Everybody wants to build a beautiful garden. But what makes a beautiful garden? We can take our lessons from photography – by ‘centering’ your picture/garden around a subject.
A subject is a center of interest in the picture/garden which forms a visual focal point and is where everything else is discovered in relation to this center of interest.
Get an Exotic Plant
What should your subject in your beautiful garden be? Many gardens have a fountain, water feature, or an open sitting area as a subject. Our suggestion is to get an exotic plant that is architecturally beautiful as your subject. Why? Because a garden is supposed to be natural and an exotic plant is
nature’s best beauty displayed!
Contrast the Background
Now that we have identified a subject, we can now highlight the subject through various means. One of the methods used in photography is to contrast the background with the subject. In the case of landscaping, you can use plain hedges, a plain wall or an open space as a contrast to the plant.
Contrast the Color
Color palette is another way to bring contrast to the plant. For example, the Black Boy or Grass Tree or Xanthorrhoea Australis is a plant with black fibrous trunk and a mop of green grass looking like hair at the top of these trunks and branches. To contrast the Black Boy, simply surround the plant with plants that lighter color tones like light green, yellow and white. This would bring out the black color even more.
Contrast the Height
Height brings about a certain perception of 3 dimensions and depth to the garden landscape. By surrounding the subject with plants or objects that are about one third it’s height, you could create that contrast and focal point for the subject. If the subject is small, you can also consider putting the subject on a pedestal to increase its height. You could also just use an open space to create this contrast.
Lighting is a great way to highlight your subject. This of course is done mostly at night. A typical method is to have up lights shining onto the plant to give it a ‘glowing’ effect, highlighting the plant but using the light as the background. The shadows created from the lighting further enhances the plant and the mood of the surroundings.
Framing the Subject
In photography, the borders of the picture is the frame. Framing draws the attention of the person to the content within the frame. Sometimes photographers use a frame within a frame to highlight their subject in the photo. They use a window, branches, architecture and other objects to frame their subject. In garden landscaping, we are dealing with a three dimensional landscape and it is slightly more challenging as there is no fixed point of reference where you could create a frame. However, you could use certain key lookout points as a position where you would do some framing.
Some ways to frame the subject is to use borders of rock or plants around the subject. Or to build a trellis at the entrance of your garden that is peering at your subject. Pillars can also be used to frame your subject.
We hope we have given you some ideas on how to design your garden landscaping project, learning from the principles of photography. Happy gardening!