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Decorating With Landscapes – The Most Popular Artwork on Earth

Landscapes are the most universal subject and the best selling genre for art around the world. The term landscape in Chinese comes from shan shui and consists of the characters for mountain and water. In the West, American landscapes have evolved significantly over the past few centuries.

The earliest landscapes in colonial America were either backgrounds in portraits or rural images painted for Europeans interested in the New World. By the 1820s, the vast landscape of America had come to represent the boundless promise of America, the opportunity for prosperity and the presence of God in nature. As America became more settled, artists also depicted homey scenes of farms and rolling hills.

More recently, images of landscapes have been the focus of a number of studies (Ulrich, Simons and Honeyman, 1979,1986, 1987) that have demonstrated that nature scenes reduce negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. Views of nature also produce positive physiological effects such as reducing muscle tension and blood pressure. Studies that track brain activity suggest that more alpha frequency brain activity (wakeful relaxation) occurs during nature exposures.

Research in hospitals has shown that landscape and nature images reduce the need for pain medication and increase recovery rates for patients. Other studies of individuals in confined settings such as students, prisoners and those in high stress work environments indicate the same positive effects from views of nature, whether these are actual views through windows or artistic images of nature.

The symbolic meaning of landscapes is related to the natural elements present in the scene depicted. The earth is symbolic of physical matter and the body. The earth is feminine, as in Mother Earth and Mother Nature. The colors associated with the earth are brown, green and other earth tones such as rust, sienna and umber.

The sun is the most basic symbol in landscape art and is the simplest-usually depicted as a circle. The sun is the source of warmth and represents the psyche. The sun is symbolic of spiritual illumination or wholeness. The colors associated with the sun are yellow and gold. The sun is the masculine principle and is related to time.

The moon is usually represented as less than full and is symbolic of the hidden aspects of life. The moon also has sinister connotations and is related to the unconscious dream world. The colors associated with the moon are yellow and silver.

Water is also a significant element in landscape art. Water has always been symbolic of the highest good in life and the source of life. Agricultural people have worshipped water in the form of rivers, clouds, mist and rain. In the West, water is symbolized by the colors blue, teal and aqua. In the East, the colors black and navy blue symbolize water.

Other specific elements associated with landscapes are mountains (symbols of strength and inspiration), rocks (symbols of safety, protection and refuge) and trees (symbols of strength and courage).

When it comes to decorating your home or office, the ongoing popularity and proliferation of landscape art gives you virtually unlimited choices for decorating your home with the most popular art on earth.

Power Tools And Landscaping

When you consider a large project or one involving heavy duty landscaping work, power tools can make a big difference or will be necessary for success. Think about what you need to build and the time available. If you only have a weekend, do your planning first and hire the power tools for just the 2-3 days. Projects involving garden arbors, bench seating and pergolas for example. If you already have some basic power tools yourself just hire those extras you need. Form the ideas, draft the designs then plan the build – it can be simpler than you think!

You can also find designs for many large garden features online, even for smaller items like wooden planters and window boxes. With a few pieces of timber you can build simple designs or you can assemble pre-cut kits that come with all the necessary parts ready to go. As curb appeal is very important, there are lots of choices for making your home and entrance a lot more attractive. Consider adding decorative cornices or gingerbread molds around the front door or porch area. Power tools suited to this detailed cutting makes it much easier.

You can totally transform your garden with power tools and different landscaping ideas as well. Decking may appear a tough job, but if you start with a small decking squares and the right tools and some landscape materials like gravel, river pebbles and maybe a small water feature, it becomes much simpler to create that stunning transformation. You could design a dry creek bed with sand, pebbles, local rocks and then add a small wooden foot bridge with a few power tools to ease the task. Add in a few landscaping plants and a desolate corner is totally changed!

So as you can see, there are lots of options and ideas that even for a beginner. With some imagination and creativity, and help from power tools, some local landscaping material and flowering plants and shrubs, you can soon transform your backyard and home with such projects. If your aim is to improve curb appeal, it still doesn’t necessarily mean a large financial outlay if planned properly – and you can do the job in a way that suits your desires and your budget!

Outdoor Decorating With Landscaping – Part 1

No outdoor living space is completely successful until it is integrated with the surrounding landscape. Just as there are principles for designing interior spaces, there are also guidelines for exterior ones. If you are choosing a site for a gazebo or a patio, it is one of the most important landscape design decisions you’ll make. If the structure already exists, you can enhance it by assessing and changing the landscape. For instance, you may want to plan a garden around a gazebo, planting shrubs and flowers to highlight the beauty of the site. Or you may want to treat the gazebo as a secluded retreat. Achieving either goal takes careful planning of the site and surrounding plantings.

Evaluate the site. The landscape design should provide a framework for your outdoor living space. The views, lines, property configuration, and traffic patterns need to work together. Spend some time getting acquainted with your site and noting any special features. What are the site’s assets? Are there beautiful views? Are there natural features, such as trees or streams? Consider the size and shape of your lot, the style of the house itself, as well as your own lifestyle needs and preferences.

Balance the elements. This is the process of arranging various site elements so that they are resolved and balanced. A visually heavy or large object can be balanced by a visually lighter or smaller object on the site if the smaller object is darker in color value, is unusually or irregularly shaped, has a contrasting texture, or is more elaborately detailed. All of these strategies will help to draw attention to the smaller object and thereby visually balance it with the larger object. For example, let’s say you have a large clump of pine trees on one side of your yard. To visually balance the trees you might plant smaller, more colorful ornamental trees on the other side of the yard, or you might use a man-made object such as a gazebo.

Create a cohesive design. Harmony can be achieved by selecting and using elements that share a common trait or characteristic. By using elements that are similar in size, shape, color, material, texture, or detail, you can create a cohesive feeling and relation among the various elements on the site. An example this might be using a shape, such as a square. Imagine having a square concrete patio scored in a square (or diamond) pattern with a square table covered in a checkered tablecloth. The results can be extremely pleasing and harmonious.