Landscape Planning

The Basic Principles of Landscape Planning

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It is almost impossible to create a magnificent landscape without incorporating the following landscape planning principles: balance, focalization, simplicity, proportion, unity, rhythm, and line. Here is an explanation about each one of them, why every landscape design consultant swears by them, and their role in the planning of landscapes.

Rhythm & Line

Rhythm is established every time something in the landscape is repetitive in the standard interval. Typically, space is the interval in landscaping. Also, a group of plants, benches, plants, lamp posts, or other structures and items can be used to create a rhythm in landscaping.

Lines in landscaping follow the forms of sidewalks, planting beds, or other structures. For example, the area where the pavement meets the turf forms a line.

Both rhythm and line can give a landscape a vibrant feel. That’s the thing that draws people’s attention to a particular landscape. At the same time, it has a calming effect on people.


This feature refers to practically all size relations of every element within the landscape. That includes horizontal, vertical, and other special relationships.

The thing is that we all perceive space differently. It is one point of view to be tall, and entirely another one to be short or a child.

Each proportion matters. Whether it is the size of a building, plant size, lot size, or some other object within the landscape. The landscape architect always plans with the proportion of relationships in mind.


Focalization is the same as a focal point. It is the most notable element in the design regardless of your perspective. Landscape design may have more than one focal point, but the key here is not to overdo. A focal point can be some architectural design, sculpture, interesting fountain, unusual plant forms, a combination of artistic colors, and so on.


The idea here is to keep the landscape simple and not cluttered with various stuff. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that it is the opposite of complexity. A landscape can incorporate a ton of sophisticated features like a set of fountains, colorful lightning, yet not to feel crowded.

People feel comfortable around landscapes that don’t have too many shapes, textures, curves, or colors. But also, things don’t need to feel too simplistic or lacking imagination.


Balance is not just about seeing, but also about being. People are most comfortable when the landscapes are well balanced. Balance in landscaping is divided into two separate categories asymmetrical and symmetrical.

Symmetrical balance

Most times, symmetrical balance is used within formal landscapes when one of the sides mirrors the opposing one. This type of landscapes often depends on geometric patterns in the planting beds, walkways, and in the way the plants are shaped. The downside is that it appears stiff too often, and it needs continuous maintenance.

Asymmetrical balance

This type of balance is also often referred to as informal balance. The main difference is that it appears more free-flowing and relaxes. Not like the stiff appearance that follows asymmetrical balance.


This principle unites all the principles described above. Unity in design can be achieved only if all parts of the landscape project complement each other. Colors and patterns are often repetitive. When done right, special features, lightning, hardscapes, and bed shapes can create a unified landscape.

By sticking to these principles, you can create magnificent landscapes in a variety of spaces, small or large. The principals above are not derived from artists from a long time ago, but they are more of a collection of visual senses that most folks have.

At the same time, if you look at Gardens of French palaces and villas, you will find that each one of them incorporates at least a few of the principles. To this day, it is not clear whether they were aware of that or that came naturally to them.

Nowadays, modern landscape designers rely on them as much as on their sense of aesthetics and pragmatism. Observe any landscape project that has been completed by professionals and the principles will come to the surface, one by one. Every line, every proportion, the position of every object, and so on. That is the only way to realize that there is nothing random in excellent landscape design. There is a perfect order of things even if it doesn’t seem so. In the end, what matters most is what people feel and think the moment they see it, the final product.