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Landscaping Design Fundamentals: Part 1

Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on July 13, 2013


Everyone from the DIY’er to the contractor must know landscaping fundamentals. How does a line affect sight? Why does repetition work well in some cases and how many is too many?

These are all questions to consider while constructing your perfect backyard. While the topics to cover are varied, today we will be focusing on balance and repetition.

1. Balance

One of the most basic design principles, balance, basically mean equality. For a yard, this means considering symmetry, layout, colors, contrast, and curvature. With symmetry being huge in today’s landscaping world...let's look at how it should be applied?

Symmetry attracts the eye and can highlight balance in a landscape. Using the “mirror-image” definition, garden landscaping such as the one shown, can direct the eye to a specific point of focus. For instance, if you were trying to highlight a bench, door, or hanging swing, simply planting a row of matching flowers leading up to the object creates an aesthetically pleasing solution!

One last concept to consider when working with balance is color. Color can be a powerful tool and has been proven to affect moods! Green is known as the most restful color of the eye...maybe this is why gardens are a great place to unwind? Combined with symmetry, color can focus an eye and create a psychological and visual balance in your landscape. For more information on color and moods click here.

2. Repetition

Repetition and symmetry can go hand in hand but how should repetition be used? If your garden seems cluttered or messy, it may because there are too many different elements coming into play. Repetition can eliminate the clutter...but be wary of too much a good thing, as it can create a boring landscape if overused.  


As seen on the right, simple potted plants can create a line for the eye and work well with the building. Trees, shrubs, flowers, and even walkway stones are all good way elements for creating repetition in your landscape. 

Check out our Top 10 Modern Backyards or Top 10 Decks for good examples of subtle repetition to create a clean and modern look.

A final thing to consider is using the multiple elements repeatedly to break up monotony while still maintaining the concept of repetition. The house featured in the photo does a good job of interweaving flower color to create a beautiful landscape and properly using repetition.

Be sure to check back for Part 2 of our landscaping fundamentals series! Have any tips of your own? Leave a comment! 

Photos courtesy of Pinterest | More information 

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Tags: DIY, landscaping, design, fundamentals, landscape, modern backyards, deck