Have you ever walked into an outdoor space, garden, or park and instantly felt a smile of delight emerge upon your face? At BauerCombs Landscape Architecture, we call that 'finding balance.'
Working with nature, rather than against it, helps create balance and more enjoyment in outdoor spaces. This philosophy, blended with our proven design principles, is the backbone of every project. Below, we have outlined our fundamental design principles and sensory design elements to introduce you to our landscape design thought process.
Simplicity - The definition of simplicity is the state of being simple, uncomplicated, and natural. A simple landscape is defined as being well-balanced, clean, neat, and having room to breathe.
Balance & Rhythm - Each design element that is added into the landscape creates a visual weight. Features are balanced depending on shape, size, form, and visual interest. A balanced design will create a comfortable rhythm that guides you through the landscape.
Focal Point - A focal point helps guide the viewer's eye to the desired location. This strategy is used to help unveil the outdoor space in segments rather than all at once. Focal points are also used to create a mood or ambiance dependent on the client's personality and style preferences. It only takes a moment to deliver that first impression!
Connectivity - Outdoor connectivity is where all design elements work together to form a seamless link. Connectivity is often achieved by integrating paths, materials, color, textures, and design rhythm.
Sensory Design Elements
After the bones of the design are developed, our sensory design elements are weaved into the designs. Our signature sensory design method awakes the senses with the artistic blending of color, sound, scent, touch, and taste.
Setting the Mood with Color
Red = excitement. Red is a dramatic color that helps to increase excitement and interest. If you are feeling tired and lethargic, a short time looking at red is a good solution to increase enthusiasm.
Orange = energy. Orange is a dynamic color that creates a sudden burst of energy and stimulation. But beware…orange may also trigger a person to feel agitated. It seems that people either enjoy orange or they do not.
Yellow = cheerful and optimistic. Yellow is a cheerful, happy color that helps to brighten your day. Yellow is an excellent color to incorporate in areas of frequent cloud cover.
Yellow is often the favorite color of children.
Green = refreshing and cool. Green is in the center of the color spectrum and creates a feeling of peace and harmony. Green produces a calm, soothing ambiance and helps us feel rejuvenated.
Blue = calm and peaceful. Blue helps to create a relaxing mood. Studies have shown that blue helps to reduce blood pressure and slows breathing. Blue is often used to create a tranquil environment for relaxation and reflection.
Purple = motivating and healing. Because purple is a combination of red and blue, it has attributes of excitement and peacefulness at the same time. I believe purple is the ultimate color for healing and inspiration.
Sound - Sound is often overlooked or goes unnoticed in landscape design. There is a broad range of sounds that naturally occur in nature, such as wind, rain, birds, bees, babbling brooks, and much more. However, enjoying the natural sounds of nature is not always a given. There is a good chance that man-made sounds may override the natural sounds in some urban areas. A few ways to integrate sound are adding plants that attract songbirds, incorporating water features, or planting ornamental grasses that swish in the wind.
Scent - Incorporating fragrant plants can create both a relaxing and engaging outdoor experience. Scent and fragrances are closely linked to our memories and can positively awaken our senses. A well-designed garden produces flowers and scents in progression throughout the year. Favorites are hyacinths, viburnum, lilac, lavender, mint, lemon balm, and winter daphne. It is best to stagger the timing of fragrances so they do not compete with one another.
Touch & Taste
When you were a child, you most likely heard the phrase "don't touch that!" Beyond curiosity, I'm unsure what gives us the uncontrollable urge to touch and feel, but touch can add a rich dimension to your landscape and garden. You can add texture and touch to the landscape through the use of plants, artwork, pebbles, large boulders, smooth glass, metal, sculptures, and more.
Planning ahead to incorporate edible plants into your landscape takes a bit of effort, but the outcome is delicious! Many homeowners grow their edibles in tidy rows.
However, for something different, try intermixing savory herbs, berries, and vegetables in raised planting beds along pathways and outdoor dining areas. There is nothing more satisfying than harvesting your home-grown edibles!
Putting it all together
In addition to creating balance for outdoor landscapes, you can also find balance on a nature trail, beach, or national park. Either way, to find your balance, look around, inhale and enjoy the nature that surrounds you.
About BauerCombs & Associates, Inc.
BauerCombs is an award-winning landscape architecture firm specializing in sensory design and site planning for the greater Puget Sound, Bellevue, and Eastside areas. Our signature sensory design method create captivating landscapes that bring life to outdoor spaces through the artistic balance of color and patterns, scent, touch, taste, and sound. Our work has been published in several magazines and continues to grow in reputation for creating healthy outdoor environments for people and communities.
Author: Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect, Copyright © 2022 BauerCombs & Associates, Inc. www.bauercombs.com
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Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect www.bauercombs.com
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