What is Style?
Style can be many things to many people. For you it will be the unique way you arrange the materials that will make up your garden. Usually, creating garden designs with style is a compromise between your wants and your constraints. Wants will vary from person to person. A family with six energetic children might desire hardiness over aesthetics. A retired couple may want a more aesthetic garden. A homeowner in a new suburban neighborhood may want just anything to cover the dirt left by the developer. So wants can range from merely functional to wildly biodiverse landscapes.
It is common for gardens to have a theme around which the style is developed. Themes can be simple, as those based on a particular plant type or color. They can be complex, based on a particular period or trend. Whatever the theme may be, it can help unify your garden design by tying the various parts together. As well, it can help you decide on a style.
Themes can help unify your garden design by tying various parts togetherWhichever style you opt for, here are some stylistic tenets that gardeners should be aware of. Although these fundamentals may seem obvious to some, others may find this information welcome:
There is no ultimate garden design
The first rule of garden design is that there is no ultimate garden design. Your garden design should fit your site and your wants. There may be several wonderful designs that accomplish this. Your goal should be a garden that does what you want it to do and looks the way you want it to look.
Our goal is to help you achieve that goal. While there isn’t an ultimate garden design, there are successful and unsuccessful gardens!
Garden design takes time and vision
The notion of deferring your gratification is no better demonstrated than by gardening. Five years will pass quickly in retrospect, and remembering this when you plant can enhance your garden. Gardens grow and evolve, and you want to anticipate the mature growth of your plants. Resisting the temptation to fill in between plants that have been properly spaced when young will pay big dividends in aesthetic and personal satisfaction when they mature.
Focus on the design, not the plants
More often than not, plant arrangement is more important than the plants: if you just plant a bunch of your favorite plants, you will have a garden which is limited to a jumble of your favorite plants. If you design your garden and choose plants that are appropriate to your constraints and theme, you can have a healthy, interesting, and beautiful garden.
Nothing is etched in stone
From time to time you may see a mistake in the design of your garden or selection of your plants. Sometimes a plant won’t thrive, or it doesn’t fit in the way you hoped. Before losing any sleep you should look at your discovery as a positive experience. Simply put, not all gardening mistakes are bad and usually all of them are learning opportunities. Often you can correct things easily, and over time your tastes may change in favor of the ‘mistake’. If a particular plant type keeps dying, try to find out why. Or try a different plant. If something looks out of place, move it. Don’t be afraid to change and experiment. That is often the real joy of gardening, and you can get a lot of gardening wisdom by dealing with adversity.
Look at other gardens
If you see a garden design that someone else has created and you like it there is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from it. Then you can enhance or personalize it as your site requires. You may like the selection of plant materials or just the curves that were used in another design. You can let other gardens inspire your creativity—you have to start somewhere.
Learn about plants
The more plants you are familiar with the better you will be able to choose plants that fit your design requirements. Also, the more plants you know the more creative you can be. Websites, blogs, books, magazines, and friendly suggestions can help considerably. In gardening as with most things, knowledge is power. Anything that can supplement your experience should be welcomed.
Rules are meant to be broken
In this module we teach you about the elements of garden style. If you use our advice you will produce better garden designs. However, that doesn’t mean these concepts have to be steadfastly followed. Many pioneering designers have broken with conventional wisdom and gone on to produce some remarkable landscapes.