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By Julie Moir Messervy

A charming collection of rounded beach pebbles set out on a shade garden floor bring unity to this garden vignette. Photo by JMMDS.

As I wrote in Home Outside :

“The easiest way to connect the energy both in and around your house is to repeat

an element:  a color, a texture, a shape, or even a style.  When you do this, you

create an automatic connection between the elements that stand out in a

landscape of otherwise unrelated objects.

“Children enjoy ‘connecting the dots’ by drawing a line from one numbered dot to

the next to reveal a picture that couldn’t otherwise be deciphered.  In a similar way,

you can connect focal objects to each other and unveil a larger pattern by repeating

an element and uniting different areas….Repeating an element can help restore

order to a chaotic landscape and bring harmony and a sense of balance to the whole


Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love

(Taunton Press, 2009, pp. 186-187)

Oblong shapes find repetition in the stone underfoot, the plantings that intersect it, and the enclosures, including the hedging and the mortared walls, to create a harmonious whole. Design by Nelson Byrd Woltz, at the Charles Luck Design Center, Richmond, VA. Photo by JMMDS.

Planting form, texture, and shape can act as repeating elements as well.  Here the weeping panicles of the tree in the background are echoed in the carefully pruned Chinese wisteria trees at Longwood’s Wisteria Garden. Photo by JMMDS.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Frederick Perez says:

    I get the concept of repetition to brings things together . my challenge this spring is to get the driveway to flow with the rest of the front yard. Not as easy as it looks. I’ll have to study it for a while and maybe something will come to me.

  • Joe says:

    I really like the idea of repeating an element. It adds a dimension that many people don’t realize till they see it.

  • Great article, look forward to implement this ourselves.

  • Samantha says:

    I saw that you posted an awesome article on landscaping and how to create a beautiful garden. I loved the post and wanted to reach out. We are in the business of helping people design gardens using repeating elements which is something you touched on briefly. It’s always great hearing from other passionate plants-people like yourself!