An Introduction To The Art Of Garden Design

This article is the first in a series that will explain the many facets of garden design and provide you with the knowledge required to plan a functional and aesthetically pleasing garden. In these articles you will find the necessary information required to undertake your own garden project from conception through to completion.

Every garden benefits from good garden design. Whatever your expectations are, planning and design are essential. One of the first questions I ask a client (as a design consultant) is “what do you want from your garden?” The planning will focus on these needs and create a personalized garden that can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.

To provide a definitive guide on garden design I would need to be writing a 500-page book, so we will only look at the absolute basics in this article. One thing I have learnt over the past twenty plus years as a garden designer is that few of us are totally content with our gardens. Despite the immense pleasure we derive from them, there is always something that could be better.

Many long for a larger garden, a few for something smaller and more manageable, but the vast majority will make the best of their existing plots. Improving our garden spaces, coaxing the maximum impact from them is an enjoyable challenge that most avid green thumbs would rise to. The trick of course is knowing how!

Gardening is essentially about growing plants, but the setting in which we place them is probably the single most important element that makes a garden appealing or otherwise. Personal tastes in garden styles vary as much as in other aspects of living, and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. The true test of good garden design is whether the result appeals to you. As a garden designer I have always seen my role as a facilitator, aiming to assist my clients to create a garden that reflects their taste and personality.

A good garden designer will open a magic box of inspiration and imagination. We show you what other enthusiastic gardeners have done, and how others have made the most of potentially insurmountable plot issues.

Your own level of interest is the key factor to consider when making a decision to have your garden designed and constructed by professionals or taking on the project yourself. It will cost you a great deal of money and the chances are that it won’t give you as much satisfaction as having created a garden through your own efforts.

Engaging a design consultant to explain the basic techniques and perhaps provide some inspirational ideas may be all you need to get the ball rolling. In the end only you can decide what is right for your garden. Tastes in gardens vary as much as in interior design and preferences for art or music. The true acid test of whether your new garden design has worked is only gauged by the pleasure that it gives you.

Make use of a professional designer by allowing them to suggest ideas and explain the techniques they use. Have faith in your own ability to soak up their inspiration and experiment on paper. You will soon develop skills that will enable you to design your garden with confidence.

The best gardens are carefully planned. The most important elements include:

  • Creating your wish-list
  • Surveying and measuring
  • Drawing your plans
  • Creating patterns
  • Choosing a formal or informal layout
  • Understanding garden styles and themes
  • Using shapes – both geometric and unusual
  • Overcoming gradients
  • Front versus back gardens
  • Creating Illusions
  • Preparing a planting schedule
  • Maintenance – high or low

Understanding these facets of landscape design will enable you to create a 3-dimensional image in your mind of the desired end result.

In future articles I will look at some of these specific elements of sound garden design in more detail, and provide you with the information required to tackle a design project yourself. A little knowledge goes a long way and I have no doubt that you will surprise yourself by discovering exactly what you can achieve.

As always… Happy gardening!

Easy Guide to Herb Garden Designs

In the past herb garden designs were dictated by the herbs planted in them and classified as useful or ornamental. Truth of the matter is you can mix and match the following ideas to originate your very own special herb garden designs. It’s your garden after all and like art these designs express your unique inner soul.

Yet, contrary to expectation, the first step in creating your herb garden designs is not to immediately draw your designs but to first list down the reasons for which you want to have your own herb garden.

Once you have your reasons listed down you can then match against those reasons, the herbs that will provide you with the solutions for your bespoke herb garden designs. Consider at this stage:

o their usefulness (for cooking, herbal remedies for ailments, for decoration in the house and so on)

o their looks, colours and fragrances and how you can group them together according to good herb gardening principles.

o their size and height – for deciding which to plant in front of which.

o the location and size (length and breadth) of the garden and how the plants can fit into that space aesthetically.

o how you would arrange the plants in the garden on the basis of their attributes and environmental requirements.

For your herb garden designs, you can decide on how your herb plants can be grown,

o in the ground in a formal structure or informal and casual, according to their purpose like the kitchen garden outside the kitchen door.

o in pots that are casually arranged on the patio

o in designer or specially constructed containers indoors or outdoors

o in single containers like:
o a windowsill box
o a ceramic or terracotta “strawberry” pot
o an herb garden kit.
o Even an old chimney pot can make an attractive display.
o You can use old tyres, cracked teapots, old pails, etc. Be selective though as the containers used will set the tone of the garden.

After jotting down all your requirements it is then time to put them together into the visualisation of the herb garden designs that will meet most if not all the needs you have written down.

Take your time and pleasure in creating your herb garden designs in your imagination. The more time, thought, colour and movement you visualise, the more real your vision becomes and the more useful and beautiful your garden will turn out to be for you.

