Landscape Gardening Ideas, Principles, Design Guide

Landscape Gardening

Landscape gardening is one of the branches of Horticulture. The idea of landscape gardening will mostly deal with the plantation of ornamental plants in a way that there would be the creation of effects that are picturesque. The subject of landscape gardening is very interesting. However, there are many definitions derived in order to explain the subject of landscape gardening. The landscape can be defined as something which is considered to be the appearance of a particular section of land which can be seen by our eye at once and the term landscape gardening is the art in which the laying of grounds takes place in order to create an effect of a landscape which is picturesque. Landscape gardening can also be defined as decorating a portion of land with plants and other materials in the garden so that an effect that is natural can be produced in a very limited space. The landscape which you select can have plants or it may also not have them.

Landscape gardening is also defined as a process in which beautifying a piece of land that contains a house or any other object in it. Landscape gardening is done for the creation of naturalistic scenes by the plantation of lawn, shrubs, and also trees. This is the combination of both science and art. By landscape gardening, nature can be imitated in the garden. The importance of landscape gardening is that it will improve the living environment of people completely. The landscape expression can be quiet or retired or bold etc, but it will give confirmation of the purpose and the place. The landscape should always be a picture but not a collection of objects which seem to be interesting.

As landscape gardening is a process that involves creating pictures on the ground with the plants and also other forms of garden material, the designer of the landscape should have very good proficiency in art, ecology, ornamental gardening, and also physiology. It would always be better if the landscape designer has a very good knowledge of architecture and engineering. This would help in appreciating the relationship between the forms of plants, buildings, and colors.

Landscape gardening elements:

There are different varieties of landscapes based on the present conditions of geography and agro-climate which would characterize the earth. Mountains, glens, seas, plains, rivers, streams, etc are the ones that would occupy the maximum part of the natural landscape. In a few particular points, there would be some sort of harmony in between the elements of nature like forms of ground, animal life, or even vegetation. The landscape of such a location would be beautiful and will also let us know the mood of the landscape like sadness, exhilaration, etc. There are several qualities of the natural landscape like the ethereal, the delicate, the idyllic, the graceful, the bold, and the majestic.

The copying of all the natural elements is done by man for the purpose of improvement of the landscape all around him and also in a few converted areas which are in the garden form.

Principles of Landscape gardening:

Principles of Landscaping.
Principles of Landscaping.
  • The landscape garden which is ideal is the same as a landscape painting which would express a single thought. The expression might be bold, quiet, etc.
  • The utility and beauty should be combined in a harmonious way.
  • The Area of the landscaping should be parted into different sections and the plans should be, made for each and every area. The complete plan should be in such a way that the observer would be able to catch the whole effect and also the purpose of the plan without even stopping for analyzing the parts.
  • The design simplicity should be aimed towards the plan execution.
  • The landscape which is considered to be an ideal one should have an open space.
  • Allow the building and the garden to merge. There should not be any sort of stops, mainly in front of the building. The garden view, when seen from the windows and doors, should be attractive. The plantation which is done surrounding the building, climbers on the walls and the porch, decorating veranda and rooms with foliage which is attractive, plants which are flowering and the baskets will serve the building with garden. Each and every section of the compound has to be planned in such a way that it gives a fantastic effect to the visitor.
  • The plants and objects should not be overcrowded.

Factors that affect the design of a landscape garden:

Choice of man: The ultimate desire of a man would be to live a life that is happy and comfortable. The domination of man in creating designs and selection of planting material is evident. Hence, several gardening styles have come into existence.

Site: This one is the most important factor and as per the site, a design which would be suitable can be made. In the gardening whose style is formal, the site will be chosen as per the plan. The topography of the site which is selected will also have an impact on the design.

View: The views of the mountains, valleys, hills, etc from far away locations will be preferred from the garden place.

Heritage: One would inherit the knowledge on the botany, aesthetic sense, and their uses. Our heritage which is rich will teach us how to make use of flowers and the trees with fragrance for the improvement of surroundings.

Environment: The environment of a specific location will affect the plant material. The plant material which is suitable for the environment has to be chosen.

Soil: As per the features of the types of soil, the plants which are suitable have to be chosen.

Styles of landscape garden:

The styles of the garden will change according to time with fresh ideas and necessities. The gardening styles are classified into three types.

  • Formal
  • Informal
  • Free

Important characteristics of a formal style of gardening are: The plan will be made on paper and the selection of land is done accordingly. There would be an asymmetrical plan. These particular types of gardens are of the design which is geometric such as rectangle and square. Hence, cutting roads is done at the right angle. It has some amount of enclosure. The beds of the flower will also have geometric shapes. The trees and shrubs are arranged in a geometric way and are placed in shape by following the processes like training and trimming. Few other features like pools, cascades, fountains will be used to attract further. Persian and Mughal gardens are examples of Formal style of gardening.


The informal style will reflect the natural effect of a complete view and is also a representation of natural beauty. This particular style is the opposite of the formal style. In this style, the plan will not be in symmetry like the formal one and as per the availability of the land for the creation of the garden. Paths and roads are made in a curve shape and are bent. Water bodies will be made of shapes that are irregular. Hill rocks are prepared for the creation of natural sceneries of mountains. Flower beds will be made of shapes that are not regular and are also suitable for the surroundings. Plants will be made to grow in their natural form and instead of trimming, pruning is done on a yearly basis. Japanese gardens can be considered as the perfect example of an Informal Style of gardening.


