn to appreciate the important role that street trees play in bringing the bigger-than-life cityscape back into human scale. Children enjoy play areas where the equipment and the plantings are scaled to their heights, not that of adults. Small, low-growing plants should not be planted immediately adjacent to large, tall plants. Instead, it is preferable to bring the canopy down in stages from the tallest plants to intermediate heights, and finally down to the lowest growing forms.



Landscapes need proper proportional relationships between

* buildings and people.

* buildings and plants.

* plants and people.

* plants and plants.

* masses and voids.


The need to balance masses and voids changes the concern from putting things in proportion to putting spaces in proportion. If the horizontal open areas of the landscape, the voids, are much larger or smaller than the solid vertical areas of plantings, buildings, walls, or land forms, the masses, and if that size difference is apparent to the viewer, then the principle of proportion will be missing from the design. For example, if a use area such as the family living area has an unusually large central lawn (the void) and adjoins another equally large void such as a field, the planting bed (mass) separating the two voids must be sizable enough to truly separate them without looking weak and apologetic. It needs sufficient width, height, and density to match their importance.

Applying the Principle of Unity

The principle of unity must be applied within each use area of the landscape to tie together the individual components of those areas. It must also be applied to the total landscape to integrate all of the separate use areas into a single design. It can even be applied to larger areas, including residential or commercial developments or even entire geographic regions. As with the other principles, unity can be applied at both the macro and micro levels of design.



Repetition is the key to unity. As people move through the landscape, they recognize the oneness of the design when certain familiar themes are repeated often enough. Here is a partial listing of techniques often used to bring unity to a landscape design.

* Repeat prominent colors inside and outside the house.

* Repeat the construction materials of the house in the garden's constructed features.

* Continue the design themes of the interior rooms into the outdoor rooms.

* Use large expanses of glass to visually connect indoor and outdoor use areas.

* Raise patios, porches, decks, and landings to door level, rather than requiring users to step up or down when moving between the indoors and the outdoors.

* Repeat plant species between use areas, particularly at prominent points where the repetition will be noticed.

* Standardize the style of lighting fixtures and furniture.

* Standardize signs throughout a project or region.

* Maintain a consistent architectural style among buildings.

* If there is a strikingly prominent feature, such as a distant mountain or a city skyline, allow it to be seen from as many areas in the landscape as possible.

Material Characteristics Supportive of the Design Principles

All of the components of the landscape have characteristics that can support the application of the six design principles as long as the designer uses them correctly. If misused, certain materials may result in the weakening of one or more of the design principles.


While there are many different styles of architecture, some of them historic and some of them contemporary, most styles can be clearly described as symmetrical or asymmetrical. Regardless of whether it is a private residence or a corporate structure, small or enormous, compact or rambling, it will be either a symmetric or asymmetric structure. Symmetric structures such as the Cape Cod frame and Federal or Georgian buildings easily accept symmetrically balanced landscape designs, Figure 8-23. Houses and other buildings that are not symmetric are often better suited for more informal, asymmetric landscape settings. However, it shouldn't be concluded that buildings are predestined for a certain type of design based solely upon the architecture. That would relegate landscape design to a paint-by-numbers status. However, some building styles do support the application of certain principles of design more obviously than do others.

Building doorways can make the focalization of interest at the entry much easier at times. Georgian doorways are traditionally ornate, making it nearly impossible for the viewer to mistake how to get into the building. Contemporary entries may feature bright colors, ornate light fixtures, double widths, or other devices to engage the viewer's eye.

Other architectural features can add to the difficulty of applying some of the design principles. For example, the wide, gaping door of an attached garage is strong competition for the viewer's eye. Bay windows, shutters, or rambling porches can all compete for attention with the front entry.


Plant Materials

Earlier reference has been made to the distinctiveness of certain plants in developing focal points within a design. To elaborate on what has already been written, specimen plants are the most satisfactory for use in focalization. Due to one or more extraordinary features, such as color or growth habit, specimen plants attract more attention than any other plants around them. If used in the public area, they need to be placed at or near the entry so that they support the intended focal point rather than competing with it. If used elsewhere, the duration of their eye appeal is important for the designer to consider. A specimen plant whose only contribution is one week of showy flowering in the early spring is not very significant as a focal point when compared to an evergreen with year-round contortion or highly glossy foliage.

While most specimen plants are naturally occurring species, it is possible to create unusual forms through special pruning or training.

Accent plants were also discussed briefly before. These are plants that can be used to counterbalance a specimen plant without competing against it for the viewer's attention. They create lesser, secondary focal points at the corners of planting beds, at secondary entries, at intersections, and other places where the design needs emphasis but not dominance. Examples of accent plants would be the upright forms of yew or juniper or holly. When a single upright plant is placed within a mass of spreading forms of the same genus, the upright gives emphasis to the planting. It becomes the accent plant.

Most landscape plants are neither specimen plants nor accent plants. They are the workhorses of the landscape, serving as massing plants. They fill large amounts of space both on the ground and in the air. As such they are most likely to be the plants used when the principle of balance is being applied.

