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Landscape Design Tip - Scale in the Landscape

What do we mean by scale? It’s something that is difficult to define and has no rules set in stone. What may be perceived as appropriate for one site/space, might be seen as totally unsuitable for another similar site/space. Often, the success of a design can rest on getting this principal right.

To simplify scale with regards to landscape design, it could be said there are two aspects to it:

1. Relative scale being the relationship of one component of a design to another, and;

2. Absolute scale being the relationship of these components to a person within the landscape or to the dwelling (if the context is a residential landscape project).

An example of this could be just a simple garden path. The width of the path could be determined by both a pedestrian strolling along it and by the size of the space through which it travels.

Another example could be a garden ornament or sculpture. Quite often, the item in question is just too small for its designated place. It then becomes lost within the wider landscape. It’s there for a reason, to be noticed, to draw one’s eye to the object. Try to avoid it being regarded as “pokey”!

It could be argued that as a general rule, when in doubt, go larger. A meagre dimension sticks out and is more easily detected by one’s eye, compared to that which is too generous.

A simple set of sculptural stools are in scale with their immediate surrounds.

The tall planters at the far end are of appropriate scale compared to the timber screen behind as well as the dining space on which they stand. The individual plants within are of appropriate scale to the planters.

The bespoke timber bench seat is in scale with its immediate surrounds i.e. the timber deck on which it sits. The deck is of an appropriate scale to the pool, as is the pool an appropriate scale to the wider landscape.

If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Written by Rory Graham, Landscape Designer


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