There are three design elements to consider when creating a planting design: form, texture and color.

Each plant you choose encompasses these characteristics in different ways. Though you should consider all of these it is important to know that form is the most consistent, then texture and finally color. 

A good planting design should start with a strong composition of forms in elevation (standing in front and looking straight on). Trees, shrubs, and perennials all have forms. Below are only some examples of tree forms. Additional ones, not included below, are vase-shaped, weeping, and irregular. 

To design in elevation it's helpful to also be able to DRAW in elevation. I've included a video below to show my simple technique, so you can begin the joy of designing right away. 

A design hint: Take a photo of your house, throw on a piece of tracing paper, then try drawing some of these plant forms on top to see what combination might work for your landscape. Don't forget to layer them too (some tall plants in back, then medium and smaller plants in front).  Enjoy!

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Deborah Neese said...

I love to watch you do this...you inspire me. T hank you for working so hard to show us how to do this. Looking forward to the next one! You rock!

Lisa Orgler said...

Thanks Deborah! I'm so glad it's helpful!

Karen said...

I have recently discovered your blog and am enchanted! Just bought a new home with a blank slate of both front and back yards. Can't wait to get started and your ideas about design have me drooling. Just returned from the local art store and am ready to begin. Thank you so much! BTW, I am unable to download the ebook, since I already am a subscriber. Do you have any ideas? Thanks again.

Lisa Orgler said...

Hi Karen - I'm so excited for you! A new house and garden is always fun! Please email me directly at lisaorgler@gmail.com and I'll get you a copy of my ebook!

Anonymous said...

how you would draw palm trees in plan and elevation?

Lisa Orgler said...

That is a great question! Being from the Midwest, I typically don't draw palm trees, so don't have a lot of experience in that area. With that said I would suggest for the plan view, a simple circle (for any plant) or you can get more detailed and draw the large leaves (as simply as possible) from the center.

In elevation, try to draw it in the simplest way possible...a trunk with the large leaves connected to the top. You don't need a lot of detail, just a simple outline of the entire plant so one can see it's a palm.

I may have to do a simple graphic on this in the future!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Lisa! I'm from Uruguay and I are very common here palm trees. I am studying Landscape Design and find this page was great. Precious explanations, beautiful drawings. Sorry for my English. :)

Lisa Orgler said...

I'm so glad this has helped you! I'll be switching to my new site soon, so make sure to sign up for my email updates or visit www.lisaorgler.com.