Residential and Commercial Landscape Design

adding color to a landscape design

Have you ever felt a sense of awe, tranquility, and inspiration while strolling through a city park, public garden or well-designed courtyard? You probably didn’t give it much thought – like listening to a song but not knowing why you like it.

Like music composition, a professionally designed landscape is intentional. It is much more than just plants and grass. Both residential and commercial landscape design employs five Elements and five Principles in the planning process before any materials are selected.

Landscape Design Elements

Landscape design elements are the standard rules that apply to all landscape plans. They ensure continuity in the design. In our music analogy, Design Elements would be the rhythm or beat. These five elements are applied to landscape materials selected whether plants or hardscape structures. The five landscape design elements are:

  1. Color – flower or foliage, seasonal considerations
  2. Form – upright, spreading
  3. Texture – broadleaf foliage or needled; rough or smooth
  4. Line – hardlines of building, paths, hedges
  5. Scale – the size of materials determines the placement

Landscape Design Principles

Landscape design principles outline the ways in which the design elements should be used in relation to one another. In our music analogy they are the melody. They can either emphasize or de-emphasize parts of the design. The five principles can vary greatly depending upon the perspective and design style:

  1. Proportion – elevation levels as it relates to the specific plan
  2. Transition – how to connect the different areas smoothly
  3. Unity – a consistent theme running throughout the design
  4. Balance – using the same materials in relation the structure
  5. Focal points – to draw the eyes attention and provide depth
commercial landscaping in a park

Like music, a professionally designed landscape is intentional. It is much more than just plants and grass.

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Landscape Design

As a landscape designer, it’s important to know the difference between residential and commercial landscape design. The elements of a commercial landscape plan that vary most often are line and scale. A commercial setting is often determined by square, fixed structures and line of sight. There may be more emphasis on shade trees. Landscape plants are often selected for their resistance to environmental stresses – heat, road salt, etc. – and are frequently planted en masse. There may be more repetition in commercial design.

Home landscape design is usually smaller in scale and more intimate. It presents an opportunity for the designer to use a wider variety of plant material and features like water and lighting to stimulate the senses. In a residential setting, the landscape plan is very much personalized to the homeowner’s style – rather than just filling it in with plants.

Where should you start with landscape design?

If you are considering a new look for your home landscape or commercial property, browsing for pictures can provide you with ideas and inspiration. The most important step, however, is to give Groundhog Landscaping a call! We provide end-to-end landscape design and installation services – from consultation to a landscape plan (if needed) to sourcing and installing the highest quality of materials that will give you the landscape of your dreams.

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