The physical aspects of your herb garden designs can be:

o Large, formal and structured – utilitarian or ornamental. This is usually a walled garden that is rectangular in shape and divided into two parallel rows which are then subdivided into a number of beds that will each hold a specific group of herbs.

You can also divide the plot up into a number of squares or rectangles or even triangles laid out in a simple pattern to fit into the plot of available land. There could then be pathways cut out, normally in a symmetrical design that has the specific purpose of allowing easy access to each herb bed.

It would not be unthinkable to have a kitchen garden in a formal setting that incorporates a healing garden in the centre of it.

o In medieval times there were herb garden designs created purely for pleasure. The gardens may be smaller in size, probably a little structured and housed plants that had been chosen for their aroma and beauty, a place where one can sit down to enjoy the sights, sounds and scents.

o Formal herb garden designs later on took on the more complicated pattern made up of squares, rectangles and especially knots which were particularly popular in pleasure gardens.

o Unstructured herb garden designs include plants that had been selected for their particular use like culinary plants near the kitchen door.

o Herb garden designs for the indoors include potted herbs in containers for decorative purposes. It would be hard to avoid the usefulness of the herbal crops even though your intention was not focused on using the herbs.

o Outdoors in containers on the patio.

o On a purpose built rooftop garden

Just ensure that the three main rules for gardening are met if you expect success. They are sufficient lighting (natural or fluorescent), water and well drained soil.

By the way, there is no rule to say that you can have only one garden. You can have one indoors in addition to the one outdoors!

Whatever the purpose of your herb garden designs, take the opportunity to add an ornamental aspect to it. This will enhance and extend greatly your enjoyment of it.

If you need guidance on the exact steps to take to give you the assured outcome you desire then evaluate “Successful Herb Gardening ~ Step-by-Step” at 100% risk free. You can download it whenever you wish at the Herb Gardening Site.

Enliven Your Creativity With Your Garden Designs

Your garden can be a manifestation of your own creativity. It is no longer a place where you plant fruits and vegetables. If you would like to add a little more life and enhance the look of your garden opt for interesting garden designs.

Before you go ahead with some garden designs, you may like to keep some guidelines in mind to for better synchrony of your surroundings:

The Golden Rule

The key to innovative garden designs is a simple rule. THINK BEFORE YOU PLANT. Plan your garden in sync with the look of your house to make a cohesive unit that is in harmony with each other.

Discover The Purpose

Prior to finalizing your garden designs, you may like to consider how the garden would be used. Would you like to enhance the view of the house or would you like to entertain guests? Would little children be comfortable playing in your garden or would senior citizens love taking a walk there? Would your garden occupy private space or would it be in public view? It would really help if you finalized the main purpose of your garden, and then proceeded to design it.

Landscape Matters

Opt for garden designs that compliment the landscape and the house. It is important to remember that the house is the most important part of the landscape and the garden needs to be designed in harmony with the house and the surroundings. Then the different elements of the house and the garden can connect better to provide an interesting style to the house and the landscape.

Choose Your Garden

You have a choice of formal, a semi formal or natural garden designs. A formal garden has the plants and shrubs arranged symmetrically around two axis, which provide a cross with the pool or a gazebo at the center. These gardens are usually adorned with evergreens, hedges or walls and have a hard surface terrace. A semi-formal garden also works on the same axial plan as the formal one; however the garden designs are a little less rigid. In many instances, the hard surface terrace is replaced by grass or evergreen shrubs. Besides, you may also see flowers, vegetables or herbs spilling out of the beds.

Natural garden designs follow the intrinsic landscape. They usually meander around the surroundings and have a casual or softer look. The architectural style of the house, the budget and the personal preference of the owner may eventually decide upon the design of the garden.

Create A Theme

Most garden designs are usually creations of the owners or the gardeners mind, and you have a range of themes to choose from. Let your creativity decide the theme; just make sure that it compliments the overall landscape and the style of the house and garden.

Play With Colors

Colors play a very important role in garden designs. With practice and experimentation you will be able to understand the essence of combining colors. However, you may begin by referring to the color wheel, where colors are arranged according to their relationships with each other. Most color wheels contain 12 colors only, but you may be able to color coordinate the plants and flowers better a violet-red to red to orange-red, in the same order as they appear in the color wheel. Move Around.

Garden designs should be able to accommodate free movement. Designing walkways, pathways or driveways are very important aspects. To make the view of the garden interesting, you can expose vistas that would make a pleasant view. This may encourage visitors to get off the path or driveway and take a closer look at the garden.

Drainage

Drainage is another important factor in garden designs. A sound drainage system will ensure hygiene and maintain overall garden health. On the other hand an unsound drainage system will destroy your garden.

If you are not happy with your existing garden design, follow these guidelines and spice up your view! Add your imagination and creativity to these simple guidelines and create garden designs that will make you proud.