Landscape Influences

Landscapes Today

Landscape Influences
Landscape Trends  that continue  to have influence and defines our sense of place.

Today, luxury comfort and functionality are  essential for today’s lifestyle.  More lavish surroundings and line exterior and interior spaces and are integrated and used in conjunction with one another  support a variety of functions.  Elemental details such as patios,with kitchenettes, entertaining area configured as living rooms, fireplaces, pools and water features continue to be incorporated into todays landscapes.  Technology continues to improve such things as exterior fabrics that stand up to the elements and still provide comfort and style.

“Eco Chic”

We want luxury but in today’s society there is a greater awareness for the environment and its all about “going green”  Stylish surroundings with environmental computability and a sustainable landscape.  Incorporating infrastructure in a manner that is conducive to site and lifestyle.  More natural surroundings attract birds, butterflies and connect us with the environment.  At the same time we can obtain the elements that support our lifestyle.  Today we are concerned with our carbon foot print which has profound effect on how we design, construct and manage our landscapes.Greater emphasis is on local and recycled materials.  Today many municipality’s have adopted a pesticide free mandate eliminating many traditional tools used to manage pests.  We are moving towards new legislation pertaining to use of fertilizers.  This again reflects how are society is changing.  I have tried in the past to convince local politicians that we should be proactive reducing the use of turf for easements adjacent to private property and create more environmental friendly landscapes.  Adapting a creative approach to conventional ideas can result in reduced resources needed to create functional landscapes. This meadow adds texture and is a novel adaptation of the conventional lawn which uses a tremendous amount of resources to maintain.  I love the whimsy and movement created.

“Water Management”

Water is a precious resource and will continue to be subject to conservation and be restricted for irrigation in the future.  As a result native plantings, xeriscaping, ecological based designs, water capture, Bio Swales and rain gardens will gain popularity.


Bio Swale for water management and drainage is an essential component of the site development in order to optimism a well functioning landscape.

Xeriscaping can reduce water consumption

Before entering into the conceptual aspect of a design, I need to know how the site is functioning in regards to hydrology.  Aspect, soils, slope, position and surrounding topography all influence local site conditions and hydrology.  These factors and others are key to the development of a sustainable landscape.  It is also important to recognize how a site functions at different seasons and during storm events.  Ground water and surface flow are very important factors in determining how a site is developed and must be taken into when design concepts are considered.  Terracing can be used to rate of flow of water and help reduce erosion and increase absorption.



The more I travel the greater appreciation I have for classical design.  In many of the classical styles the unification of elements and repeated use of materials results is very powerful landscapes.  I feel that a simplified palette continues to  be an emerging trend.   I continue to use classical design principles and apply them to todays contemporary ideals.  Simplified palettes for are very powerful and translate well.  There is little distraction in a “managed wilderness”   Show Discipline and restrain within a design.  Develop a concept and maintain a style.

 “Rain Gardens”

Rain Gardens may include simple receiving and collecting areas or depressions where reserves can be stored to be used at a later time. Ponds are in fashion once again.  Complicated infrastructure and cisterns may be incorporated for maintaining a reservoir levels and aid in distribution of the water resource.

“Contained Enthusiasm”

Demographics and lifestyle play a role as downsizing continues.  More and more of us are moving into townhouses and condominiums.  People still are looking for the same attributes they were accustom  to in their single family dwelling.  Containers are an easy was of bringing the garden attributes into the condominium balcony and townhouse patio.


Colour in the landscape is so very important.  Clients often request “colour” as an objective and again often with little or no specifications.  Colour has profound influence and provoke much emotion, can stimulate or have a calming effect.  I continue to use colour judiciously when designing garden palettes.

I like to work in a  monochromatic colour scheme and find it very unifying and powerful. There is great flow and continuity.  When I work in  a monochromatic colour theme I rely on variations of luminosity or value, tone and texture in order to create contrasting subjects.

This may not be satisfactory for some, and will often work in an analogous colour scheme using two or three colours from a quadrant of the colour wheel.  The colour chosen for the landscape will depend on many other factors such as the colour of the residence, architectural elements and surroundings.  I often pick up colour inspirations from the interior colour palette of a residence.  When working in an analogous colour scheme I rely on subtle colour changes and work with in a particular range.

I will use complimentary colours for focal points and in vignettes or to attract the eye and manage how we view a particular landscape. Complimentary colours are very dramatic, bold and stimulating.  I like hints of this large contrasting use of colour but prefer to manage where I choose to implement.

I will continue to use colour in a garden very discerningly.  I rarely subscribe to a polychromatic colour scheme as the results are usually too confusing, complicating and distracting.   I find a simplified colour palette continuing to be a trend in 2011.

Look for simplification of colour palettes in the future.  As we struggle in our chaotic lives and search for peace and tranquility at the end of the day a simplified colour scheme will have the desired effect.  Softer colours and a sense of translucency, muted or come off as modern and will be comforting.  Soothing, calming and meditative environments require veiled colour components.  As we strive for core values earth tones continue to be strong as an over all colour trends.  I like to work with bronze and cinnamon in this situation.  In todays environmental consciousness who can not be enticed or influenced by the colour green and all the variations associated with it.  Dark forest green with chartreuse and lime is amazing.  What ever your preference keep your colour scheme simple, life is complex enough.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s