BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Design 101: Illuminate Not Dazzle

Some simple advice for the plant lover - too much dazzle in the garden can make you dizzy. So can that garish red mulch but that’s for another day. A collection of specimen plants composed incorrectly can look like a horticultural brawl. Colors and textures compete with each other. The end result - there are no winners in the game, just lots of chaos.

Setting a backdrop to showcase a specimen plant or an accent illuminates the features of your garden, much like decorating your house. In order for details to be visible, the composition requires an element of simplicity. Think of your garden as a table setting. What is a lawn other than to be the tablecloth? If you are surrounded by a stand of mature trees, embrace these elements. Make them your curtains. As the gardener, you must set the stage to illuminate the little pockets of interest. Rather than repel your visitor, you must draw one into your garden.

This being said, design is subjective. Some desire a manicured and controlled look while others prefer a more naturalistic setting. Even within the context of varied styles, this design logic remains true. It’s the balance of colors and textures within an established backdrop that permits even bold and brazen to be an effective composition. Regardless of scale, your garden can still highlight your personality with the style you choose but always remember that it should illuminate not dazzle the welcoming guest. I choose a James Thurber quote for the inspirational thought for Tuesday. “There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”

Designs by Greg Bilowz - Photos by Eric Roth Photography - Copyright Bilowz Associates Inc.

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)