The Dawn of the Lawn and Literary Gardens

If you’re looking for an informative book on the history of lawns and landscaping in America, a great place to start is with Virginia Scott Jenkins' The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession.

Building on a tradition maintained by a few of his British and French predecessors, American author Edgar Allen Poe developed a passion for landscape and garden architecture. In 1847 he wrote a short story, "The Domain of Arnheim," in which landscape design plays an integral role in the setting and development of the lead character, Ellison [source: Nagel].

Landscaping Around a Focal Point

­When you begin planning a landscape design, a good place to start is with the focal point. A focal point is a component­ of your design intended to attract a great deal of interest from lookers-on. Depending of the size of your design, you may decide to have one focal point; however, if you are breaking ground on a larger design, you'll likely want to have multiple focal points. Focal points can be naturally occurring elements of the landscape that you incorporate into your design and build from, or they can be strategically placed to create the perfect aesthetic.

There are many methods used to create a focal point, some of which are described in more detail in the following pages. Most methods rely on a sense of contrast. Whether the contrast is realized by using principles such as color, shape, texture or size is up to the designer. An often-utilized method of combining the necessary sense of contrast and a high level of usability is by integrating non-natural objects into a landscape otherwise made up of natural components.

Perhaps the most popular method used to cre­ate the contrast of natural and non-natural elements is the implementation of benches or bench-swings into the design. Often combined with another landscaping principle, this method generates an intriguing focal point and creates a comfortable vantage point from which to view the beautiful results of your design and labor. In addition to benches and bench swings, other non-natural objects often used in landscape design include bird baths, bird feeders, statues, trellises and arbors [source: My Ideal Garden].

Now let's look at the importance of texture in landscaping.