Style is the presentation of design. Landscape design may assume all sorts of different styles but can be broadly categorized as either formal or informal. If you are looking to refresh or replace part of your landscaping, find the landscapes you like and examine them. Distinguishing among styles will help you determine what you like, what you don’t, and what you want. Patio restoration is often the best way to enhance the look of your yard’s landscaping. One style preference we see a lot of in our neighborhoods is a formal front yard with a less formal backyard.landscape refresh

Formal Landscape Design

Formal designs are visual cues to create a sense of expectation, much in the way that the site of a tuxedo might make you think of an elegant event. In landscape design, symmetry is one cue, and matched pairs are one way of establishing symmetry. Pairs

immediately add a formal touch. A pair of urns or plant frames, for example, will lend a stately air to your front steps. Two of the same items become an instantly recognizable unit, even if they are not placed side-by-side. Even-numbered groupings create this same effect. The pattern of expectation is regular, orderly, and settled. Geometric shapes like–clearly defined circles, squares, rectangles also establish formality in pairs or by themselves. Consider introducing these shapes in arches, paving patterns, fences, and bed designs to create formality in yourplan.

Informal Designs

Informal design strives for the unexpected and creates a casual yet balanced mood. Odd-numbered groupings–a cluster of three ornamental shrubs growing in a ground cover bed–keep the design dynamic. Consider adding triangles to your landscape design. Three trees planted at different points on an invisible triangle along a walkway provide canopies without the formality of even-numbered rows. This trick works for any odd-numbered plant groupings as well, and repetition of elements in informal design schemes need not follow a regular pattern. 

Complements, Contrasts, and Combinations

The architecture of a home often influences landscape style. An imposing federalist house with stately columns may be complemented by a formal landscape design. A quaint cottage may be the perfect setting for curving paths bordered by informally mixed plantings. However, the style of the house does not have to dictate what will happen in the landscape. A contrasting style in your landscaping will soften the dominant presence of the architecture. The type of landscape lighting you choose can lend itself to formality or a more casual style.

Can I Mix Formal and Informal Styles in My Landscape Refresh?

In most cases, we recommend taking either a formal or informal route in your landscaping. In the majority of cases, trying to mix the two in a landscape refresh will result in ambiguity, making your upgrades look like mistakes. This isn’t to say that formal and informal designs cannot contain their opposites and idiosyncrasies. A landscape wall, when properly planned, can bring formality to an outdoor party space. More than anything, mixed styles require planning. The trick to succeeding with any cross of styles is to know what look you’re going for. Study photographs of landscaping that appeals to you. Then you can apply the elements and principles of design in the style you find most appealing in your landscape refresh. 

Landscape Replacement

2020 is the ideal year to redesign your landscaping. Someday we’ll be able to have parties again, and now’s the time to get your yard looking its best. Trees take years to mature, and saplings don’t add visual appeal to the yard. However, it’s possible to get things growing and still plant for the future—for example, plant paper birches in front of beeches on a border. The bark of the birches will be immediately beautiful and provide the right companionship for the slower-growing beeches. You’ll have focal points for now and for the future. Contact Valley LSP today to get started on your landscape refresh or replacement by calling 410.983.6261.