Simplicity in the Landscape
August 12, 2011 by Derek Harwood
While there are many principles of landscaping, one principle is often overlooked; simplicity. Most landscapers don't realize that simplicity is an art. Simplicity doesn't suggest that your designs are bland or have no character. Rather, it means to stay within principles such as balance, repetition, line, contrast, and form. A mistake that the majority of landscapers do is in trying to add too many contrasting elements in their plant beds or hardscapes. The result is visually over-stimulating, and some elements end up being lost in design. By keeping things simple, this allows features in the landscape to be highlighted and recognizable.
Benton Project: Once a tight and slightly unpleasing backyard has been transformed into a space for entertainment and relaxation. The new Lilac Bluestone patio is now the main focal point of this backyard. The new stone boasts rich dark tones, while highlighting some nice bronze colors that are in the new mortared Fon Du Lac steps.
These new steps have been capped with custom cut thermal blistered stone that matches the new patio. The new patio also has a new drainage system that allows the client to take control of the drainage problem they once had. Bed lines with elegant curves intermingle with many features of the backyard, while the plantings are very simple and minimal. Simple clusters of yews and spireas were planted amongst masses of groundcovers that soon will carpet the new planting areas.
The overgrown corner of the lot has been cleared out which made way for a new fire pit area that is nestled among the existing arborvitae. This unusable space now becomes a week day retreat for smores and late night entertainment in the landscape. A new cedar fence was installed to replace the old and frail fence that once lined the property, while offering privacy for the client. There also has been installation of landscape lighting in the new stonework as well as through-out the new landscape. These new lights will enhance the landscape during the dark hours of the night and aid in accentuating pleasant features, such as the Lilac Stone patio, while minimizing views of neighborhood homes and unsightly views.
This new backyard renovation also included a new barbeque grill and island. The grill island features a state of the art grill with stainless steel elements that will stand the climate change here in Minnesota. Another feature of the new grill island is the custom stone top. This bar top was fabricated with the same stone used for the step treads, thus harmonizing all elements throughout the new landscape.
The Benton project has progressed to the front, and the immediate change is remarkable. Check back for the next update to see the radical landscape change that awaits the front of this home!
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