Elements of Design

A theme is essential to any garden

Before beginning any garden design, have a theme in mind. The garden design icon, Russell Page, said in his book, The Education of a Gardener, "Gardens must have a theme...a connecting thread in the planting and composition (which is) sufficiently clear."

The Seven Elements of Garden Design

There are seven elements of garden design. Good design incorporates as many as possible.

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Simplicity

Simplicity breeds elegance. Simplicity says that little is needed to make a statement.

Print

Repetition

"...the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element. Imagine the Parthenon with each column of a different kind of marble!"

Russell Page

Repetition

"...the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element. Imagine the Parthenon with each column of a different kind of marble!"

Russell Page

Print

Repetition

...the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element "Imagine the Parthenon with each column of a different kind of marble!"

Russell Page

Print

Repetition

...the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element "Imagine the Parthenon with each column of a different kind of marble!"

Russell Page

Print

Variety

Too much repetition becomes monotony. Variety is used to control repetition and spark interest. Use variety to prevent boredom, and provide a reason to look further.

Variety

Too much repetition becomes monotony. Variety is used to control repetition and spark interest. Use variety to prevent boredom, and provide a reason to look further.

Print

Variety

Too much repetition becomes monotony. Variety is used to control repetition and spark interest. Use variety to prevent boredom, and provide a reason to look further.

Print

Variety

Too much repetition becomes monotony. Variety is used to control repetition and spark interest. Use variety to prevent boredom, and provide a reason to look further.

Print

Emphasis

According to Catherine Ziegler, author of The Harmonious Garden, "Absence of focus... weakens plants associations to dullness... Anything special and different in the landscape creates emphasis by its greater variety..."

Emphasis

According to Catherine Ziegler, author of The Harmonious Garden, "Absence of focus... weakens plants associations to dullness... Anything special and different in the landscape creates emphasis by its greater variety..."

Print

Emphasis

According to Catherine Ziegler, author of The Harmonious Garden, "Absence of focus... weakens plants associations to dullness... Anything special and different in the landscape creates emphasis by its greater variety..."

Print

Emphasis

According to Catherine Ziegler, author of The Harmonious Garden, "Absence of focus... weakens plants associations to dullness... Anything special and different in the landscape creates emphasis by its greater variety..."

Print

Sequence

This is the rhythm of the landscape. Sequence causes the eye to move over a landscape in a specific order, from point of emphasis to point of emphasis.

Sequence

This is the rhythm of the landscape. Sequence causes the eye to move over a landscape in a specific order, from point of emphasis to point of emphasis.

Print

Sequence

This is the rhythm of the landscape. Sequence causes the eye to move over a landscape in a specific order, from point of emphasis to point of emphasis.

Print

Balance

Preserve balance between fore, mid and background; side to side.

Balance

Preserve balance between fore, mid and background; side to side.

Print

Balance

Preserve balance between fore, mid and background; side to side.

Print

Scale

Scale is proportion; the feeling about the way one unit relates to another in size.

Scale

Scale is proportion; the feeling about the way one unit relates to another in size.

Print

Scale

Scale is proportion; the feeling about the way one unit relates to another in size.

Print

Scale

Scale is proportion; the feeling about the way one unit relates to another in size.

Print

Examples

Click on thumbnails for examples of different garden themes

Theme 1

Trees, rods, panels and plantings, all reinforce "Vertical" themes.

Print

Theme 2

In this entry garden, "Red" unites all features: accessories, containers, architecture and plants.

Print

Theme 3

This garden emphasizes the relation between stone and water, and the contrast between stability and movement.

Print

Theme 4

Everything here is Asian, from building to fence to plantings.

Print

Theme 5

Although no water exists here, "A River" is created through hardscape, elements and plantings.

Print

Theme 6

In this garden, by Oehme/Van Sweden, "Contrast" is the theme.

Print

Theme 7

This garden shouts "Southwest."

Print

Theme 8

This garden shouts "Southwest."

Print

Theme 9

White and silver dominate here with a fresh, clean theme.

Print

Theme 10

Cottage, cottage, cottage.

Print

Theme 11

Know what... you want to say and express it as simply as you can: If you want a lawn, go all out for it. Make everything else subsidiary to the "lawnness" of your lawn - Russell Page

Print

Theme 12

"...since it had to be shady, he made it very shady, and since green is precious in the city he made his garden very green and only green." Russell Page, of Andre Duchene.

Print

Theme 13

The contrasting tints and shades of green in various forms provides a restful theme.

Print

Contact Us

Please email us at