Freestyle is a combination of good points of the formal style of gardening and informal style of gardening. Rose garden which is present in Ludhiana is a perfect example of freestyle of gardening.

Art principles involved in landscaping:

Art of Landscaping.
Art of Landscaping.

Landscaping is a process of creating pictures with materials of plants and therefore, the principles will be similar to those of art.


If the same object is repeated at an equal distance, then it is called a rhythm. The creation of rhythm can be done by using shapes, size, or a line movement that is continuous. In gardens, basically, trees of individual species of similar height and shape will be planted for the creation of this effect. In Mughal gardens, water canals and fountains will be extensive and can be used for the creation of such an effect.


Maintenance of a balance between two sides of the central line is the most important thing. The principle which is included in creating balance in the game of see-saw will be a huge help to understand this. The balance of the weights which are equal or the same can be done when they are at an equal distance from the center. If the weights are not equal, then the one which is heavy needs to move towards the center in order to create balance. The balance can be of three types again. One is formal, the second is informal and the third is symmetrical. The imbalance will look smaller than the other and will divert attention. In creating a balance between the plants, form, texture, colour, etc have to be kept in mind and proper care has to be taken.


The creation of an accent in the garden is done in order to avoid the view which looks monotonous. This is a method which would stress the thing which is very important. This will also serve as a center of attraction for the landscape. Most of the time, objects which are unusual like a tall fountain, statue, etc., will be used for the creation of the effect of accent or it can also be termed as emphasis. In American gardens, statues will be used mostly for the creation of such types of effects.


Contrast is one of the principles which is mostly used for emphasizing the features of an object which are considered to be the best. This particular principle can be understood in a simple way if you follow the theory of contrast colour. If the background is green, a very small patch of scarlet colour will be a contract and the scarlet colour will also get highlighted. When talking about nature, this one is very common. Other types of contrast colours can also be put in use. In a similar way, growing dwarf trees against tall, maintaining a rough texture opposite to soft texture, etc are a few of the examples which can also be put in place. It is very much important that one of the two objects of contrast should dominate one another. By this, one of the objects will become a feature and the other contrasting object will serve as a supporting background. The elements which are contrasting, if have equal power, there is a chance that they would create visual tensions.


This principle is a relationship of one thing to another in terms of magnitude. The establishment of proportions can be done when two or more objects are kept together. In a design of landscape, space which is provided for the purpose of lawn, herbaceous borders, trees, other objects of the garden should be in correct proportions. This will create an effect that is harmonious and will make it look very much better. Such type of effects can be noticed in the gardens of Persia. If the area which is allocated in the garden is completely out of proportion, then this will divert the attention. For the organization of space in the garden, the principle of proportion would really be of great help.


Harmony is a complete effect that combines all the features, color schemes, styles of the total view. The degree of unity which can also be called a degree of harmony of a landscape is a measurement that has been induced in us and this can be termed as beauty. Hence, the term Beauty can be explained as a relationship that is evident of all the parts of a thing which can be observed. When various parts of the landscape are placed in a correct or right way, it will produce an effect of harmony. Such type of landscapes will create an effect which is picturesque and will surely please the visitors. In contrast to this, if the harmony is lacking, then it would be ugly.

Important terms of  landscape gardening:


This is a line that is imaginary. This line will help in dividing the garden into two sections. This will also be a connection between two or more points in the garden. The presentation of Axis will be done in the form of a path or trees or a line of fountains etc. If the garden is divided into two parts by using an axis, then that particular axis is called a central axis. Axis is called a central axis informal style, whereas, in an informal style, this axis is termed as oblique. Axis will have control over movement in the garden from the entrance to the exit. An axis that is present in the garden will follow directions and order.

Symmetrical plan:

In the symmetrical plan, several types of objects will be in equilibrium at a central point on the two sides of the axis. The symmetrical plan which can also be termed as a formal plan can be represented as the meaning of beauty because of its pleasant look. This is because, the symmetry needs to be in association with plan clarity, balance, unity, etc. If you want your symmetrical plan to be disciplined and also precise, it will need precision in detail and maintenance should be the main concept.

Dynamic symmetry:

In the plan of dynamic symmetry, each and every pole will generate a magnetic field of its own and in the middle of both fields, there will be a dynamic tension present.

Asymmetrical plan:

In Asymmetrical types of plans, there would not be any symmetry on two sides of the axis, but there would be perfect maintenance of harmony and balance.

Landscape circulation:

In landscape gardening, there would be a path from the entrance to the exit. The circulation will differ according to gardening style and also the topography. If there are more patterns of circulation, then there would be more points of attraction or views. The circulation patterns which are common will be depicted.


This one is a confined view of the terminal building which is three-dimensional. This is the most dominating element of this feature. It can be natural or artificial. The vistas which are natural are common around the mountains which are lofty and the peaks which are filled with snow. The entire effect of the vista will be because of its features or characteristics. Vista may be calm or it may bring the motion. Vista has three parts:

It should always be subjected to close control.

It must have a viewing station in order to view the objects.

Vista needs to have an intermediate ground.

The above three points should be united and this will lead to a totality effect.

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