When developing a landscape project, the designer focuses primarily on organizing landscape elements into a visually appealing composition. The harmony of such a composition can be achieved through the use of basic design principles: the principle of proportion, repetition of elements and the general idea. They are closely related to each other, the use of one helps to apply the other. Their observance achieves physical and psychological comfort in landscape design.
We feel psychologically more comfortable in conditions where order and repetition take place. Organized landscaping site with a familiar structure, which is a guarantee of our calm, as if easier to “read”, it helps us feel at ease. The feeling of comfort that arises when contemplating a harmonious environment, also affects the psychological state of the person. Under such conditions, we become more workable and feel protected.
The principle of proportions
In the process of designing and organization of landscape space it is necessary to understand that for the person comfort consists also in that objects surrounding it were the same sizes, as in usual life. Imagine that you were placed in a space of 10×10 m with cypresses planted on the perimeter, the height of 20 m. What will you feel except fear of the enclosed space? Or vice versa, your landscaping project of the site of 6 hectares involves planting only soil-covered plants. You will definitely feel at least naked. Therefore, one of the important principles of landscape design is the proportion – the size of the object relative to other objects. In this case, we consider the size of other objects relative to human growth. Planting material, garden structures and garden decor elements must be selected according to human growth. Other important relative proportions include the size of the house, yard, and planting area.
The proportions in plants can be divided into three types: the proportion relative to human size, the proportion relative to other plants and the proportion relative to home. When all proportions are met, the composition is harmonious. A sense of balance can also be achieved in equal proportions between the open space and the space occupied under planting.
The proportions in small architectural forms are just as important. Benches, tables, paths, arbours work better when people are free to use them. But small architectural forms must also be proportionate to the home. The terrace or patio should be large enough for entertainment, but not large enough to fit the size of the house.
Adherence to the principle of proportion in space is equally important for human comfort. We feel more secure in small outdoor areas such as patios or terraces.
Another important element in landscape design is the order that is achieved with balance, i.e. equal visual weight relative to the real or imaginary axis. Shape, size, texture and colour all affect the balance in one way or another. Balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical and perspective.
Symmetric balance is achieved when the elements are placed on both sides of the axis in a mirror image. This type of balance is used in regular garden landscape style and is one of the oldest principles of space organization.
Asymmetric balance is achieved by placing non-equivalent elements in shape, colour and texture that have the same overall visual weight on both sides of the axis. This type of balance is informal and is usually achieved by grouping elements (in particular plants). To create a balance, it is necessary to understand that large sizes, dense shapes, bright colours and coarse textures are visually heavier and should be used sparingly, while small sizes, sparse shapes, muted colours and fine textures are visually lighter and should be used in larger quantities.
Forward-looking balance is the balance between the foreground, middle and background elements. If we look directly at a landscape composition, the objects closer to us have a greater visual weight. This can be balanced by using larger objects, bright colors or coarse texture in the background.