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  • Principles of residential garden landscape design

    Updated on: 04-06,2022 / Views:

     Obey the Fence "Rules"

    As you can see, this is a "law", but not just a law! It addresses the fundamental meaning of the garden, which is "enclosing". For me, creating a kind of sanctuary and solitude was crucial. According to the fence law, we feel safe when the vertical height of a particular space is at least one-third the horizontal length.

     Visual guidance

    The construction industry has a concept of a "calibration line". The idea is that architectural elements (for example, doorways, or building edges, or even window mullions) or unique landscape features (prominent trees, swimming pools, borders) can "generate" an imaginary line that helps connect and organize the design. For example, in placing a backyard, I projected the lines of its architectural additions into the garden space, then aligned the swimming pool and wooden walkway with these lines. This will give cohesion to the whole garden.


    Use the golden ratio

    My practical application of the Golden ratio involves its cousin the Golden Rectangle, where the ratio of the short side to the long side is equal to the ratio of the long side to the sum of the two sides (A/b = B/A + B) -- you might not know that landscape architects have to learn math. Numerically, the ratio of golden rectangles is close to 1:1.6.

    From big to small

    Plants, perhaps more than any other element of the garden, embody the infinite variability and fickleness of nature -- and as such, they follow no rules. However, successful planting is the finishing touch of the garden.


    Start by planting from large to small: start with trees, then shrubs, then perennials, then ground covers.  This is important not only in terms of composition (seeing the larger form first gives you a better understanding of the overall structure). 

    05: Large-scale plantingWhile the cottage garden has a lot to say, with a variety of plants (in fact, true master gardeners can do this), seeing the amount of one plant is the real power of impact. Russell Page, one of the greatest landscape architects of the 20th century, said it best: "The most compelling and satisfying visual enjoyment comes from the repetition or aggregation of a simple element. Imagine every pillar of the Parthenon being a different kind of marble!"

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