When opening a new landscape design, we are often given set criteria for the functionality, budget, and general aesthetic of the space. We take your vision for the space and apply fundamental principles of landscape design to create functionally beautiful space. The six key principles that we focus on are balance, focalization, simplicity, rhythm/line, proportion, and unity. These principles apply to everything from walls and patios to plantings and lawns and are, at their core, what makes a space look appealing. One of the most important tools to apply these principles in a landscape design is your plantings.
Whether you’re tackling a DIY project at home or renovating an entire campus, plant selection, layout, and the starting sizes of your material will determine the longevity and practicality of the landscape over time. While every project is different, we typically spec more mature plants as the starting sizes in our plans for a host of reasons including:
One of the ways we apply principles of design is through layering plantings. Creating layers using a variety of heights, widths, colors, and textures builds interest and increases the appeal of a landscape bed. By choosing mature specimens for our installations, we are able to display that layering on day one and gain that curb appeal without having to wait years for it to fill in. A general rule for all new plantings is “sleep, creep, leap;” meaning it takes years for a landscape to become established so having it look good on day one is critical.
Transplanting/installing new plants is a stressful process for these plants as they acclimate to a new environment. Typically mature plants have larger root systems that are able to withstand short term changes like drought or wet conditions better, and give you more time to make any necessary adjustments in your care routine before environmental stress causes them to expire.
Mature plants look better than immature plants. Like your teenagers at home, many plants go through an awkward adolescent stage where they can appear thin or gangly. By allowing plants to mature at the nursery, we’re able to correct any deficiencies and ensure that a consistent and quality finished product is being installed.
Often we are asked to add onto an existing landscape. In these installs, there is no perfect substitute for time. Installing small starter trees and shrubs next to a mature landscape only increases contrast between old and new so we prefer to use larger specimens to better blend the additions and give a more cohesive feel to the space.
While every job is different, we find that utilization of larger plants in our projects is essential to providing that quality finish that keeps us snapping pictures of every project we finish, big or small.
Brendan Rost is a Columbia native and son of Rost Landscaping owners Tim and Toby Rost. He grew up playing at the garden center and nursery and has worked in all divisions of Rost Inc. Brendan received his degree in horticulture and design from MU and now works as a designer in the landscaping division. He thrives on building relationships and creating unique landscapes that complement their space.