Your guide to designing a beautiful garden

June 30, 2015

Designing a garden doesn't have to require a heap of technical knowledge. Bear these basic gardening tips in mind and you'll have a smartly planned and beautiful garden.

Your guide to designing a beautiful garden

Combining shapes

Perhaps the most challenging — and rewarding — aspect of plant architecture is combining different shapes into a compatible grouping.

  • Pairing strongly divergent profiles, such as a soaring pyramid and prostrate "fan," makes for dynamic contrast, whereas pairing related shapes, such as an egg and a globe or an umbrella and a bowl, results in a soft, harmonious design.
  • When you begin looking at plants as architectural elements, you'll find yourself seeing your landscape—and those of your neighbours—in a whole new way!

Structural plant design

A bed backed by a wall, hedge or fence is the ideal setting for a border.

  • A border can be described best as a bed that comes forward from the backdrop, with the plants in the bed arranged in decreasing height from back to front.
  • This design gives an unobstructed view of all the plants and lets each one receive sun.
  • But be flexible: the occasional short plant tucked behind a tall one may provide appealing texture and make the bed more beautiful.

Plant in drifts instead of rows

  • Group large plants in threes and smaller ones in fives or sevens. Odd numbers of plants look more natural than even-numbered groupings.
  • Only a specimen plant used as a special accent should be planted singly.

Use a simple colour scheme

  • Plan for a long season of bloom, but limit your colour choices to three main colours (such as pink, yellow and blue; or red, white and blue).
  • Include neutral white bloomers or plants with gray foliage to help offset potential clashes.

Add an edge

Just as a border includes a backdrop, it also needs a defined front edge to provide a sense of containment.

  • In addition to small, mound-forming plants, include a hard edge if the border adjoins lawn. Edging materials made from concrete, plastic or composite wood are efficient but can be costly.
  • You'll save by choosing natural stones, brick pavers or recycled brick instead.

Create a rustic trellis border

For a charming, old-fashioned border, use this simple and inexpensive technique.

  • Insert sturdy 30- to 40-centimetre wood stakes every 15 centimetres along the edge of your border.
  • Interlace the uprights with pliable vines or willow stems to create a lattice. The resulting trellis makes an especially complementary background and support for climbers, runner beans, strawberries and herbs.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu