Landscaping is comprised of five main elements: colour, line, texture, form and shape. These elements all work together to form a beautiful landscape design. Understanding each element will help you make good landscaping decisions, so we’ve outlined the ways each element can be incorporated into your design:
While all of the elements of landscaping are important, colour might be the most essential. Colour can add dimension, visual interest, and seasonal variety to your landscaping throughout the year. Colour doesn’t just apply to the flowering plants you choose; you can also use paving, retaining walls, fences and mulch to add colour to your landscape design.
Line refers to both hardscape and softscape elements, but typically it refers to the more structural features in your garden. Flower beds, walkways, patio perimeters, hedges and arbours can all be used to add lines to your garden and can help to draw attention to certain areas. If you prefer a more formal look, opt for hard lines as curved lines tend to be less formal and more relaxed.
In any good design, texture is key. Plants are the best way to accomplish this goal, as the leaves, bark, flowers and branches all add instant texture. However, aggregates, mulch, paving stones, retaining walls and other structural features can also add texture to your garden. Be sure to choose elements with different textures throughout your garden to add visual interest.
You can think of form as the shape of a plant or other structural object. If you have a formal garden, the forms will be more tailored and manicured, with clipped hedges and defined lines. Informal gardens tend to have natural forms and rely less on heavy pruning and maintenance.
One of the trickiest elements in landscaping design is scale. You want to have a good balance between the size of your garden elements and the size of your home, as well as surrounding homes and public areas. If you have a smaller home, consider choosing elements that are in proportion to the size of your home. A larger home may be able to incorporate larger elements.