The Art of Landscape Gardening and Site Design: Good Transition in the Landscape

Any good Landscape Architect should be able to offer complete construction detail drawings, but the study of history in the art of landscape garden design is equally important. When we learn what came before us, we then have a platform from which we can design something new that will keep a timeless appeal. Through my own studies of the art of landscape gardening, I have developed this general approach to layout.

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When I look at an overall site, I strive to create good transition. Transition can be created through the use of selected planting geometry as one moves from a perimeter area to an area that nears in proximity to an architectural structure.

In outlying perimeter areas, I typically use loose arrangements of natural and native buffering materials with a erythematic pop of color along the edges that move the best. The bedlines in these areas will be rolling curves that shape the site spray in bedliner.

As one approaches a home or structure, the design should become more tidy, clipped, trained, and geometrical. The geometrical selections should accent the architecture well and also define “trained” outdoor rooms or spaces that work (usually on axis) with the built structures.

I use well placed larger specimen plants or trees, grouped with large or loose leaf filler plantings, and a neat clipped border to create definition of a space in these outdoor living areas. The clipped border gives the illusion that man has control of the jungle behind it. The larger specimen will give the lower plantings reason to be there.

Architectural features will always be themed on the built structures, but will also sometimes transition into a more naturalistic or “garden” feel, depending on the setting. First, massing of the new structure in comparison with the existing is also studied. These structures are generally built on an axis line with the home, or in some well rationalized relationship to that structure.

A so given structure will have members themed from the home paired with exposed structural members for that gardenesque feel, hence, good transition from architecture to nature. We then can select choice geometry to produce a variety of sensations and thematic, to include that of serenity, grandeur, power, stability, etc. Any basic art class will teach us that, to the eye, vertical lines represent power, horizontal lines give the sensation of stability, and angular lines add action or energy to the picture.

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