Informal naturalistic forms include meandering lines

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Informal, naturalistic forms include meandering lines, organic edges, and fragmented edges. Plants create form in the garden through their outlines or silhouettes, but form can also be defined by a void or negative space between plants. GEOMETRIC FORMS Circular form Circles can be full circles, or they can be divided into half circles or circle segments and combined with lines to create arcs and tangents. Figure 2 shows the use of circle segments for hardscape and lawn panels. Circles can also be stretched into ovals and ellipses for more variety and interest. Circles are a strong design form because the eye is always drawn to the center, which can be used to emphasize a focal point or connect other forms. F I G U R E 2 . Circular forms in hardscape and lawn panels Square form Squares are used for a variety of features, including stepping stones, bricks, tiles, and timber structures, because they are an easy form to work with for construction. The square form can also be segmented and used repeatedly to create a grid pattern. Unlike circles, squares are stronger on the edges, which can be lined up or overlapped to create unique patterns and more complex forms. Irregular polygons Polygons are many-sided forms with straight edges. Triangles, for example, are three-sided polygons. The angled edges of polygons can make interesting shapes, but they should be used cautiously because the forms can become complex; simplicity is best. NATURALISTIC FORMS Meandering lines Meandering lines often mimic the natural course of rivers or streams and can be described as smooth lines with
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3 deeply curved undulations. Meandering lines (Figure 3) work well for pathways, plant bedlines, and dry stream beds. Meandering lines can add interest and mystery to a garden by leading viewers around corners to discover new views and spaces. F I G U R E 3 . Meandering lines in the landscape Organic edges Organic edges mimic the edges of natural material, such as foliage, plant forms, and rocks, and can be described as rough and irregular. Organic lines can be found in rock gardens and along dry creek beds or purposely created on hardscape edges. F I G U R E 4 . Organic edges: irregular edge of rock garden Fragmented edges Fragmented edges resemble broken pieces scattered from the edge, such as stones or pavers, and are often used to create a gradually disappearing edge on patios or walkways. F I G U R E 5 . Fragmented edges: stepping stones in pathway PLANT FORMS Form is the most enduring quality of a plant. Common plant forms are well established and standardized, as form is the most consistent and recognizable characteristic of plants. Form can also be created through the massing of plants, where the overall mass creates a different form than an individual plant. A strong form that contrasts with the rest of the composition will have greater emphasis within the composition. A highly contrasting form must be used with care—one or two work well as a focal point, but too many create chaos. Natural plant forms, rather
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