An Introduction to Landscape Design
Landscape design is both an art and an independent profession, practiced by many landscape architects, blending both culture and nature. In modern practice, landscape architecture bridges the gap between traditional garden planning and landscape architecture. The landscape architect brings the art of designing landscapes to the home and the garden. This can be accomplished through education or on-the-job training, depending on the individual.
The primary goal of landscape planning is to create a visually pleasing site that enhances the lifestyle of its users. Landscape architecture focuses on the visual effects of building and planting to improve the usability and efficiency of outdoor space. In essence, it is an educational program in which an academician analyzes both the technical and social factors of the planned site and produces a landscape design plan. The plan must take into account the resources available, the climate, the land usage, and the existing functions and structures. The final visual result should be a comprehensive layout with outstanding visual qualities and an environment that is environmentally, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.
Chicago Landscape Design has a variety of technical skills, including knowledge of plant chemistry, soil science, water availability, sun type and amount, vegetation types, plant distribution, edging, construction materials, and architectural style and design elements. These technical and creative skills are applied in the process of visualizing the site, composing a site plan, selecting appropriate plants, rocks, and other elements, and finalizing the design. While the basic components of landscape planning can be learned from a degree program in landscape architecture, many landscape architects opt to master some of the many decorative art styles that complement their specific tastes. Art lovers can pursue formal education to study composition, painting, and drawing, while those who prefer to learn the visual qualities of nature can use a more hands-on approach to learn about color combination, shadowing, and other design aspects. With an education and a bit of experience under their belt, they can enjoy the rewards of a career in landscape architecture.
There are several different techniques used in landscape design, including but not limited to terracotta, concrete, natural stone, ceramic tile, gravel, carpet, and grass. Each material has its own unique characteristics that lend character to the site and create unique “forms.” For instance, concrete and gravel forms are straight, whereas concrete, stone, and ceramic tile create irregular shapes. Landscape architecture is dependent on the application of different techniques and elements to ensure that the spaces created are as pleasing to the eye as possible.
One way that texture is applied to the environment is through plant material. Plants and rocks are arranged in repeating patterns to add depth, form, and dimension to the landscape. The repetition can be random or systematic, depending on the desired effect. In addition to plant material, a multitude of different textures can be applied. These textures may include; bark, clay, crushed stone, granite, tile, and even moss. All of these elements help to add naturalness and create an inviting environment for the viewer to enjoy.
In terms of visual appeal, there is a multitude of options available to landscape designers. Color, line and form are each choosing to bring something unique to the garden or environment. The visual effect can be very elaborate or quite simple. This is dependent upon the style, look, and intent of the designer. In addition, there are several different ways in which to display a finished product. Landscape architecture allows for any number of display arrangements such as using garden sculptures, waterfalls, ponds, fountains, hanging plants, statuary, and lighting, to name a few.
When completing a landscape design, there is a multitude of factors to consider. These factors can range from materials, plants, colors, and texture to patterns, forms, lighting, and other elements. Designers must balance these various elements to achieve the desired end result. Although many individuals will not realize it at the time, these factors will play a key role in the finished product.
Landscape maintenance takes on greater importance than in years past because of the increased number of people wanting to live in an easy-going setting with minimal effort. People want to save time, money, and hassle, and this results in a more enjoyable outdoor living experience. Many people want to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors, and yard landscaping provides them with just the right amount of space, color, and design to do so.