The Purpose of Landscaping

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Design Factors to Achieve Beauty in Landscaping

Landscape architecture, like building architecture, is concerned not only with construction but also with such factors of design as scale, unity, proportion, contrast, color, and emphasis.

Scale – The term “scale” as applied to a building is used to describe the sizes of the parts of a building, such as windows and doors, in relation to their purposes and uses. Since buildings are built only for use by people, the scale should be selected with this fact in mind. The scale for a landscape design should be determined in the same manner. Whether the scale of a design is large or small, is, therefore, determined by the relation that certain of its parts bear to the requirements of man.

Landscape may vary in scale according to their purposes. In the garden for a residence, for example, the parts are made small in scale. But in the landscaping for a government building, the parts are made larger and more impressive. In other words, the scale may be larger in public and important landscapes than in domestic landscapes. In any design, however, the scale should be uniform throughout.

Unity – Any landscape design must have unity; that is, the different parts of the design must be united and should express their purpose in a single harmonious composition. Where the landscaping supplements a building, landscaping and building must combine to produce a harmonious whole.

Proportion – Proportion is the relation of the shapes of the various features and parts of a landscape design to each other. There must be a harmonious relation between the various details and the masses of a design, as well as between the masses themselves.

Proportions cannot be determined by any magic general formula. Proportions are conditioned by function and by construction. Proportion is closely allied to scale. A landscape design, for instance, whose proportions are pleasing at intimate scale might be disastrous if the same proportions were duplicated at monumental scale.

Color – The color of the various parts of a landscape design must be harmonious, regardless of the materials used. Where the landscaping adjoins a building, the color of the landscape must be in harmony with the color of the building.

Contrast – Contrast in landscape design means variety in design. It should not be so apparent as to produce unharmonious results or to affect the unity of the design. Contrast may occur in form, size, color, or texture. It adds variety and interest to a design. A common contrast is dark against light, as, for example, dark foliage against a light building.

Emphasis – The landscape architect tries to give satisfying form to an area and to the three-dimensional parts that compose it, while at the same time fulfilling various practical needs. He must consider the different ways of covering floor areas, the different types of enclosures and kinds of ceiling. All aspects must be thought of in relation to one another. After these matters have been weighed, the landscape architect may consider the details.


Landscape architecture involves much more than planting a few shrubs around a building after the building has been completed. The primary objective of landscape architecture is to achieve beauty and utility in the fullest use of the out-of-doors. It is concerned with the arrangement of natural and man-made forms, and with land-planning problems of every kind. It requires a knowledge not only of design but also of construction.

The landscaping of a building should be planned when the building is being planed. The building should look as if it belongs to the site, and the site should blend with the surroundings. Proper landscaping can provide a beautiful for a well-designed building. By providing shade and windbreaks, it can make a building more comfortable.

The history of landscape architecture covers centuries and has developed along the lines of two principal traditions, the formal and the informal. For an appreciation of landscape architecture, you should be aware of past achievements as well as of contemporary movements to this field.

In recent years the biggest change that has occurred in landscape architecture is in the concept of house and garden. Formerly, the garden was designed to walk in or through. Today the garden is designed as a part of the living area of the house.


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