Principles of Landscape gardening

Horticulture Guruji

Principles of Landscape Gardening

Floriculture & Landscape Gardening

The systematic planning of the garden is an art. For this one should have a good knowledge of plants, soil, land topography, and local environmental conditions.


“A landscape may be defined as any area, either big or small, on which it is possible or desirable to mould a view or a design”.

Landscape gardening

“This can be described as the application of garden styles, types, and materials with a view to improving the landscape.” The art of designing is known as “landscape architecture”, although the old term “landscaping gardening” is also popular.

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Important Considerations of gardening:

  1. A garden should be its own creation, not an imitation, should be created keeping in mind the local environment.
  2. Over-crowding of plants should be avoided.
  3. Take advantage of the natural topography when designing the garden.
  4. The perfect harmony of the various components is the essence of landscape gardening.
  5. Before planning the design, one must ascertain what the garden is intended for – utility or beauty or both.

Principles of Landscape Gardening

  1. Initial Approach

  • A good designer should design the landscape in the available space
  • The natural topography should be retained.
  • Fencing should be such that it looks natural as far as practicable and it should not obstruct any natural view.
  • For example, if there is natural forest scenery or a hillock just outside the boundary, it should be incorporated in the garden design in a thoughtful manner so that it appears to be a part of the garden.

2. Axis

  • This is an imaginary line in any garden around which the garden is created striking a balance.
  • In a formal garden, the central line is the axis.
  • At the end of an axis, generally, there will be a centre of attraction, although other architectural features such as bird-bath or sundial can also be erected at about the midpoint.

3. Focal Point

  • A focal point in every garden is a centre of attraction which is generally an architectural feature-focused as a point of interest such as a statue, fountain, rockery, etc.

4. Mass effect

  • The use of single plant species in large numbers in one place is done to have a mass effect.
  • One should see that such mass arrangements do not become monotonous; the sizes of masses should be varied.

5. Unity

  • Unity is very important in a garden and this will improve the artistic look of the garden.
  • Unity is attained from different perspectives.
  • First of all, the unity of style, feeling, and work between the building and the garden has to be attained.
  • Second, the various components of the garden should merge harmoniously with each other. The objective is to create an overall impression of the garden rather than showing off some special features.
  • Finally, it is important importance to achieve harmony between the landscape outside and the garden. A garden planted in complete disregard of local conditions may look exotic but is not a successful garden.
  • For example, cacti planted in seashore orchards are completely out of place because they are in the habitat of dry areas.
  • To achieve unity between the building and the garden it is a common practice to climb the creeper on the front porch which covers the rudeness of the masonry work and also brings the building closer to nature. For the same reasons, foundation planting is also done.
  • Foundation planting means broadly planting shrubby plants near the foundation of the building.

6. Space

  • The aim of each garden design should be to make the garden appear larger than its actual size.
  • One way to achieve this is to keep vast open spaces inside the lawn and planting in the periphery, and generally avoiding any planting in the center.
  • But if any planting is to be done in the center the choice should be to have a tree with a high level of branches on the stem (or the lower branches removed), and not a shrubby shrub.
  • Such planting will not obstruct the view or make the garden smaller than its size.
  • Another suggestion to create the illusion of more space in a large public garden is to incorporate a large lawn after a group of trees. Large openings were planted all over the place with trees, which look smaller than their size.
  • The technique of creating more space confusion is also called ‘forced perspective’.

7. Divisional Lines

  • In a landscape garden, there should be no hard and sharp dividing lines. However, dividing or rather screening compost pits or gardeners quarters or vegetable gardens from the rest of the garden is required.
  • In fact, areas under the lawn, gravel, stone, or cement pathways and the shrubby border have natural dividing lines of its immediate neighbor, although these are not discretionary.
  • The dividing lines should be artistic with gentle curves and should also be useful.
  • Above all these lines should be in harmonize with each other.

8. Proportion and Scale

  • The ratio in a garden can be defined as a fixed relationship between different elements.
  • For example, a rectangle with a ratio of 5: 8 is considered a pleasing ratio.
  • As this ratio comes down, neither a square appears nor a rectangle, and design becomes undesirable.
  • There are no set rules regarding scale and proportion in a garden, ultimately the design should look elegant. It is better to design an ad hoc first and then try it on the actual location.
  • If the design seems to be attractive as well as pleasing, it is implemented. When a bushy border is to be placed the exterior design is marked on the spot by arranging a rubber hose or thick wet rope in different designs and adopting the one that looks best.
  • The decision of scale and proportion depends entirely on personal experience and in-depth knowledge of plants.

9. Texture

  • The character of the surface of a garden unit is called texture. The texture of the ground, leaves of a tree or shrub will all determine the overall effect of the garden.
  • Typically, there are three types of textures. Fine, medium and course. The texture of the plant depends on its leaf size, arrangement of branches, and compactness of the canopy.
  • In addition, textures can also be classified as rough and smooth depending on how they appear. Gulmohar is a fine-textured tree when full-leafed, while Spathodia companulata is a thick-textured tree.
  • All of these different textures should be used to achieve the final desirable effect with harmony and contrast.

10. Light and Time

  • In a garden, the time factor is very important. The design of the garden should be planned in such a way that it is possible to sit in a shaded place in the afternoon from where the best part of the garden is visible.
  • Plant growth habits play an important role in choosing the right place for them in the garden and have to be planned according to the layout.

11. Tone and Colour

  • In a garden, the permanent background is toned by the green of various trees and shrubs.
  • It is possible to exclude a garden with a cryptic tone of completely white or yellow flowers, but at the same time makes it attractive. Another important point is that it is better to have masses of a single colour against a mixture of colours
  • A rose bed containing only a single color of red, yellow or pink, is a more soft complexion and beautiful than a bed with a mixture of colors. A good garden architect should have knowledge of colour wheel and color schemes for attractive colors in the garden.

12. Mobility

  • In temperate regions, the garden changes color very quickly and from one season to another, which signifies mobility or variability. For example, many trees in temperate areas attract themselves with amazing colour due to changes in their leaf colour in autumn.
  • In most parts of tropical India, although these opposite changes cannot be achieved, it is possible to introduce some subtle changes.
  • For example, trees such as Bengal or Indian almonds (Terminalia catappa) that change their leaf color to red twice a year before they fall, or Legostroemia flos-reginae that change leaf color in the copper shade before autumn. Or Madhuca indica and Ficus religosa, the new leaves of these trees appearing as reddish copper in the spring, should be planted in some parts of the garden. Also, this makes the scenario better.
  • Mobility can also be achieved by growing annual plants of different colored flowers in the form of flower beds. Changing the position of potted plants can also bring mobility to the garden.
  • The movement and cluttering of birds will also bring life and mobility to the garden. Large trees and birdbaths attract birds. For small birds, shrubs need protection to protect them from large predatory birds.
  • Some plants bearing small fruits, such as Ficus infactoria and Syzygium cumin (Eugenia jambolana), can also be planted in some remote corners, although they are not very ornamental. Flowering trees such as Bombyx malabaricum (silk cotton) or Erythrina also attract birds when they bloom.
  • Seasonal flowers will bring motion and movement with colorful butterflies. Fountains in a garden or even a lawn sprinkler and streams serve the purpose of change. The lily pool should be filled with colorful fish, which will add an extra attraction.

13. Style

  • In the end, we have to decide on the style to be adopted for the particular garden. Every garden designer must devise their own style of gardening with their budget, interest, and nature of the site, ease of maintenance.
  • One can develop his design only when he carefully studies all the garden styles of the world and understands the principles underlying them.

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