With the warm weather approaching you are probably starting to think about what your springtime landscape projects are going to be. We sat down with one of Frisella Landscape Group’s very own designers, Zach Ignotz, to discuss some aspects of creating stunning landscape designs. If you follow these tips and tricks, then you are sure to have the best looking landscape design in your neighborhood!
The first landscape design topic we are going to discuss is scale. What exactly does scale mean in landscaping? Think about it as the size of your home compared to the size of your yard and landscape. Be sure to keep the size of your landscape relative to the size of your home and your yard itself. Sometimes, depending on the effect that you want to achieve with your landscaping, you can manipulate the scale to make your home look bigger (or smaller) than it actually is.
Zach gives an example of a homeowner that he is working with right now to create a gorgeous landscape design. He has a massive, beautiful home but he doesn’t want to “dwarf” the house/lot. Even though it would typically make sense to plant a bunch of large oak trees in front of an already big home, we wouldn’t want to do that in this case because it is not the look that the homeowner wants to go for. He wants a landscape design that is going to make the house look much grander so smaller scale landscape materials will bring the house up to achieve that elaborate, grand look. You can do the same thing if you have a really big house and big property and you want to make it look smaller. You would just plant a lot of really big landscape material. As a general rule, you would want to keep things to scale with the area that you are working with but at the end of the day it is all about personal opinion, preference and style. Landscape is like art work, you may have a more European or American style or whatever style depending on what look you want to achieve!
The next aspect we are going to jump into is focal point. The first thing you should really do when designing your landscape is choose a focal point. The focal point is the part of your yard, home or landscape that you want people’s eyes to be drawn to. There are so many different things that you can use for a focal point in your yard. When choosing a focal point in the front yard, many people like to use their front door or front porch. it does not have to be a big ole tree that is already in your yard that just so happens to be the biggest item already in your yard. So what do you want to be the focal point of your landscape? Do you want a 300 year old oak tree in your yard to be the focal point? When you look out your window to the backyard in the wormings while you are drinking your coffee, is there a certain view that you want to make your focal point? It’s up to you!
What are some things that we can add to a focal point element? When Zach starts a residential landscape design the first thing he thinks about is the focal point. He tells people, “the front yard landscape is for your neighbors and the backyard is for you.” Of course, that may be different person by person but in the front yard typically when people look at your house you want them to know exactly where to go. Which is why many people do choose their front door to be the focal point of the landscape because you want visitors to be led right exactly to where they are supposed to go. In the backyard, you typically have a patio gathering space or hangout spot so you get to pick what you want to be the focal point, maybe it is a certain tree, a water fountain, or whatever else you want to be the center of your backyard.
You can have different levels of focal points too. For example, at one of Zach’s clients homes, the foreground focal point is the pool in his backyard but then looking past that he has this beautiful view with rolling hills that backs into some woods. So in an instance like this, you have two layers of focal points along the same axis which makes the focal points more impactful. You can do this if you have a smaller house too by adding a more immediate focal point close to the house, maybe a fountain or a sculpture and then further back in the lot you may have a specimen tree. You would then design everything else around the landscape to help emphasize those two focal points. A focal point should be something that stands out when everything else in the yard seems to go together. You can also isolate things to emphasize them as a focal point. You may have a very lush landscape immediate to your home and then you have one thing just past the yard. Your eye is going to be drawn to that focal point because it is the only thing there to look at.
Another really cool thing you can do with focal points in your landscape is add some lighting and change the focal points at night. Whatever is lit up, is what gets seen. You could have this very robust landscape but at nighttime you can play with lighting and the different textures, colors of leaves and foliage to change the dynamic of the landscape at night. A small intimate yard or entertainment space could be made to seem much larger by the illusions created using the lighting in the landscape design and vice versa. If you have a really big open yard you can use lighting to make a space feel more intimate at night.
Another aspect of a great landscape design is visual rhythm. Visual rhythm means that you have repeating themes throughout your landscape. Remember, landscape is like art, some rules in art are made to be broken because breaking the rules creates emphasis. Visual rhythm is playing into the human trait of needing to find patterns. Humans are always looking for and to recognize patterns. It is an instinctual thing that the human brain and eyes do. So if you can create that visual rhythm with patterns it helps people to visually move through a space.
Disrupting that pattern causes one to then stop on that spot and notice the one thing that is different and out of the ordinary. This can be done in a number of different ways. For example, if your house has a roof line with a certain type of angle, repeating those same angles throughout the landscape will make your property seem unified or intentional and your eye will move smoothly throughout. Then, you have one item that is maybe a circle shape and it’s going to stand out to the viewer because it disrupted the pattern of angles. So using rhythm to establish a pattern and then using a focal point to break the pattern and cause emphasis can be very impactful in a stunning landscape design.
You can create visual rhythm with plants that you are repeating around your yard or by repeating textures and colors throughout your landscape. However, one point to think about with rhythm is seasonal interest. While you have this amazing visual rhythm established during one season, the next 3 seasons your yard could look dead and boring because you did not think about seasonal interests when planning your rhythms. Seasonal interest can change your focal point and rhythm from season to season. What your focal point is in the winter season is most likely not going to be your focal point in the summer season too. So, when you are planning your landscape, defining your focal points and visual rhythm be sure to design it in a way that when one seasonal focal point fades, another one pops up.
There are so many different types of plants out there and many new plants coming to market this year so when planning your landscape for this upcoming season be sure to spend some time deciding what exactly you want and what you’re trying to achieve. Then when you have a path or style you want to follow, go talk to a local professional about what is really going to work best in your space. You don’t want to plant plants that look really nice for just a short amount of time and then end up not lasting very long or not blooming to its full potential. A professional can even help you define scale, focal point, and visual rhythm and help guide you in the right direction to achieve each aspect!
As you are planning your yard and your landscape projects, Frisella Nursery and Landscape Group would love to be part of the process and guide you in the right direction of your vision. Even if you plan to do your landscape project yourself, come into our garden center and bring pictures and ideas of examples that you like and we would love to help you achieve that. We would be happy to help you pick out the perfect plants, the right soil amendment and provide you with the right maintenance instructions. Please come use us as a resource! If you have any questions please feel free to call (636) 798-2555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.