Close up of tree branches and leaves.

Scale and proportion are all about finding balance between 2 extremes. This tenet is in found most religions, health experts promote it, and . . . landscape designers promote it.

If you plant an infant tree too close to your house, at full maturity (say 25′) it will look re-donk-ulus and could damage your home. If you have too little groundcover, it will take years before it gets to the desired lush look. If you have too much mulch around the flare of a tree (a.k.a. volcano mulching), the tree will eventually die. 

It’s all about the balance needed in order to thrive at max capacity and max beauty, especially when it comes to landscaping the front yard of your urban home.

So, what if I told you that math held the solution to securing this balance of scale and correction proportions? And the solution significantly impacts your visual pleasure? Intrigued?

The golden ratio (or golden number or golden mean) is the equation that does just this. The easiest way for me to explain it is as a 60/40 ratio that applies to two elements within a space or area.

Let’s look at the front of this home. The whole front façade from the ground to the sky equals 100% of our context. Ideally you want to have 60% of the house showing and 40% scaled with a full-grown landscape of trees and other plants. With these proportions the house and the landscape work seamlessly and beautifully together. (Yaaasss!)

Front of a home with boxes around the main elements showing proportional percentages.

Being kind of obsessed with small front urban yards, I just love knowing that such balance is achievable. Don’t get us wrong, we at Topiarius love a great big estate with threes that grow 75’, but when our team works in the city, such expectations can often be thwarted due to space restrictions. But more often than not, there are planting solutions that make this possible. 

Listen . . . don’t get hung up on this rule of thumb if you don’t have these proportions. You don’t need one more person to should you. This is simply a guide that can help you find a balance and it’s a good place to start when considering design. We’re happy to help; consider us for your next outdoor project!



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *