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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Landscape Design Ideas - Keep it Simple

By 7:53 AM

In university design studies, whether landscape, interior or architecture; students all learn the basic components of design. Professors often assign projects or charrettes to help their students hone-in their design skills. Depending on the course, these assignments could range from Master Planning to Urban Revitalization to the Planting Design of a Small Courtyard. As students ideas veer off course, professors would steer them back in the right direction. Teachers allow them to come up with fresh, innovative ideas, but also would want students to keep a design simple and useable for the client. The term "K.I.S.S." is often heard during critiques.

KISS stands for "Keep it Simple, Stupid." The KISS mantra could be used across all aspects of life, but I'll focus on how this quote applies to landscaping in the home garden.

A few basic design principles to KISS are Order, Unity and Rhythm.

Order simply refers to the framework of the yard and how it is laid out. Are beds symmetrical or asymmetrical? Or maybe a massing of the same plants in a bed really makes a statement when in bloom. Without order, the flower beds look uncontrolled and one's eye cannot easily follow through the landscape.

Unity is the connection among pieces in a design. It is the seamless flow from your back door to your patio and the smooth transition into your garden. Unity brings together the lines, colors, forms and textures that make up the outdoor living space. When these objects are successfully blended together, the space feels right and Chi is positively flowing. According to feng shui, chi should always be able to flow freely through any space in order to help us be in balance with the elements surrounding us.

In music, rhythm refers to any flow or movement. In the landscape, this movement is repetition of plants or materials to create a pleasing result. Using a selected plant throughout the landscape helps carry a theme and pattern in the garden. Another example is utilizing patterns or materials in the patio.

Remember, these standards are not written in stone, but serve as a foundational base for landscape design. The next time you're out for a walk or in a space that is pleasing to you, ask yourself, "What makes this space/ garden/ patio comfortable?" "Why is this place so special?" See if the KISS principle applies and try to use it in your own garden.

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