Teach Your Landscape Rhythm

Teach Your Landscape Rhythm

According to Marjorie Elliot Bevlin, writer of Design through Discovery: The Elements of Style (my college design textbook in the 1980s), there are six components of layout and seven fundamentals of layout. Though these design principles are universal, I find I return to Bevlin’s basic explanations again and again. They’re particularly useful as I seek to understand what is considered good design and why it resonates with me personally.

So for the next few weeks, I’m likely to utilize the many amazing landscape design projects on to research each of the design principles and components. This series will present one subject at a time and showcase the many ways each is now an iconic theme in the landscape.

First up: Rhythm, a principle

Webster’s defines “rhythm” as “the patterned, recurring alterations of contrasting components” The energetic of rhythm makes a visual flow. As a beat is to music, as choreography is to dance, rhythm adds energy into a garden. In landscape design, rhythm makes a physical sensation. It may cause people to move fast, to slow down or perhaps to pause before continuing again.

By repetition of such as forms or evenly spaced points of emphasis, a rhythmic design could be expressed naturally or literally. Here are a few cool ways to infuse your landscape using a dynamic rhythm.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Repetition in crops of comparable kinds — all circles and mounds — generates a gorgeous rhythm within an entry garden. Color blocking can also be used as a cool layout apparatus to draw somebody out of your concrete patio toward the stepping-stone path. First there’s a section of blue, in the form of fescue grasses, then there’s a band of green-gold boxwood (right) represented by a gold succulent band (left). And lastly, a row of taller decorative grasses in green lures you farther into this garden.

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

A succession of plants and architecture is visually pleasing to the eyes, which read it as a blueprint. Here, a maroon, spiky Cordyline plant is aligned using a fence section at a rhythmic repetition that seems balanced and contemporary. Place them together to get a totally attractive setup. The silvery-blue floor cover is called Senecio vitalis, a succulent.

Begin with a very simple trio of square, tall planters. Install three clipped boxwood balls. Line them up from a screen or wall and voilĂ ! You have generated visual rhythm in a single vignette.

Exteriors From Chad Robert

In the 1977 publication A Design Language, authors Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein and many others describe over 250 “patterns” as alternatives to design problems. The patterns follow layout principles but can also be deeply rooted in nature and history, which explains why they resonate with us.

Pattern number 247, “paving with cracks between the stones” addresses the good sense of walking out of stone to stone. Here is a modern interpretation utilizing precast square and rectangular stepping stones at a gravel garden. I love the rhythm it generates.

Rossington Architecture

This easy checkerboard theme is strongly rhythmic. The square concrete pavers read as a grid, as a result of the green grass seeded between every square. Furthermore, this is a far cooler, permeable solution to get a poolside patio than in case concrete alone had been used.

Ron Herman Landscape Architect

Thoroughly random looking, there’s intention within this mixed-media layout. Stone pavers slice through square pads of turf and similar-size squares of smooth slate stones. The overall layout is exciting and very arresting for its rhythm and textural interest.

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

Long bands of concrete that alternate with gravel type the ground of this entry garden. There’s a lot of lively energy within this area, as replicating bands of different textures (smooth concrete and fine-grade gravel) invoke the idea of rhythm.

Ana Williamson Architect

Repeating bands look in this entrance garden at a slightly different way. The long, horizontal pathway increases a rhythmic vibe because every piece staggers to the left or right of center. Visually, this is exciting to view and to traverse. Ground covers planted between every band help to soften the otherwise crude installation.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Here’s another way rhythm plays long, staggered bands. I love the different-colored concrete, which range from light to dark and in between. The gravel is a fourth color, contrasting with all the concrete and suggesting negative space inside this patio. The concrete bands seem to be shifting — is it an optical illusion?

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

This beautiful spiral, rendered in flagstone, appears to vibrate with its own energy. The stones form a rhythmic motion as the spiral narrows, turns on itself and terminates in a center firepit. Where most of the spaces between the stones have been planted with soft, woolly thyme, note the contrasting crushed stone used in merely a single band to further emphaisze the powerful spiral line within this layout.

Daryl Toby – AguaFina Gardens International

Circles emanate out of a mound of rocks symbolizing mountains at a calm Zen garden. The gravel has been hand-raked to suggest the ripples on the surface of water brought on by a dropped stone. The curved lines contain other raked lines, parallel ones which have still another sense of energy. Add the play of shadow and light and this instant in the landscape is eternally powerful.

Summerour Architects

The repetitive arches at a classic Spanish-style setting feel both timeless and modern. They suggest windows through which you may peer to the distant, wilder landscape.

Beertje Vonk Artist

A pebble “area rug” generates a pleasing rhythm all its own. It’s a flowing sensation of water, including a kinetic disposition to this patio.

WA Design Architects

Rounded and mounded forms appear and replicate themselves throughout this dreamy meadow — a rhythmic planting scheme that’s memorable and alluring. Santolina in colors of green and silver covers the earth, while purple alliums replicate that globe shape on taller stems. The distant wands of dark purple lavender echo the alliums, including depth.

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