For many the prospect of designing a garden is a daunting subject.
And there is much to consider.All gardens are site specific
What is the soil ?
Is there wind ? What is the water supply ? Where is the sun ?
Town or country , large or small……all native plants or flowering exotics or…..
At the outset we need to acknowledge all gardens are ARTIFACE. Be they formal or informal. A so- called ‘natural garden’ does not exist. Jungles in the tropics are natural gardens. Endless Australian bush is a’ natural garden”. Walking up Mt Holdsworth is to see a “natural garden”. With this in mind consider your patch. There is no such thing as maintenance free so style of garden is paramount.
There are 8 principles of design.The most important is the framework or bones of the Garden called THE STRUCTURE. Do not confuse structure with formality as they are totally different concepts. A point of beginning & end. Look at your space and consider enclosure.This anchors the garden to its location.Enclosures can be fences,hedges,stone or whatever.A ha ha works well.Look at your building and divide up the space to relate to the rooms.Straight lines work best for me with half circles and circles but never a wriggly line.
A green framework holds the garden together.Now we are looking at SCALE SHAPE & FORM. Vertical lines and planes to afford balance be it symmetrical or asymmetrical.And ‘FRAME THE VIEW” by organising the spaces with a seat at the end of a path or sentinels at the beginning or end.COLOUR AND LIGHT mean broad sweeps of colour are more effective than a ditty dot and a background of deep green enhances the planting The intensity of light affects colour and too much colour results in an anxious space.The importance of light and shade cannot be over emphasised Late afternoon light & shadow falling across plantings and early morning ,sometimes with frost. This takes a good garden into something special..All gardening is merely an exercise in light and shade.Urns and furnishings should assist in TEXTURE PATTERN & RHYTHM to help give a sense of stability & continuum assisted by PLANT ABUNDANCE. Always exaggerate rather than be mingy. A Garden should be lavish irrespective of its size. Exuberant and voluptuous all held together by direction and good edging and containment in available materials. Always have a workhorse plant that is repeated throughout. ATMOSPHERE AND MYSTERY are key and hard to achieve but make your garden one that invites exploration and not viewed overall.Set up paths to explore and allow for surprise.And some whimsey.And WATER. Have if at all possible. The sound of water adds to the senses along with fragrance and touch and colour. From gush to tinkle. All will do.