Elements of Garden Design
- Determine your personal preference or style
Get in touch with this by visiting other gardens or garden centers for design and plant preferences, reading books or joining a garden society. Think about the style of your home and how your home can be better integrated with the garden spaces through the design process.
- Assess your garden site and collect information
Think about the sun and how it travels across your garden space, any needed soil improvement, grade variations, the need for paths or stonework, an irrigation system, your budget limitations and whether or not you want to involve a professional. Do not forget maintenance issues and how much time you want to spend tending your garden. These are critical aspects that should be considered early in the process.
- Hardscape definition
The lines of the garden and how this will define the flow as you move between different areas. Do you like curves or straight lines? How does it all connect and where are your focal points to create visual interest?
- Space definition
How do the paths and other lines in the garden help to define distinct spaces within the garden? Grade changes, the berming of a planting space or the use of arbors can create separations between various areas. As an example, an expanse of lawn defines an open play area and a patio or deck defines an outdoor room.
- Scale and balance within the garden
The size of your space will dictate the type of trees and shrubs you select. Think also about balancing horizontal plants with plants that have a vertical habit. With paved spaces, rockeries or decks be aware of not having too much of the same surface in too small of a space.
- Garden bones
Begin your garden beds by selecting the trees and shrubs first. Think about all seasons of the year and how some of the areas most visible from the house might look in the dead of winter. Think of the structure and form of deciduous plants and find out about plants that bloom in the winter, placing them near the entrance of your home so you can enjoy them.
- Garden or planting style
You may enjoy a number of garden styles or just a few. Think about planning your planting beds accordingly so you can enjoy experimenting with the styles you like.
- Color and texture
Many plants can become more prominent or special when planted next to a plant with special leaf color or texture. Once the bones of the garden are established begin to shop for plants with this in mind. With all the new plant material available each year, there will be no end to the fun you can have with this.
- Plant selection for a succession of bloom or interest
This will depend on your personal preference, but planning your plants such that your garden displays interest throughout the season is an important component of garden design.
- Structural elements in the garden
These are like punctuation points for the garden. The addition of arbors, gates, fences, water features, or garden art can enhance the feel of the garden and help highlight specific plants. This is a great way to make your garden unique and personal.