Symmetry in Landscapingby Jasey Kelly
Planning your landscape can be an exciting time, although it doesn't come without its problems. It's not as simple as choosing the plants you like, but has more to do with choosing plants you like that complement your other plants, the size and shape of your home and any other features of your property. Symmetrical landscaping is one type of landscape design that can help you strike a balance in overall appearance as well as a balance in what you want and what works well.
The key to any landscape design is balance. A symmetrical landscape equally divides all features such as specific plants, color, size and placement. Because this type of landscape is so highly structured, it is easier to design than an asymmetrical landscape. Most formal gardens are symmetrical. The symmetrical landscape can evoke a feeling of order and stability.
Differences in Symmetrical Design
At its core, symmetry means having identical images on both sides, a mirror effect. This is the basic definition, even in landscaping. You can choose the plants, but they must each be the same size and shape as the plant in the corresponding place of the other.
Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Design
Asymmetrical landscapes can be as appealing as symmetrical landscapes. Instead of the symmetrical landscape design's formal look that brings about a feeling or stability, they have a natural look and a relaxed feel. Because this type of design allows more creative freedom in designing, it can be more difficult to plan an asymmetrical landscape that has the unity it needs to be pleasing to the eye. In some landscapes, this unity is achieved by having areas that share a common feature, even though other elements of the spaces may be very different from another. Some designers just have a good eye for artistic balance.
Symmetrical design is strict and forceful. As such, it's easy to overdo. Symmetrical foundation plantings often work so well because they formally introduce the home. If your home is asymmetrical, however, too large of a symmetrical design can distract from your home's architectural lines. Symmetrical design works best on traditional and formal homes, such as those with a square or rectangular shape with the front door in the middle and the front windows spaced equally apart.
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