How do you plan a garden using the design basics? Just carefully arrange what you find in nature to….

…mimic nature!

The Design Principles

Understanding these basic design principles allows you to collect landscaping ideas that reinforce your desired effect. You can transplant the beauty already inherent in every part of the earth into your own surroundings.

The Design Principles used in gardening are very similar to those employed in most art forms. These basic principles work together to create order out of chaos by organizing thousands of small choices into an integrated whole.

Landscape design is simply a series of informed choices based upon design prinicples.

Garden Bridge

These principles of design are much older than modern man, principles based upon the psychology of human preference. By honoring these long held values as selection decisions are made during the design process, you can create a garden space that pleases the senses.

Then add to that natural beauty those things that make a garden usable for human beings! You will be amazed at the results! Through this orderly process, working step by step through the prinicples of design, you can create garden designs that transform your surroundings into microcosms of natural beauty.

What establishes a good design?

The choices. Simple, sequential choices.

In this series of pages you will find a set of garden design basics that serve very well to guide those choices. These elements and principles of design will help you to organize your thinking and bring order to a host of competing landscaping ideas.

Note that these design basics principles are guides. To use them most effectively, you need to recognize that no one principle can be viewed as completely isolated from another. They are conceptual ideas which can be used to refine a design through methodical review.

Design Basics Courtyard

In truth, a few of these principles may dominate in any one design. Depending upon what your overall, unifying goals are for your garden, some principles may govern the choices made, while others may not influence your design at all. So learn the principles, come up with your basic plan, and then re-organize to take advantage of these principles that will set your garden apart.

Design is a process. It is O.K. to change your original ideas to take advantage of newer and better ones!

Nature as Design Basics

The Bible says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Design Basics Nature Flickr Jasmine

This is especially true in the garden.

In the strongest designs, this shapes the overall ambitions of the gardener. The canvas is the earth, the materials are nature’s flora and the rocks of the fields, the backdrops are the heavens and the mountains and the water. With the beauty that surrounds us we create more beauty.

The elements and principles of garden design are simply borrowed from nature. They have existed as long as man has roamed the earth.

The process of putting together a garden plan is simply that of observing nature and the human spirit, making decisions that please the senses, and collecting these choices into a design that preserves an integrated, spiritually, and emotionally motivating surrounding.

One of the most important design basics is nature herself. No one can improve on what she has done. Find the beauty already there, and build upon it.

We are not the creators of this natural beauty, rather we shape what already exists in nature to our purposes, to serve our needs and to please our senses.

Good designers take advantage of nature as the principle model upon which to build a garden design. They allow the existing natural characteristics to form their basic designs, and then whittle away at the liabilities that are less pleasing and build upon those that strengthen its best characteristics.

A unifying theme is developed that pleases the designer and supports our most basic desires for function and aesthetic. This new vision is what then guides the garden designer. The design basics then enhance that vision as the designer works through the creative thinking processes.

Throughout the entire design process, a designer is reviewing decisions against the design basics and rejecting those ideas that do not serve the overall desired garden effects. Often, the best effects may be obtained by simply leaving mother nature alone.

Sunrays in the Park

Using the Elements and Principles of Design

On many of these pages I have discussed a few of the most important garden design principles when planning a garden. These landscape design basics will help to pave your way to great garden designs.

It is important to note that the above concepts can work together to create drama or disaster! By thinking through the relationships of these concepts, and recognizing that each decision reinforces or dismantles the effects created by earlier decisions, one can create truly fantastic panoramas in the garden.

This site is devoted to helping you learn how to recognize when these concepts are useful, and how to use these design basics together to create the garden of your dreams.

I am so excited to share with you the elements and principles of design that allow you to do your own residential landscape design!