Homes and Gardens Need Visual Balance

A landscape design should appear visually balanced. We aren’t going to actually weigh them, right? So what is balance?

If you are standing at the road or edge of the property, what would you consider the center of your home and garden? Picture your landscape and home sitting on a balance beam. The idea is that each side visually “weighs” the same.

Making this task even more difficult is that there are two kinds of balance. One is much easier to figure out than the other. Balance can be symmetrical – the same plants, house structure, and hardscapes on either side of the center axis. When it comes to formal landscape design, symmetrical landscapes are often the norm. So clearly, the other side of that coin is that balance is asymmetrical – the landscape features are different, but still appear to “weigh” the same. For example, a giant tree on one side of the yard means the other side will need enough trees and shrubs to appear to take up the same volume.

Obviously these tasks are complicated, and get more complicated the greater the number of plants or larger the home. But it must be done. Breaking it down into simple abstract forms can make it easier.

You also have to consider texture when it comes to your landscape and homes balance. Rock, stone, or brick will appear heavier than wood and plant materials. More coarsely textured plants (boxwoods or yews) will appear heavier than tulips.

Finally, be sure to note that the central point may not always be the center. It could be the front door and front sidewalk – even if they are set off to the side. Which means visual weights may have to be put out farther to the other side to keep it looking balanced. Landscapes that aren’t balanced call attention to the denser side. Eyes are going to settle on the heavier side.

Good landscaping is more about thought and planning than anything else. You have to think through the process in order to get a better finished product. Doing so will almost always save time and money. March on down to the curb and see if you can find balance in your landscape.