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Houston Landscape Designer Tells All – How to Properly Shape Your Lawn

Houston Landscape Design In 7 Core Elements

At Houston Landscaping Source we are dedicated to bringing you the best in landscape design, and our Houston landscape designers are always on the cutting edge to bring you the best that we have to offer. Peruse our services page to get an overview of what we can do, and our about us page to get to know us a little better. in this article, we’ll let you know what we look to accomplish in a general sense for most projects, though this is by no means the entire bag of tricks!

1) Color

Color plays a central role in all good Houston landscape design. Color motivates and unifies your design, and it does the lion’s share of establishing the mood your work creates. Be imaginative in finding places to use color. Color doesn’t come solely from plants; your hardscape element (retaining walls, pavers, fences, etc) can contribute too. Keep the basics of Color Theory in mind when picking and combining colors. Specific color combinations are widely regarded as more harmonious and pleasing to the eye than others.

Here are the categories that relate colors together according to Color Theory:

  • Primary Colors: Red, Yellow, Blue
  • Secondary Colors: Green, Orange, Purple
  • Tertiary Colors: Any color created by mixing a primary color with a secondary one
  • Neutral Shades: White, Gray, Silver

2) Scale

The scale is how your plants and the other elements of your design relate to each other on your property. Landscaping always involves adding new elements to an existing environment, and scales need to relate to each other sensibly. (Even if you are landscaping a brand-new property you need to account for its boundaries and the house.) Don’t create a scale mismatch by pursuing your taste to extremes. No matter how much you love oak trees, a huge one will never look good on a property that’s too small for it.

3) Form

The form is a matter of what shapes your plants take and what those shapes encourage viewers to do. The form is, obviously, particularly important in a formal garden. This is a landscape where sharp edges and meticulous care bend your plants to a very particular design. In informal gardens, more natural looks prevail.

You can pick out effective forms by considering what effect they have on a viewer:

  • Tall plants emphasize the vertical axis. The viewer’s eye will be drawn upward.
  • Low, spreading plants emphasize the horizontal. The eye will naturally be drawn to the horizon.
  • Plants with irregular shapes interrupt patterns and make a design more vibrant.

4) Texture

Texture includes both the appearance and physical feel of your Houston landscape design elements. Plants will appear as either smooth or rough. Pay attention to the way texture is expressed throughout the plant. Many plants offer a pleasing variety of textures within the same unit. Leaves, flowers, and bark can all deliver different textures. A mix of textures is good for making your design varied and interesting.

5) Balance

Balance is a coordinating element. The previous four elements – color, scale, form, and texture – all combine into a whole which is either balanced or unbalanced. Coordinated colors, proportional plant sizes, complementary shapes, and varied textures all come together to create a harmonious design.

It’s useful to consider balance in terms of weight. When the separate elements of your landscape have equal weights, the overall design expresses good balance.

Note that good balance does not require exact equality of elements. This is clearest when you consider the concept of symmetry. Good designs can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical; neither one is inherently superior.

Symmetrical design is one which balances design elements on either side of a center line. The two halves of the design become mirror images of each other. The easiest way to visualize a basic symmetrical design is to imagine a house with a centralized front door. If this house is landscaped by deploying identical elements on either side of the door, symmetrical balance is achieved. Not every Houston landscape design needs to be symmetrical. We might not have a unifying element to show us a clear center line. The house’s front door, for instance, might be set off to the side. Or we may simply have a client that prefers an asymmetrical view. Many times, a landscape designed to achieve asymmetrical balance still has a center line. Here, though, balance is achieved not by installing identical features on either side of the line but by assembling two equal but different collections of color, form, and texture. In an asymmetrical view, for example, you might see the front door of a house flanked by trees with a different species on either side. Balance remains important even in asymmetrical designs.

6) Unity

Unity in Houston landscape design is managed through the use of repetition and consistency. Unity can be considered the “little brother” to balance, as it demands a similar relationship between design elements. When you use plants consistently so that they all have similar characteristics (color, texture, scale, and form), you foster unity. Unity creates a holistic design rather than a random assembly of plants.

7) Simplicity

The final principle of Houston landscape design is both the clearest and strongest. The value of simplicity is that it allows you to make smart design choices even without an expert education in Houston landscape design. Whenever you face a design conundrum, you’ll get better results by going with the simpler choice.

  • If your color palette is getting out of hand, trim it down to two main colors.
  • If scaling your plants is challenging, use the principle of threes. Assemble your plants in odd numbers and put the tallest/largest ones in the center.
  • If textures overwhelm you, stick with two clear ones that balance each other, like rough vs. smooth.
  • If balance eludes you, simply find your center line and make sure you are paying equal attention to each side.
  • If you are not feeling unity from your design, take plants away until the picture becomes clearer.

Simplicity is a great guiding principle for your design. You will almost always be doing your design a favor when you take plants away – this pushes you toward clarity and enables you to grasp the real strengths of your landscaping.

Should you have any questions about Houston landscape design feel free to call us now, or contact us for a more convenient time, or look on our blog for more helpful articles about landscaping and landscape design in Houston.

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