For centuries, one of the most popular things to do around one's home was to create a garden. Gardens were filled with flowers, plants, or food, and they provided enjoyment and sustenance for the homeowner. The tradition of gardening continues to this day as gardens of all types and shapes can be found around nearly every home. Some gardens are small and might even fit on a windowsill.
Others are much larger and can occupy a significant portion of the property. Some gardens are obviously more than a haphazard collection of plants and flowers, they are planned, organized, beautiful, and often thematic; and those gardens are the product of landscape gardening. Landscape gardening has origins that go back centuries and to different continents. English gardens of the 18th century had many elements that are associated with modern landscape gardening. English gardens (or landscape gardens as they were known in England) often revolved around a pond, and would have small bridges and pavilions that were used as vantage points. In the Far East, Japanese and Chinese gardens were prevalent, and remain popular to this day.
Eastern gardens typically had stone features, and like English gardens they often feature water, bridges, and a pavilion. However, landscape gardening is not limited to those styles, and the evolution of the craft has taken many turns through the decades. Modern gardens may incorporate the features of their ancestors, but they can have a personality of their own as well. Landscape gardening not only embraces elements of gardens past, but also demonstrates many aspects of architecture as well.
Attention to color, line, scale, and texture all must come together to create an aesthetically pleasing garden. Good color schemes typically match similar colors to other similar colors, such as warm reds to warm yellows, and cool blues to cool greens. Warm colors tend to excite the senses and attract attention, while cooler colors are likely to have a relaxing effect (perfect for a mediation garden!). Another classic element of architecture that gardening requires is attention to the line.
The line of a design relates to the way a viewers eye follows the groupings of plants and border areas. Smooth flowing lines or abrupt straight lines can impart a different feel and elicit a different response from those who are viewing the garden. Texture and form are closely related to the concept of the line. Form relates to the prevalent shapes in your garden, such as triangular conifers or rounded bushes, and texture is predicated by the way various plants work together to create a look, whether that look is soft, course, or something in between. Once you have established your selection of plants and flowers, and your textures and forms, you can compliment those items with a hardscape that is fitting with your tastes.
Fences, walls, stonework, fountains, statues, and gazebos, they are all hardscape items that are integral to landscape and they will help provide your theme and focal points. Install those items first and then fill around them to create a wonderful garden. Landscape gardening remains popular not only because of its beauty but its function as well. Not only can a garden provide solitude and harmony to your home, it can help augment the best parts of your property such as a great view or wandering creek. A landscape garden can also be used to block out undesirable views, or to cover parts of your property that are not as appealing. Ultimately the direction you go with landscape gardening is entirely up to you.
By adhering to the classic lements of landscape architecture, and finding a theme and texture that compliments your home, your foray into landscape gardening is sure to provide you with enjoyment, relaxation, and added value to your home.
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