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Form gives structure to your landscape. The masses of shrubs, the shape of garden structures, the outline of a tree or group of trees, and the spreading mass of groundcover are the basic elements of form in a landscape design plan.

These forms can resemble basic geometric shapes. The most common ones found in landscape design are:

  • Squares
  • Circles
  • Ovals
  • Rectangles
  • Hexagons
  • Angles

A client we had in New York had a contemporary home with several 45 degree angles. We took those angles and repeated them in the shape of the pool house, a hexagonal shaped swimming pool, and planting beds.

There are two important things to know about form:

  • Vary the size and shapes
  • Forms should be integrated

Forms should integrate with each other or a feeling of chaos and disharmony will result. You can do this by repeating materials or colors on different forms (you’ll learn more about the tool of repetition in the next section).

Home Garden Tip: When varying the sizes, keep in mind that in a small area, most of the shapes should be small and in a large area, the shapes should be on the big side.

The ideal is to create a feeling of calmness or action, depending on your objective:

  • the fewer contrasts there are between large and small forms, the calmer the experience
  • the more contrasts there are, more action will be the resulting tone

As if Color, Texture, Line and Form weren't enough for you to think about, you'll also need to learn about...

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