The art of landscape design. Here is a link to an excellent paper on the subject.
Some general guidelines when designing landscapes:
1. Define your expectations beforehand:
A site visit is mandatory as it allows for delivery of a really well adapted project. Working with the client you must define expectations about what the design will deliver as best as you can. Maybe the clients' favorite activity is growing native species, culinary specialty, sun-tanning, or barbecuing with friends, or growing masses of vegetables. Maybe all this at once! It's useful to make a list and sort priority.
2. Define the style of your garden:
Show the client some examples (photos) of different garden styles - classic, romantic, edible, formal, bushland etc.
3. Consider the height of plants:
It is important to consider well in advance the height and the volume of plants with adult size, that is why it is advisable to choose well its professional to avoid unnecessary pruning, or simply to limit the constraints Of common sizes of certain shrubs. It will therefore be necessary to define well the desired uses in your garden corner
4. Focus on simple movements:
The pathways of the garden must be considered first according to their function and it is only then that one considers the aesthetic aspect which must be in agreement with the rest of the development and the dwelling. A nice path that does not follow the natural axis of traffic will be under exploited and the natural axis that can be placed on a lawn will be quickly damaged because of trampling.
5. Consider depth scale:
This principle will structure the sites and types of plantations that will be made in the gardens. The size of the plants must therefore vary according to whether they are placed more or less far from your point of view. Beds with small plants are ideal placed near a window, while another bed with large flowers forming colored mass effects will make an interesting focal point further into the garden.
6. Create Scenes:
This point is the logical continuation of those previously mentioned, indeed to make live the garden this one must contain attractive points of view, beautiful shrubs are important in order to create nice points of view but they must accord with overall decorative elements. Large or small, they will surely give a bucolic charm to your garden. For example, simple garden furniture or even a bench placed judiciously at the bottom of the garden, will contribute to "telling a story". Other more voluminous elements can reinforce this aspect, a staircase, a garden shed, a kiosk ...
7. Breaking angles:
One will always favor a winding path rather than a straight line, indeed the natural forms are rarely rigid. Moreover, we will also try to break the angles by soft curves which will allow to connect the paths between them as well as the different living spaces.
8. Know the nature of the soil and climate for the site:
Soils structure an pH will determine which species will grow well. We try to avoid the implantation of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and other acid loving plants in areas that are not conducive to this, because it requires the creation of very specific zones and the plants will never do as well as they do in naturally acid soils.
9. Define the plant palette:
Try and determine client color tastes. Do they have a preference for pastel or bright colors? Prefer flowers or shrubs? Formal grass lawns of massed planting of ornamental grasses.
Tip: Remember, the appreciation of a garden is something very personal. Each client has unique tastes, each his colors. The garden must be a place of relaxation and pleasure.