Man might have felt the necessity of cool and shady place during summer and open and sunny situation during winter for taking rest after tiring jobs of hunting. These must have been situated near water bodies where hunting was also convenient. This gave a concept of selection of site for taking rest and hunting. Later on, planting of such sites with trees might have started at an early stage.
This was the beginning of landscape gardening. Frescoes of flowers of old times reveal the association of human with flowering plants which they used in making gardens and planting on roadsides. Man has been attracted by natural objects like water bodies, mountains, rocks, moon, stars, sun rise, sun set, colourful plants, animals, birds, fishes etc. He likes beauty and dislikes ugliness.
Landscape gardening is a very fascinating and interesting subject. It is an aesthetic branch of Horticulture which deals with planting of ornamental plants in such a way that it creates a picturesque effect. There are several definitions and expressions to define this subject. Landscape gardening can be defined as the decoration of a tract of land with plants and other garden materials so as to produce a picturesque and naturalistic effect in a limited space.
According to Chambers’ dictionary, the definition of landscape is the appearance of that portion of land which the eye can view at once and landscape gardening is the art of laying grounds so as to produce the effect of a picturesque landscape. So landscape may or may not include plants.
According to Bailey, landscape gardening is the application of garden forms, methods and materials for the improvement of the landscape and the landscape in this connection is any area large or small on which it is desirable to develop a view or design.
Landscape gardening can also be defined as the beautification of a tract of land having a house or other object of interest on it. It is done with a view to create a natural scene by the planting of lawn, trees and shrubs. Further, landscape gardening is both an art and science of the establishment of a ground in such a way that it gives an effect of a natural landscape. Another simple definition can be “Landscape gardening is the imitation of nature in the garden”.
It can also be defined as “improving of total living environment for the people”. In light of all the foregoing definition landscape gardening can be defined more appropriately as making a garden or to tame an area which shall be landscape or picture. The expression of landscape may be gay, bold, retired, quiet, etc. This expression will conform to the place and the purpose. It should be a picture and not a collection of interesting objects.
Since the landscape gardening is the making pictures on the ground with plant and other material, landscape designer should be proficient in art, ornamental gardening, ecology and physiology. He should be an architect and engineer to appreciate the relationship between plant form, colours and buildings.
Natural Elements of Landscape:
We live on a vast planet which is characterized by different types of landscape depending upon prevailing geographical and agroclimatic conditions. There are mountains, hills, glens, valleys, seas, rivers, forests, plains, deserts, lakes, swamps, streams, etc. which comprise major part of natural landscape.
At certain points, there is harmony between natural elements like ground forms, vegetation and even animal life. The landscape of such place is beautiful and conveys the feeling or mood of the landscape character like exhilaration, sadness, eeriness or awe.
There are many qualities of natural landscape beauty like the picturesque; the ethereal, the serene, the delicate, the idyllic, the graceful, the majestic, the bold, etc. Man has copied the natural elements for improving landscape around him and converted certain areas in the form of garden for his pleasure.
Principles of Landscaping:
It is very difficult to lay down principles of landscaping, applicable everywhere.
However, general principles of landscaping are as follows:
(i) The ideal landscape garden is like ideal landscape painting which expresses some single thought or feelings. Its expression may be gay, bold, retired, quiet, etc.
(ii) Beauty and utility should be harmoniously combined.
(iii) Area should be divided into different parts and plan should be conceived for each area. Overall plan should be such that the observer catches the entire effect and purpose of the plan without stopping to analyze its parts.
(iv) Let the garden and building merge into each other. There should not be stopping abruptly particularly in front of building. The view of garden from the windows and doors should be very attractive. Planting around the building, climbers against wall and on the porch, decoration of verandah and rooms with attractive foliage, flowering plants, hanging baskets serve to unique the building with garden. Every part of the compound should be planned in such a way that it gives surprising effect to visitor.
(v) Simplicity of design should be aimed at which helps in the execution of the plan.
(vi) An ideal landscape should have open space.
(vii) Over crowding of plants and object should be avoided.
Factors Affecting the Landscape Design:
There are several factors which affect the making of suitable design for particular site.
These factors are:
Man’s ultimate desire is to make his living pleasurable and surroundings comfortable. His dominance in making designs and selection of plant material is very well evident. Therefore, different styles of gardening have come into existence.
This is an important factor and according to site, suitable design is made. In formal style gardening, the site is selected according to plan. Topography of the site also affects the design.
Distant views of mountains, hills, woods, valley, etc. are preferred from the place of garden.
One inherits the knowledge of botany and aesthetic sense and uses accordingly. Our rich heritage teaches us to use flowers and fragrant trees to improve the surroundings.
The climate of particular place affects the selection of plant material accordingly. Ideally suited plant material according to climate should be selected.
According to characteristics of soil types, suitable plants should be selected.
