First principles

Like a painter, landscapers work on a 'canvas' although the canvas in this sense is emphemeral with the seasons, people and the way the space is used.

As a landscape designer and builder, you need to integrate all the elements to produce an athestically pleasing, biodiverse, functional landscape for people to use.

The first question I always ask is, what do you want to use the space for? Following this, a detailed look at the site conditions to work out what is achievable. Only after doing this can we think about design features.

What do we mean by design features? Well, the visual elements of form, colour and texture. Then, composition, proportion and unity. These are the general guidelines in producing timeless landscapes.

Design Elements


To create forms, patterns and control


Informal, formal, voids and negative space


Where two elements meet, continuous edges and broken edges

Vegetation forms

Structure, flow, inward and outward views

Tree, shrub and ground cover

Shape, function and focal points

Colour and texture

Complementary, opposing, fine texture, dense texture


The realtionship between elements and space and how they make up the structure as a whole

Sense of place

The feeling you get within a space, your connection to it

Pick up a pen and paper and give it a whirl, you might suprise yourself and create your own award winning garden!