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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Basic Principles - Repetition

8 Basic Principles of Landscape Design - Part 8 of 8

This month we finish up our 8-part series!

If you have missed any of the previous 7 articles, they were:


This month we continue with:

Repetition - Principle 8 of 8

Repetition is directly related to unity, the very first design principle we looked at, so it is fitting we are ending with it.

The main difference is that unity is the way we use all the components of the landscape, plants, architectural elements, hardscapes, to achieve a consistent character or theme. All the parts have to fit. Everything selected has to compliment the central scheme of things and must have some purpose.

Repetition however is used within unity by using certain elements and forms in the garden but repeating these elements to give a certain expression to your design.

There's a fine line here. It's possible that too much of one element can make a garden or landscape feel uninteresting, boring and monotonous, while too many unrelated objects can make the garden look cluttered and unplanned.

To clarify, here are two examples:

1. Unity is obtained by repeating similar objects throughout the entire design:

A good example would be using the unity of color between the house and the landscape around it. The house has teal and blue, that the landscape draws upon and picks up. The house is also taller than wide, so vertical elements in the landscape pick up on this as well. That creates unity.

2. Repetition is obtained by repeating similar object or elements:

A good example would be using the same plants, like these red impatiens along a border. The plants are the same size and color, and are evenly spaced and repeat all down the line of the border. Your eye moves from one to the next very smoothly giving reassuring repetition.


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Use Edgings

Nothing finishes off a flower bed like low, long flowering edging plants.

Alyssum, lobelia, and dianthus are great for just this purpose.

For good continual flowering, also fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15.

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