Than over trimmed forms should establish the bulk of

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than over-trimmed forms, should establish the bulk of the composition. The relevance of overall form is more or less dependent on the viewing perspective—the form of a tree can appear quite different to a person standing under the canopy versus viewing the tree from a distance in an open field. Vertical forms add height; horizontal forms add width. Plant forms also create and define the void or open spaces between the plants, creating either convex or concave forms in the voids. High-arching tree branches typically create a concave open space under the branches, and a round canopy with low branches fills the space to create a convex form in the open space under the tree. Tree forms Common tree forms (Figure 6) include round, columnar, oval, pyramidal, vase shaped, and weeping. Different tree forms are used for visual appeal, but the form is also important for function. Creating a shady area in the garden requires a round or oval tree, while a screen usually requires a more columnar or pyramidal form, and a weeping tree form makes a good focal point.
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4 F I G U R E 6 . Tree forms Shrub forms Shrub forms (Figure 7) include upright, vase shaped, arching, mounding, rounded, spiky, cascading, and irregular. Choosing shrub forms often depends on whether the shrub will be used in a mass or as a single specimen. Mounding and spreading shrubs look best in a mass, and cascading and vase-shaped shrubs do well as specimen plants. Groundcover forms Groundcover forms (Figure 7) include matting, spreading, clumping, sprawling, and short spikes. Almost all groundcovers look better in masses because they are typically small, ground-hugging plants that have very little impact as individual plants. PROPERTIES OF FORM Form is very powerful because people can often recognize and identify a feature based on an outline or silhouette. People can often perceive a form when only a portion of it is visible. Familiarity and the suggestion of a form is enough for the eye to fill in the rest. Repetition of form is essential to the creation of pattern, which is the basic organizational structure of the landscape. Form is also the primary determinant of a formal or informal garden. Geometric forms with straight edges are typical of formal gardens that are based on an established style, such as contemporary or Italian gardens. An informal garden has more naturalistic, organic forms that are normally found in gardens that mimic nature. Form compatibility is also a major component of unity in design—one or two strikingly different forms are good for contrast and emphasis, but generally all other forms should have some similarities for a unified look. Texture Texture refers to how coarse or fine the surface of the plant or hardscape material feels and/or looks. Texture is used to provide variety, interest, and contrast. The plant’s foliage, flowers, bark, and overall branching pattern all have texture. The size and shape of the leaves often determines the perceived texture of the plant. A plant can
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