What Knowledge Does A Landscaper Apply? Part 1

As Landscape designers we apply a number of key principles that allows us to come up with a concept and design that meets the Customers requirements and budget for example:

Landscape Style: Landscape style is something that has come a long way and can be:


Formal Structure

Formal Theme

Very symmetrical design where all elements are repeated and balanced to create the formality. Formal as a style does not have to have all the clipped hedges as long as the balance in the design is a symmetrical balance.Notice in this picture how the formal is balanced with informal for the boundary planting.

Focal points and different rooms in the garden is key elements of this design and I would say control and neatness would be key personality traits of the garden owner.

I personally like this style and have applied it many times with great success. One thing to consider however is that these gardens do not happen overnight and patience is required with belief in the vision that the Landscape Designer has for the end picture.

As a final note: If the property is big it is a good idea to start formal around the house and then let the design become more informal the further you move away from the house.


Formal with Informal:

This is often the most practical and for me the prettiest formal. The texture change that is achieved through the use of formal hedges or in this case clipped trees and the informal feel of the planting in between is what makes this style very attractive.

Again symmetry is the main driver of the pattern for the designer.

This style almost start leaning towards a country feel and again the two can be combined successfully on bigger sites.

I would like to mention something about Positive and Negative space at this stage:

Positive would be all the bed plants that you see in this picture and Negative would be the gravel paths and Lawns. It is fundamental that the one does not overpower the other hence the fact that we more often than not reduce the amount of Lawn in most gardens.

In this picture a nice balance is achieved.



Country Style

This style is relaxed with drifts of plants creating a meadow feel.

This is the fairy tale story of garden styles and one gets the feeling that Alice can be walking around here.

The country garden still needs to be planned very carefully and seasonal changes should be incorporated in the plant selection to ensure that year round interest is achieved.

In the highveld where we have cold winters grasslands are very prominent. One can achieve a country feel using our Indigenous grasses with other Indigenous plants in between to great affect in Johannesburg.

The path in this picture tells us something about this style. We most often use Bark Chips on these paths to create the same affect. The path can also just be left natural since the birds will love this.


Naturalistic Style:

Naturalistic Landscape

Normally seen on big properties where the scale allows for vast expanses of Informal planting. This style is informal and from a design perspective is normally a adaptation of the current landscape. In other words small alterations normally achieves the desired affect and the landscape on a whole is left unaltered. We apply ecological principles to these gardens and will only introduce plants that fits into the biozone of the area.


Mediterranean, Tropical and Oriental:



The Pictures are self explanatory. What is important about these styles is that they originated in climates and areas where they existed easily and the impact on the environment was minimal due to availability of materials.

Mediterranean Style

Mediterranean Style

The lesson here is that we should not attempt to force fit something into a Climate where the effort outweighs the reward.

Oriental Style

Oriental Style

This said there are many plants and micro climates in Johannesburg that will support these styles and give an authentic feel to the design.