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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | 8 Basic Principles - Transition

8 Basic Principles of Landscape Design - Part 3 of 8

The third part of our eight-part series on basic landscaping principles continues this month with:

NATURAL TRANSITION - Principle 3 of 8

Natural transition is very easy to achieve, and is used to avoid abrupt or radical changes in your landscape design.

This is another principle, that when used properly, can make your yard look professionally done because beginners tend to forget about overall continuity and can make the mistake of planting things in a haphazard manner.

Natural transition is just that, making sure gradual changes take place to ensure a smooth, even look to your yard or garden. This can best be demonstrated by taking a look at plant height or color but it can also be applied to all elements in the landscape including: textures, foliage shape or size, and the size and shape of different elements such as structures, statuary, or rocks.

The best way transition can be achieved is by the gradual, ascending or descending, arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes.

Some Examples:

Example 1. One easy way to use natural transition would be by creating a "step effect" by using large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants.

Proper plant selection in this case is necessary, but there are plenty of resources online, in bookstores, home improvement centers and nurseries to help you make correct choices.

Example 2. Transition can be used to "create illusions" in the landscape. We showed a good example of this in a past story: Create The Illusion of Distance. By using warm to cool colors we showed how you can make your garden area seem larger than it really is.

Example 3. Another good example of using natural transition is to use plants with larger leaves that have a heavier texture in the back and as you work your way forward start using smaller-leaved plants with a smoother texture.

By doing this you create a nice line because the heavier textured plants will frame and support the finer-textured plants which would otherwise be lost if they were mixed in with, or planted behind, heavier-looking plants.


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Planting Depth

As a general rule, most bulbs are planted at a depth that is equal to 3 times their diameter at their widest point.

Tulips like to be planted about 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep and 4-6 inches (10.2-15.2 cm) apart.

Always plant bulbs as soon as possible after purchase to prevent them from drying out.

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