3.02The Elements of Planting Design
The Visual Characteristics of Plants
AccentAn accent is a visual break in a sequence or pattern of plant materials. For accents to be effective, they must be eye-catching.
Whenever possible, accents should be visually framed. This can be accomplished by placing the feature of emphasis in a proper position to be viewed through a visual window or natural opening.
Accents in a composition may also be created with texture.
If the dominant plant pattern tends to have a fine texture, another plant with a medium or coarse texture will stand out as an accent feature.
A change in form will create accent if one plant form is used predominantly throughout the design but relieved by the introduction of a contrasting form.
A contrast in the spacing of plants within a composition will also serve as a point of accent.
The most vivid impact upon our senses is made by an accent of color.
Line can capture the eye and demand its attention.
Accent may be accomplished by grouping objects within a design composition.
ScaleScale, or proportion, concerns the relationship of a plant to other plants and to the planted space as a whole.
First, scale is relative to the perception of the viewer. Second, because scale is relative to perception, it can be manipulated psychologically within the space.
The following methods may be used to alter scale within the planted space:
The size of the total space will offer certain limitations or advantages. A designer can cause certain planes to appear either close or far through the selection of textures.
Darker colors seems to recede and to be more distant, while lighter colors appear to be near.
Sequence is characterized by continuity and connection from one element to another.
The proper sequence of color or texture will allow a viewers eye to move along or within the space in an orderly fashion and heighten the visual experience.
A fine-textured tree, shrub, or groundcover should blend into a medium-textured plant, which in turn should blend into a coarse-textured - - or the reverse.
Color supports design harmony when there is a blending of colors from dark to medium to light, or light to medium to dark.
Spacing, which is relative to a plants ultimate growing capacity, should also have transitional order.
BalanceBalance is the state of equipoise between planting design elements. In planting design, we consider two basic types of balance: formal or symmetrical, which is the repletion of features on each side of the central axis.