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Landscaping Designs: The Principles of Unity and Repetition

Landscaping Harrisburg PA is a design process that begins with mapping out the area you wish to landscape. Then you can decide how to use the space based on your needs and desires.


The first landscape principle is unity. This means that all the separate parts of the garden work together to create a cohesive whole. The color theme, plant varieties, curved or straight lines, and other features help achieve this.

Unity in landscape design refers to the way different parts of your garden work together to create a whole. It is achieved through consistency and repetition. Repetition can be found in plant groups, color, textures, and even hardscape features like paths. This principle is important to understand when creating your own landscape. It is best to start by studying other landscapes that appeal to you and seeing how the principles of design were applied to make them appealing.

Another common landscaping principle is “transition,” which refers to the way one part of the design melds into the next. For example, transition can be seen in the transition of colors or the change in shape from a tree to a trellis. Transition can also be created in the layout of your space by establishing a focal point and making sure that other elements work around it.

Line is another important landscape design principle and is used to create form, structure, and direction in a garden. It can be created horizontally by bed arrangement, the use of different heights in plant canopies, and the placement of hardscape elements. It can also be created vertically through the use of retaining walls, fences, steps, and other features. A line is most often used as a guideline for the placement of plants and hardscape materials in a garden.

Balance is another important landscape design principle that refers to the equality of visual attraction. There are two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical balance is the more traditional style of balance and can be achieved through the use of similar shapes, forms, and sizes of plants. Asymmetrical balance is more difficult to achieve but can be achieved through varying the size of plants, the use of textures, and the inclusion of different forms.


Many landscape designs are overly complex, with an overwhelming number of colors, shapes, and curves. While variety adds interest, it also leads to confusion and a lack of unity. Using a limited number of species, colors, textures, or forms is the key to achieving unity. Repetition can be used to create familiar patterns or sequences but should not be overused.

Color is one of the most important aspects of a landscape’s design and is affected by time of day, season, soil type, and light intensity. A brighter summer sun will make colors appear more saturated and intense, while filtered light in the winter will cause them to be more subdued. Color should be used to highlight more enduring elements such as form and texture.

The scale of a design element is another crucial aspect to consider. A large water feature can overwhelm a small garden, while a low garden wall or fence can delineate a space. Scale is also influenced by the size of surrounding buildings, structures, or features, such as a house.

The idea of dividing a yard into different functional spaces is an important component in landscape design and is often referred to as “creating outdoor rooms.” Spatially dividing a space allows for more efficient use of the land and aesthetically creates balance and harmony within the landscape.


If unity is the yin of landscape design, variety is its yang. You want to provide a balance of different textures, shapes, and colors throughout the landscape, especially in your hardscape elements (such as driveways, walkways, and patios). Long hedges of the same kind of plant can be monotonous, so use them sparingly in the landscape.

Lines in a landscape create rhythm and emphasize features in the garden. Vertical lines move the eye up and can make a space feel larger, while horizontal lines draw the eyes across the ground plane and create a feeling of movement. Lines also define spaces and can evoke emotion in the viewer.

Color is another essential component of landscape design. Using different tints (lighter shades) of the same hue can create a monochromatic color scheme that relies on form and texture to add interest. A color theme can be carried throughout the entire landscape by repeating it in various plant groupings and in hardscape elements such as fences, benches, and lighting fixtures.

Form is the overall shape of a plant or landscape feature. It can complement or contrast with the style of the home. For example, a naturalistic approach can complement wooded lots and rustic homes with plants such as azaleas, dogwoods, oaks, and crapemyrtles. Or, a more formal landscape can complement Spanish, Colonial, or Victorian architecture by using yuccas, junipers, and boxwoods in groups and in more symmetrical patterns.

Texture is a key visual element that adds depth to a landscape. A fine texture makes a space appear larger, while coarse textures tend to shrink the space. Texture also affects the perception of scale, so be careful not to overdo it.


The principles of balance, unity, order, and repetition are used by professional landscape designers to create aesthetically pleasing and harmonious outdoor spaces. This is achieved by creating a theme that represents your personality and lifestyle and then designing your landscaping around it.

A great way to add balance to your design is by using lines. Lines can create movement and emphasize different elements of the landscape. They can also create a sense of space and depth. The best way to use lines in your design is by alternating them between smooth and angular. You can also vary the thickness and color of lines to create a different look.

Proportion is another important element of landscape design. It’s important to think about the size of the plants and other components in your landscape design. This can be done by comparing them to the human scale, which refers to the size of objects in relation to the human body. For example, you might want to include a large water feature in your design to balance out a small garden or a tall tree to provide contrast with a short house.

The next principle of balance is proportion. This is the size of an object in relation to other objects. This can be accomplished by varying the height and width of different objects. For example, you might want to include low shrubs near a tall tree to create contrast and balance. Proportion can also be used in the scale of your home, yard, and other features.

The final principle of balance is harmony. This can be achieved by coordinating colors, textures, and forms in your design. You can also create balance by varying the shapes of your plants and using transitions to make them blend together. For example, you might want to include grasses and ferns in your design, along with a few larger trees.


One of the most important elements of landscape design is rhythm, which is created by a variety of features such as plant groupings, lines, forms, and transitions in size, color, texture, and visual weight. This is what draws you into and around a garden.

Line is used to create patterns and develop spaces in the landscape, and it can also establish dominance and a sense of movement. It can be found in the shape of planting beds, sidewalks, and where turf meets pavement, and is a critical element of landscape composition. Form is the shape of objects and how they are grouped together, such as in a formal knot garden or an informal massing of plants of the same type. Form may also refer to a change in the landscape’s scale through the use of plant materials or a change in direction from natural to man-made elements such as steps, walls, or walkways.

Repetition is the repetition of design elements or specific features within a landscape, but it must be done with care as too much can cause monotony and confusion. Simple repetition can be achieved by using the same plant repeatedly, such as in a grass garden. Gradation is a more subtle form of repetition that is created by using plants of similar height or size in a gradual succession, such as from small to medium to large grasses.

The principles of landscape design—proportion, order, repetition, and unity—are guidelines that professionals use to help them plan attractive, pleasing, and functional landscapes for homes, golf courses, parks, business campuses, and other public spaces. Learning how to apply these basic principles to your own yard can be a fun and rewarding way to create a unique and beautiful space.