Article on Landscape Principle by Gail Hansen
Assistant Professor Florida University
Landscape designers work on a canvas that is distinctly different from other art forms. The "art" is always changing as the plants grow, environmental conditions change, and people use the space. For this reason, landscape designers use a design process that systematically considers all aspects of the land, the environment, the growing plants, and the needs of the user to ensure a visually pleasing, functional, and ecologically healthy design.
Elements and Principles
The design process begins by determining the needs and desires of the user and the conditions of the site. With this information, the designer then organizes the plants and hardscape materials, which are collectively referred to as the features. The features can be physically described by the visual qualities of line, form, color, texture, and visual weight—the elements of design. The principles are the fundamental concepts of composition—proportion, order, repetition, and unity—that serve as guidelines to arrange or organize the features to create an aesthetically pleasing or beautiful landscape.
Knowledge of the elements and principles of design is essential to designing a landscape and working through the design process. This publication describes each of the elements and explains the principles and their application.
Elements of Design
The elements of composition are the visual qualities that people see and respond to when viewing a space. Visual qualities can illicit many different emotions and feelings, and the more positive those feelings, the more likely people are to enjoy and use a space. Perhaps the most common element in a composition is line. Line creates all forms and patterns and can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape.