What is Balance in Landscape Design, and Why Does it Matter?
What is balance in landscape design? As you take steps towards overhauling your front yard or backyard’s existing landscape, you’ll see this term used frequently. And as you’ll discover below, this is a key component of making your dream yard a reality.
This term speaks to the sense of equilibrium in your yard. It is an intricacy of landscape design that is often overlooked by homeowners trying to DIY their yards because it’s something that’s so nuanced. You either get it or you don’t - and it’s painfully obvious which side of the fence one falls on when looking at their yard.
The good news? As one of the most trusted landscaping companies in Alpharetta, we’re here to teach you everything you need to know about creating a harmonious, balanced landscape design that you’re proud to show off. We’ll fully define this phrase and explain why it’s more important than you may think. Then, we’ll empower you with a few tips for creating a balanced yard yourself. Let’s dive right in!
What is Balance in Landscape Design?
First things first - what is balance in landscape design? This is an important principle that refers to the distribution of visual weight within a composition. Simply put, balance is the art of creating an aesthetically pleasing design that feels harmonious and stable. The goal of balance in landscape design is to create a sense of equilibrium and avoid a feeling of heaviness or instability in the landscape.
Now - that’s a lot of technical jargon that might not mean much to you if you aren’t an experienced landscape designer. So allow us to put balance into layman’s terms: balance means making sure everything looks and feels just right.
A balanced yard looks as if it was meant to be there - and could potentially have existed naturally before the home was even built! To achieve balance, designers need to think about how they arrange things like plants, paths, and features in the landscape. They might use different colors, shapes, or sizes to make sure everything looks good together.
As you can imagine, this is easier said than done. But we’ll give you some advice later on. First, we need to break down two types of balance.
Symmetrical Balance vs Asymmetrical Balance
There are two types of balance that landscape designers can use: symmetrical balance and asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance is achieved when a design is mirrored on either side of a central axis, much like a butterfly's wings. This type of balance creates a sense of formality and order. You’ll often see it used in formal garden designs or to create a sense of grandeur in large-scale landscaping projects.
Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, is achieved when the visual weight of a composition is distributed unevenly but still feels balanced. This type of balance is often used in more naturalistic garden designs, as it mimics the balance found in nature. Asymmetrical balance can be achieved by using varying heights, textures, colors, and shapes in a composition, or by creating a sense of movement through the use of diagonal lines. This is obviously a more complex approach to balance - but trust us, it’s worth the effort. The end result can be truly captivating and stunning. That sort of leads us to the next point we want to discuss in this conversation - why is balance so important in landscape design?
Why is Balance Important in Landscape Design?
Of all the basic elements of landscape design, not enough emphasis is placed on balance. But why is this principle so key to bringing your dream yard to life? Simple - it influences the way you feel when in the landscape. When a landscape is well-balanced, it feels more visually pleasing and inviting, and visitors are more likely to feel comfortable and at ease within the space.
Think about a landscape that feels cluttered or unbalanced. Maybe there are too many plants or objects competing for attention, or maybe the composition feels lopsided or off-kilter. In these cases, the lack of balance can create a sense of unease or even discomfort for visitors. It can be difficult to relax or enjoy the space when the eye is constantly darting around trying to make sense of the composition.
This is often the result when inexperienced landscape designers try to cram as many different plants and hardscape elements into a small area. Less is usually more with landscape design.
On the other hand, a well-designed and balanced landscape can feel like a sanctuary. When the visual weight is distributed evenly and the design feels harmonious, visitors are more likely to feel at ease and able to appreciate the beauty of the space. They can relax, enjoy the scenery, and appreciate the details without feeling overwhelmed or distracted.
Additionally, balance can be used to create a sense of purpose or intention within the landscape. For example, when designing a pathway or garden bed, careful attention to balance can help guide visitors along the path or draw attention to specific plants or features. This intentional use of balance in landscape design can help create a more memorable and impactful landscape experience.
How do You Balance Landscape Design? Quick Tips for Creating a Balanced Yard
With a better understanding of what balance is in landscape design, you’re probably eager to try to curate it in your own yard.
Before we go any further, we do want to let you know that whether you’re designing backyard landscaping or designing front yard landscaping, you should hire a landscape designer. These professionals are worth every penny - because they create an atmosphere that blends form and function so you don’t just love being in your yard - you actually use it.
And at Michaelangelo’s, you can count on us for Alpharetta landscape design needs. We’re the most trusted service provider in the region - and when you take a look at some of the projects we’ve brought to life, you’ll see why! You can get in touch with us today to enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re getting a balanced landscape that will help you enjoy the space and create memories for years to come. But for now, here are some tips on creating balance in your landscape:
Create a Focal Point: A focal point is a central element that draws the eye and anchors the composition of your landscape. This could be a large tree, a water feature, or a sculpture. Or, maybe you have a pool - you can implement some of the modern swimming pool landscape design ideas we’ve written about to create balance. Once you have established your focal point, you can design the rest of your landscape to complement it.
Pay Attention to Negative Space: Negative space is the empty space in your composition, and it's just as important as the objects themselves. Avoid overcrowding your yard with too many objects or plants - remember, less is usually more with landscaping. Instead, leave some open space to create a sense of calm and balance.
Mix Up Your Materials: Incorporating a mix of materials, such as stone, wood, and plant materials, can add interest and texture to your landscape. However, be careful not to mix too many different styles or materials, as this can create a sense of visual clutter.
Consider Scale: When designing your landscape, consider the scale of each element. Make sure that larger elements, such as trees or large rocks, are balanced by smaller elements, such as ground covers or shrubs.
Color Matters, Too: Color can be a powerful tool in creating balance. Colors can have different visual weights, with warm colors like red and orange feeling heavier than cool colors like blue and green. To create balance, consider using complementary colors, such as blue and orange, or analogous colors, such as green and yellow, to create a cohesive color scheme.
Don’t Neglect Sightlines: Sightlines refer to the visual pathways that connect different elements in your landscape. When designing your landscape, consider how the eye will travel through the space and use this to guide the placement of plants and features.
Create Rhythm: Rhythm refers to the repetition of similar elements in a composition. By repeating similar shapes, colors, or textures throughout your landscape, you can create a sense of harmony and balance.
Think about the Seasons: Your landscape should look and feel balanced throughout the year, not just in one season. Consider how different plants and features will look in different seasons and plan accordingly.
Ultimately, providing advice on how to create balance in your landscape design is tricky because we’re unable to see your existing yard. The only way we’d be able to provide more detailed recommendations is by coming out and surveying your property - so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Wrapping Up Our Guide to Balance in Landscape Design
An unbalanced landscape creates a sense that something is off - but you can’t quite pinpoint where the disconnect is. On the other hand, a balanced landscape puts you at ease the moment you enter it - and you feel a sense of contentment and peace wash over you.
This is one of the many subtleties of landscape design - and why investing in professional help is always worth it. After all, your yard is a sanctuary in which you can escape and find peace - you want to get it right. Now that you know all about balance in landscape design, what’s next?
You can count on Michaelangelo’s to help you bring your dream yard to life. We also offer full servicing landscaping services to keep your yard looking stunning for years to come. Through our residential landscaping service or commercial landscaping service, you’ll never stress about your yard again - and it’ll look stunning year-round.
If you want to learn more about what landscape design is all about, explore our blog. You’ll find resources on topics like landscape design vs hardscaping, drought tolerant landscape design ideas, how to design landscape lighting layouts, how to design landscape beds, or how to avoid landscaping mistakes that date your home.
Otherwise, reach out today, and let’s work together to create a balanced landscape you’re proud to show off!