In the garden, many of the hardscape elements (i.e., stone, metal, brick, etc.) we utilize can introduce color other than green. It is beyond the softscape, when we introduce more than plants that we realize that not everything in our garden backdrop is green. Think of all those miscellaneous items we may not consider as connecting to everything else, including your ceramic pots, statutory items, even your outdoor furniture. Whatever you choose to place, grow or build can intensify or create a subdued approach when placed in a certain location.
Here is a perfect landscape design exercise to do on a lazy summer day. Break down your garden by softscape and hardscape elements. Mark next to each item if it is moveable or if it is a permanent structure like a large tree or a terrace that may be moved but is work or costly to undertake. Or maybe it is a stone wall that determines a property line so it cannot be touched or it may be the character building feature of your garden. If that’s the case, start from this point and work out, like you would with an Oriental rug in a room. Then decipher its placement, color, its accent to the entire landscape.
And one other word of caution: don’t add things like a white picket fence just because. Every part, from softscape to hardscape should all relate, whether it is the green texture of plants, a bronze railing detail, stone walls, terraces or ceramic pots and statutory elements. Softscape and hardscape should be best friends, not opposing enemies. Even if one element is meant to impose and the other is meant to detract, it is all meant to connect. No fragments, just symmetry. Aristotle best captures what is critical to great design. “Beauty depends on size as well as symmetry. No very small animal can be beautiful, for looking at it takes so small a portion of time that the impression of it will be confused. Nor can any very large one, for a whole view of it cannot be had at once.”
Images of rock and color symmetry in the garden by Ann Bilowz
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