Landscape Design 601…The Principle of Interest

This is the final post in a series about the basic principles that should be considered when designing a landscape or garden.  The first installment, an overview of the five principles, can be found here.  The first four principles of good landscape design are: Unity, Balance, Proportion and Rhythm & Movement

The final principle of sound landscape design is Interest.  Yes, interest is so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be explained.  Except that because it is so obvious I feel it is often overlooked.  And because it is overlooked, it’s impact on your garden can also be under appreciated. 

Interest in a garden is provided not only through the plant material, such as specimen trees, flowering bulbs or plants with unique foliage but also through the introduction of decorative structures (fences, pergolas and arbors), garden ornaments, benches and even pathways, patios, decks and terraces.  Careful thought should be given to each element of your garden to make sure they work in harmony with each other and tell the same story. 

This is where having a well-thought out landscape design plan comes into play, especially if the plan is implemented over a series of years.  With a formal landscape design plan, you will end up with a harmonious and cohesive garden rather than one that looks like it was thrown together on a series of whims.

The bench, just visible beyond the curving bed line, adds interest to this garden

The bench, just visible beyond the curving bed line, adds interest to this garden

Gardens that are discovered by the visitor a bit at a time are much more interesting than those that are revealed all at once.  This sense of mystery and interest can be achieved with the use of a path that curves behind a tall shrub or fence or a closed gate that hints at something intriguing on the other side.  Or maybe it’s the flash of color of a brightly colored bench that can be seen in the far corner of your garden that naturally beckons visitors to come and get a closer look.

This Arbor Sets The Tone Of The Garden

This arbor sets the tone for what awaits in the garden

Every element that is added to your garden should serve both a functional and an aesthetic purpose.  An arbor serves not only as a welcoming entrance to your garden but depending on how simple or ornate it is, it also gives your guests a sense of what awaits them inside. 

But remember, it’s always better to keep a garden, especially a small one, simple.  Too many focal points in a garden can be confusing and unsettling.  Less is more.

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