Add interest. While both balance and harmony are used to achieve unity, too much unity can be, well, boring. That’s where variety and contrast come in handy. By varying the size, shape, color, material, texture, and detail, you can introduce a note of interest or a focal point into the total composition. For instance, placing a round wooden planter onto a square-patterned patio will provide a pleasing contrast of both shape and material. The contrasting object (the round wooden planter) will draw attention to itself and provide visual relief and interest to the total setting. Establish visual rhythm. In design terms, rhythm-or how elements are spaced relative to similar elements-can create another type of unity in a composition. Rhythm helps to establish a visually satisfying progression or sequence to a site design. For example, you can create a regular rhythm on a walkway if you place a band of decorative brick at 4-foot intervals. On the other hand, a song composed of only one sequence of notes is boring. Vary such things as the interval, color, size, shape, texture, or material of the elements. Emphasize an element. This point assumes that within your site some of the elements have more significance than the rest and that these special elements should be emphasized. This is probably starting to sound familiar to you by now, but a special element is given its due emphasis by making it larger; by giving it a different shape (round versus square); by using a singular color, texture, or material; by shifting or rotating its orientation; by centering it within a circle or at the end of walkway; or by lighting it at night. However, if you emphasize too much, you may end up with a visually confusing design. Let simplicity be your guide. Simplicity is one of the hardest things to achieve in a design because there is a tendency to use all available tools and elements. The most elegant site designs are those that begin and end with simplicity as their guiding design principle. The Zen rock gardens of Japan are a good example. Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, MyInteriorDecorator.com. May not be reprinted.