What is Landscape Design?

23.04.2021 Admin 726
Landscape is an essential part of the environment which includes topography, vegetation, bodies of water and their spatial configuration.  A pleasing landscape brings mental and physical benefits; it is one of the most visual needs of people because it provides human-nature interactions.

Key Elements in Landscape Design

Color and texture add interest and richness to any landscape design; but there are three main key elements of landscape design – line, form, and mass – these are the most essential elements of composition and are the visual qualities that people see when viewing the space.  Visual qualities bring out different emotions and feelings – more positive feelings means that more likely people are to enjoy and use the space.  And so, it is very important that you understand these elements in order to better organize space and provide structure in your landscape designs.  


The most common element in a composition is line since it establishes all forms and patterns which create physical flow and connectivity.  In landscape design, line is created by the edge between two landscaping material, it is the outline or silhouette of the landscape or a linear feature.  Examples of line expression in landscape design are brick patio built on an expanse of green grass landscape or placing of a fence. 

The common landscape lines include:

• Bedlines – where the edge of the plant bed come together with another surface material.

• Hardscape lines – are vertical lines in the landscape design such as poles, pillars or tall ornamental structures and statues.

• Path lines – a walkway or garden path.

• Sod lines – grass, turf, or any thin layer of biodegradable material.

• Fence lines – planting small bushes and flowers along the fence are great options for a fence line garden.

Properties of lines in landscape design does have some effect on people both emotionally and physically.  Straight lines create a formal character, these lines are associated more on the structural and forceful feature of the landscape. It provides intentional direction, most often found in hardscape edges and materials.  Curved lines create an asymmetrical balance and are more associated with an informal, natural, and relaxed character.  Vertical lines make a space feel larger and an upward line can be emphasized by tall and narrow plants or tall structures.  Like vertical lines, horizontal lines can also make a space feel larger plus it can divide a space or tie a space together.  This can be achieved by incorporating low garden walls, walkways, and short hedges in your landscape design.


Form is found in the three-dimensional mass of the shapes of objects in a landscape such as the form of structures, plant beds, walkways, driveways, and garden ornaments.  Landscape forms brings about different emotions and create ambiance. 

Formal and Geometric Forms

• Circular Form – these are a strong design form because it draws the eye to the center where the focal point is located, or it can also connect all other forms around it.

• Square Form – the edges of square form are stronger since they can be lined up or can be overlapped to create unique patterns and even complex forms which are featured in steppingstones, bricks, lies and timber structures.

• Irregular Polygons – the angled edges of polygons can make interesting shapes and forms they provide a casual appeal to the landscape.  Since this form can also become complex, use it cautiously and remember to keep it simple.

Naturalistic Forms

• Meandering Lines – features smooth lines seen in pathways, plant bedlines and dry stream beds; it adds interest and mystery to a garden.

• Organic Edges – features rough, irregular and natural materials such as foliage, plant forms and rocks.

• Fragmented Edges – features broken and scattered fragmented edges such as stones or pavers mostly seen around patios and walkways.

Other forms include Plant forms with vertical forms add height and horizontal forms adds width while Tree forms include round, columnar, oval, pyramidal, vase shaped and weeping wherein all contributes for visual appeal to the landscape design and makes a good focal point.  Shrub forms include upright, arching, vase-shaped, mounding, rounded, spiky cascading and irregular form.  In choosing shrub forms for your landscape, consider if you want it to be used in a mass or as an individual variety.  For example, shrubs which are mounding and spreading look best in a mass, cascading and vase-shaped shrubs are best used as individual plants.  Lastly, the Groundcover form, this form look better in mass since these are usually small, ground-hugging plants.  This form includes matting, spreading, clumping, sprawling and short spikes.


In landscape design, mass is a measure of visual weight wherein certain features have more importance in the composition of the design based its mass and contrast.  It is where you could see some areas of the landscape design is more noticeable and memorable while other features fade into the background.  Thus, creating a cohesive look by linking together all aspects of the landscape’s mass.  High visual weight is usually presented by grouping plants which are upright or posses unusual forms, large size plants, plants with bright colors, bold texture and diagonal lines.  For a low visual weight mass, use low horizontal lines, prostate or low forms, fine texture and subdued or dull colors.

In conclusion

Landscape design is the art of arranging the landscape through the use of horticultural science, artful composition and special organization to create spaces and be able to connect them and make them visually pleasing to the eye.  We hope that we have shared with you fundamental elements of landscape design which you could apply in your next landscape project.

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