Styles of Gardening:
Man’s eternal desire is to make his living like that of paradise. This imaginary paradise has been created on the earth in the form of gardens. Therefore, the style of gardening has been influenced by political and geographical conditions. These styles have been changed from time to time with the new ideas and necessities.
Broadly, the styles of gardening are grouped into three categories, i.e:
(i) Formal style,
(ii) Informal style and
(iii) Free style of gardening.
Main features of this style of gardening are: First plan is made on the paper and then land is selected accordingly. Plan is symmetrical. These types of gardens are of geometric design i.e. squarish or rectangular. Therefore, the roads are cut at right angle. It has some sort of enclosure. Flower beds are also of geometric shapes.
The arrangements of tree and shrubs are necessarily geometrical and kept in shape by trimming and training. Other features like fountains, water pools, cascades, etc. are used for further attraction. The examples of such style of gardening are Persian gardens and Mogul gardens.
This style reflects naturalistic effect of total view and represents natural beauty. This style is just contrast of above formal style. In this, plans are asymmetrical and according to the land available for making garden. Roads, paths are made curvaceous and bending. Water bodies are made of irregular shapes.
Hillocks are made to create natural mountainous scenery. Flower beds are made of irregular shapes suiting to surroundings. Plants are allowed to grow in natural form and instead of trimming, annual pruning is done. Japanese gardens are the best example of this style of gardening.
Free Style of Gardening:
This style combines the good points of both formal and informal style of gardening. Rose garden of Ludhiana is an example of this style of gardening.
Landscaping is making of pictures with plant material and, hence, its principles are same as those of art. Therefore, the understanding of such principles will help in using them properly. They are as follows:
Repetition of same object at equidistance is called rhythm. It can be created through the shapes, progression of sizes or a continuous line movement. Rhythm creates movement to the eye. In gardens, generally trees of single species of equal height and shape are planted to create this effect. In Mogul gardens, fountains and water canals have also been extensively used to create such effect. Now-a-days other objects like lights are also used to create the effect of rhythm.
It is very important to maintain the balance on both sides of the central line. The principle involved in making balance of see-saw game can help in understanding this. Equal weights can be balanced only when they are equidistant from the center.
If weights are unequal, the heavier must move towards center for making balance. The balance may be formal, informal or symmetrical types. Imbalance will look lopsided and will distract the attention. In making the balance with the plants, their form, colour, texture etc. are kept in view.
One side planted with trees will not make balance if other side is planted with shrubs or climbers. Similarly, one side planted with tall upright trees will not make balance with other side if planted with dwarf or weeping trees. Making balance with colour is difficult un-till and unless used properly. Red, orange and yellow colours are grouped into heavy and warm colours.
On the contrast, white, green and blue colours are light and cool colours. Deeper shade is heavier than its lighter counterpart. Proper balance by selecting appropriate colours should be done to create the desired effect. Texture of leaves may be rough, coarse, fine or smooth, so proper balance is achieved between different types of texture. The consideration of bark colour and patterns should also be kept in mind to make the balance.
Accent or Emphasis:
The accent or emphasis is created in the gardens to avoid the monotonous view. It is the method to stress the most important thing. This also serves as the center of attraction. Landscape designer should know what to emphasise, where to emphasise, how to emphasise and how much to emphasise. Mostly unusual objects like tall fountain, tree, statue, etc. are used to create the effect of accent or emphasis. In English gardens, statues have been used extensively to create such effects.
This principle is most useful in emphasizing the best features of an object. It can be very easily understood by following contrast colour theory. Against green background, a fleck of scarlet colour, will make a contrast and will make scarlet colour prominent. In nature this is very common. Other contrast colour can also be used.
Similarly, weeping growth habit against upright growth; dwarf against tall; rough texture against soft texture etc. is some of the examples which can be followed. It is also very important that one of the two contrasting objects must clearly dominate each other. In this way, one becomes feature whereas other acts as supporting background. The contrasting elements of equal power may create visual tensions.
It is the relation of one thing to another in magnitude. When two or more objects are put together the proportions are established. In a landscape design, space provided for lawn, paths, herbaceous borders, shrubbery border, trees, buildings and other garden objects should be in a right proportion.
It will create harmonious effect and look better. Such effects can be noticed in Persian and Mogul gardens. Out of proportion allotment of area in garden will distract the attention. Proportion helps in space organisation.
It is an overall effect of various features, styles, and colour schemes of the total scene. The degree of harmony or unity of various elements of landscape is a measure induced in us and is called as beauty. Therefore, the beauty can be defined as the evident relationship of all parts of a thing observed.
When different parts of landscape are correctly placed in right way, produces a harmonious effect. Such landscapes create picturesque effect and appeals to visitors. On the contrary, the absence of harmony or lack of unity is ugliness.