What makes a landscape “pop?” One that a passerby may stop and take notice. You may assume that the homeowners spent beaucoup money hiring a landscape architect. However, many eye-catching landscapes are achieved by homeowners. Whether they know it or not, they follow the principles of design: balance, dominance, contrast, rhythm, proportion, and scale.
Questions you need to ask yourself about your garden are: Is your yard balanced or is everything on one side of the yard? Do you have many dominant objects in your yard that make everything look helter skelter? Are there contrasting colors, textures, structures et. al., which is exciting visually or is it plain Jane and boring? Is there a sense of rhythm such as a curving pathways? Are items in proportion and scale with the house and yard?
Add a focal point to the yard. A gate can be a portal to a garden or add a large colorful singular urn positioned for viewing from afar.
Create a pathway through a yard, garden, or front sidewalk that curves and invites people to follow.
Use your imagination; construct your art in stepping-stones of concrete or other materials.
Water features add a sense of serenity as the sound of running water is calming. This may be a large pond or water trickling through a rock fountain.
Create outdoor spaces by bringing the inside outdoors. Go beyond the typical patio furniture. Invest in sturdy outdoor furniture that creates a living room feel and add an outdoor kitchen or fire pit. Add vibrant splashes of color.
Don’t forget the side yards. These can be magical places with vivid flowers and foliage. Green is a soothing color. If it is a shady area, hostas with multiple colors and variegation, accompanied by companion plants with various textures, will provide a striking area. Although some side yards may be very narrow, play up the length. Add topiaries or espalier along the house or fence wall—plant for fragrance. Add a specimen plant that creates drama.
Camouflage all trash cans and unsightly areas. Camouflaging may be accomplished with structures and plants. Your eyes may quickly gravitate to unsightly areas, which destroy the beauty and mood you are trying to achieve.
During the evening hours, lighting can create drama easily by positioning lights on prominent features in the yard and the house. Lighting features also enhance security and safety.
Take pictures of other landscapes you love or clip pictures out of magazines. Make a list of items you would enjoy. Construct a plan of your dream landscape and start one project. If you love it, continue with your plan. Remember, sometimes you will fail, but that helps you better define what is appropriate for your surroundings. There is no shame in changing your plan. Remember, just because it is a mansion, you see, you may still achieve the same effect by keeping items in proportion and scale. And most of all, have fun!
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