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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This week's question from the aesthetically challenged-
first, this doesn't apply to the smooth single height foregrounds or iwagumi style that has that greener than green freshly painted canvas appearance<and i'll have questions about that later :) >
so, how do people manage to vary heights of plants in their tank and make it look visually interesting and attractive rather than looking haphazard and accidental. and by "accidental" i mean, "accidentally hit tank with weedwacker" look not "startling accidental surprise of visual joy"
when i try to mix foreground plants it looks like all out plant warfare. i've seen people mix foregrounds, maybe something low and snug to the substrate with wisps of hairgrass intermingled towards the rear of the foreground, and it looks very attractive. i think the foreground example's the easiest for me to think of right now. but it extends through all regions of the tank, instead of having hard sharp clear cut off lines off shortest to front, tallest to back, and very clearly delineated zone for each species there's a far softer blurring of boundaries, gradual ascension of plant height with areas or just a few plants/stems not in that stairstep height rise.. if this post isn't very clear i apologise and i hope it comes across understandably. i wasn't sure what the rules were for posting pics of other peoples tanks in a message to get a style idea across.

I'm trying to figure out what makes tanks like that work and why some <mine> just look like a wretched mess when i try it. am i too impatient and don't let them grow in before tearing it out so they never get past looking raw?
too impatient with planting and rather than using a light hand things get thrown in in clumps and so look like artificial accidents and disaster? i know it would be better if i had a pic to illustrate what i mean, but i've been too frustrated to take a pic of my ugly scapes like that. i wonder if it's an attention to plant shape and variation- texture, colour, leave size? that i'm missing?

if i could get anyone's response about this i'd be most appreciative. and i hope what i mean is understandable even with my lack of illustration...
 

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I'm no expert and am new to this hobby myself. It seems to me like you should look at some Dutch style tanks. I can't really tell you what you need to do but that style tank sounds like what you are after. I suggest looking at lots of pictures and trying to mimic the things you see that you like.
 

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From my experience it is really more of a knowledge of plants and thir growth that makes the good scapes. if you know what textures look good next to each other, and how they grow...you can "make" them grow more naturally and mix different plants for a more rugged, but natural layout.

knowing how, when, and where to trim plants helps too...

most of all is experience with lots of different plants...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hmm sorry:/ to be clearer- i -like- the well executed look of species mingling and varying heights. the varying heights thing also seems to be an art with re: to stem plant pruning. i really appreciate the look of aquariums where there
s visual interest added by differing heights and intermingling of species. but how is it that some people accomplish the look so well and at other times it looks more like someone got out of hand with collectoritus?
i do appreciate everyone's responses though. and i get the feeling i'm just going to have to suck it up and have some ugly ugly scapes while i learn more hands on:) rather than just tossing a scape because it looks like garbage in the beginning..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
there is something very obi wan kenobi about someone with the login The Old Man instructing me in education, practice and above all patience.... ;) i appreciate it.. but... uhm... even when i stare patiently the tanks don't look much prettier. it's one of those things i haven't really seen addressed other than people responding on what seems like an intuitive/subjective level rather than on a more objective level about the visual impact of mixed groupings of plants, or commenting on good pruning skills.. and i've seen tutorials on proper pruning technique but most of it focuses on plant health and technically proper technique rather than achieving the look some people get with their stem plants.. which is very finished and refined versus jungleland.
maybe that's just the art aspect of it rather than the science aspect of it.. but i am very hit or miss with it:/
 

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I would read up on photography. There are some basic rules that if applied to aqua-scaping make for a better scape. You can combine those rules, what looks good, with what you learned about pruning technique, how to make the plant do what you want, and create the scape that you desire.

Perhaps showing us what you have done and taking comments on that will help as well. Pictures do let the community better see what you are trying to achieve.
 

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I think some pics would be of great help. Then we can make suggestions based on what you already have and can also see maybe where you are trying to go with your aquascape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
tanks are a mess and term papers are due tomorrow and finals next week. will post pics for more help when the tanks aren't a mess. not much use in asking for help to figure something out when i'm not doing everything that i DO know how to do. so. back with pics as soon as i'm not cringing under the idiocy of my decision to take summer classes:< i shouldn't even be posting here now, i'm just using it as a way of avoiding studying:/ i'm going to try and disappear myself til next week. i appreciate how great and helpful everyone here is. thank you so much:)
 
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