Garden Design Simplified

The sports ad says “Just Do It”. That is exactly the attitude you need to succeed at garden designing. Remember, these ideas or designs you come up with are not set in stone. You can always move plants around your gardens and, as your ideas and taste change, your gardens can grow with you.

There are some simple elements of garden design to keep in mind. When you are designing your garden you are doing so with ‘living art’. Think as creatively as you can. Maybe you are inspired by a garden you have seen on a garden tour (great idea, by the way) or in a magazine or two. Don’t be afraid to borrow.

Remember you are free to try whatever suits your taste. There are no limitations to your own creativity. You answer to the critic within. Have no anxiety about comparison nor fear of failure. To be sure, to be good at gardening requires learning certain skills, but when all is said and done a garden’s beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Just go for it and let your gardens be the expression of you.

Garden design and its principles used may be called by different names. Still, there are three basic concepts when combined together that will bring about good garden design. Please remember, however, and at the risk of repetition, in the final analysis, your gardens’ design is up to you and should reflect your own personality and flare.

Order, balance and proportion are the basic elements of the garden.

Order is created through symmetry through the technique of repeating plants or colors. Bold or bright additions bring balance as well as adding some texture. Texture is a very important ingredient. Gardens come to life with different textures or as the French say “Viva la difference.” The contrast of adjacent textures can be very exciting.

Think of all your different plants and how they flow together. Think of how bringing them together, through unity and harmony, creates comfort and peace.

When all of the parts of your garden are flowing together, it is captivating and the viewers’ spirit is caught up in the beauty.

By using a limited color pattern, repetition of plants and a clear focal point will create this environment. I’m sure you’ve noticed how theme gardens are very soothing: all one color, or how butterfly gardens can keep you flowing in the visual unity.

Having a focal point is a big benefit for every garden. With no focal point, the eye starts to this way and that without every getting a sense of a main feature. This, of course, will not create the harmony you desire. You also will not any curb appeal and the economic benefits derived from that. Beginning gardeners seem bent on picking the same flowers or foliage over and over again. You can seen them, flat after flat, at box stores and groceries. Aside from color, they really don’t offer much in the way visual interest. Planting an architectural, bold leafed plant, can instantly restore this visual interest and shatter the monotony of likeness.

Last, but not least, we come to color in your gardens. Experimenting with your favorite colors is a good way to see what works best for you. The best advice I know of, and one hard to heed, is to start out with two or three colors and their various shades and keep the artist’s palette limited. New colors can be added as you go as you see what is working or not. This way, you keep the living painting flowing in the harmony you wish to create. You will then have a peaceful retreat that you have created and that you can share that intimate part of you reflected in your garden.