Hardscape Materials

This is a broad category of components, and a more in-depth presentation is given in Chapter 11; therefore the suggestions made here are general and abbreviated. As a design element, hardscape materials can make no contribution until the designer decides how to use them. Through the merger of design imagination with construction fabrication, hardscape materials can be transformed into landscape features that attract the eye, add mass and weight to the composition, create themes, and add pleasure to the landscape. If sufficiently unusual or attractive, they aid in application of the principle of focalization. Their mass and visual weight make them a factor to use or contend with in applying the principle of balance. When formed into a shape or structure that repeats in all areas of the landscape, hardscape contributes to the principle of unity.

Hardscape materials, such as pavings, fencing, and walls, frequently create strong lines in the landscape. The viewer's eye will willingly follow the line to its end. Therefore it is important that the line lead somewhere, warranting the attention. When the lines created by hardscape materials need to be understated, as when they lead to the garage door rather than to the entry, the color of the material used should be restrained. A white concrete walk running to the front door of the house has a better chance of focusing attention on the entry if the driveway is paved with a less noticeable color. In turn, the drive should never be lined with flowers or other materials that would serve to outline and emphasize it.

Practice Exercises

A. Using the proper instruments and a drawing board, duplicate the corner planting bed shown in Figure 8-24, drawn to the scale of 1" = 10'. Design a planting for a viewer looking in the direction of the incurve. Select plants and dimensions from Chart A. Draw to scale and label all species used.


B. With the proper equipment, duplicate the planting bed in Figure 8-25. Assume that the viewer is located south of the bed and that there is an attractive mountain scene north of the bed. Design a planting that frames but does not block the view. Select plants from Chart A. Draw to the scale of 1" = 10'.


C. Figure 8-26 illustrates the entry portion of a house. The garage and driveway are also shown. With the proper instruments, design the public area portion of the foundation planting. Use the plants in Chart A. Design to the scale of 1" = 10'.


Achievement Review

A. Indicate which principle of design is being applied in the following situations.

1. The view toward the house from the front street is framed by large masses of trees in the woodlands that border both sides of the property.

2. A dark, recessed entry door is illuminated with a bright floodlight each evening as part of the night lighting design.

3. At the point of entry into a private residential complex there is a distinctive logo affixed to a custom designed stone column. That column and logo are also featured prominently at the community pool, the clubhouse, and on all signs throughout the complex.

4. The sharp, erratic angles in the planting beds of a property being renovated are replaced with gently curvilinear beds.

5. A matching planting is placed on each side of the entry to a home.

6. A piece of garden sculpture is placed into a line planting so that it can be seen from the client's bedroom window throughout the year.

7. A house is designed to feature 90-degree and 45-degree angles prominently in its construction. The landscape designer uses those same angles in the design of the patio and pergola that adjoin the house.

8. To re-create the sense of being in a large park setting, a designer specifies that very tall tree species be selected for the canopy of a private residential family living area.

9. At regular intervals of 100 feet, a designer plans for a pedestrian mall to be lined with identical planters filled with flowers of the same color. There are a total of 20 replications of the planter from one end to the other.

10. In the above example, at the same mall, similar planters and color selections are found in the nearby parking areas, in the food court, and down the side alleys.

B. Name and explain the three types of balance.

C. Explain how the principles of design are affected by the cone of vision of the viewers.

D. Describe the parts of a corner planting.

E. What are the functions of modern foundation plantings?

F. Distinguish between the following types of plants.

1. specimen plant

2. accent plant

3. massing plant

Suggested Activities

1. Working from photographs of unlandscaped new homes or from slides of the same projected onto drawing paper, draw in different possibilities for foundation plantings. Try creating both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs for the same house. Have someone else critique the proposals using the principles of design as the basis for judgment.

2. Prepare a written critique of an existing landscape. Explain why you do or do not approve of the design. Avoid all subjective opinions and use only the principles of design to justify your statements.

3. Working from a book of house plans that show the houses in elevation and perspective views, select an array of different styles. With a pencil or marker, circle and note features of the architecture that would make it easier or more difficult to design foundation plantings that would focus attention on the entries.

Jack E. Ingels

State University of New York

College of Agriculture and Technology

Cobleskill, New York
Chart A

    Species                 Width      Height

Redbud tree        (D)      20 ft.     25 ft.
Viburnum           (D)      10 ft.     12 ft.
Forsythia          (D)      10 ft.      9 ft.
Cotoneaster        (D)       5 ft.      5 ft.
Spirea             (D)       5 ft.      4 ft.
Grape holly        (BLE)     3 ft.      3 ft.
Andorra juniper    (NE)      3 ft.    1 1/2 ft.
Myrtle             (G)      Vining      1 ft.

D: Deciduous

G: Groundcover

BLE: Broadleaved Evergreen

NE: Needled Evergreen
COPYRIGHT 2004 Delmar Learning
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:SECTION 1 Landscape Designing
Author:Ingels, Jack E.
Publication:Landscaping Principles and Practices, 6th ed.
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:Chapter 7 Plant selection.
Next Article:Chapter 9 Flowers.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters