Are you looking to create a garden that invites, envelopes and impresses from the initial viewing? Visitors stand in awe of great gardens, and you’ll be hungry to spend more time in your outdoor space when it’s created with impressions in mind. A well thought out garden design combines good form, flowers and foliage and permanent features, presenting a space that reveals your character and leaves a fabulous first impression.
CONSIDER THE FORM OF YOUR GARDEN
No matter how large or small your garden, the space can be designed with good form in mind. Think about the flow of foot traffic and how sunlight travels across your property. Plan for a meandering pathway that takes you beside, through and into flowerbeds, herb gardens and flowering shrubs.
Remember to use the shape of your gardens to draw the eye from that first moment. Curved edges and winding paths create flow, and should always direct feet and vision to a focal point. Do you have an interesting tree or prize-winning shrub? How about an intricate trellis or an intimate patio? Any of these features, and countless others, can become the focal point of your garden. Now design the physical and visual flow to point the way.
PLANTING THE IDEAL FLOWERS
Plant flowers that create a fabulous first impression at any time of year. From the spring’s burst of life to the mature beauty of autumn, and right through the chilly months of winter, your garden design should include flowers and plants covering all seasons.
Concentrate on foliage, instead of flowers. Many plants present stunning foliage from early spring to late winter. Others leave intriguing seed heads for winter interest. Use these specimens as the anchors in your garden design and sprinkle colourful blooms around for highlights. Mix coloured foliage with variegated leaves, use thick evergreen shrubs to frame your beds or plant ivy and climbing roses to cover arbours and pergolas.
Think about contrasts as well, planting specimens with delicate foliage amidst other flowers with larger or thicker leaves. Try grasses like Muhlenburgia dumosa alongside astilbe or pair stately irises with the wisps of a Stipa tenuissima. Experts recommend creating a canopy in your garden – including layers of plantings that grow well together and form a mini-eco system on your property.
MAKING USE OF PERMANENT FEATURES
Permanent or large-scale garden features are important to first impressions. What structures will add seating and relaxation in your garden? Wooden decks can transform an uneven area into functional living space and garden sofas can turn it into an outdoor living room. How does your space engage the senses and stir emotions? The soothing sounds of water fountains or the cool atmosphere of a stone patio appeal to your soul and evoke a mood. Do you need to create privacy with fences or wooden screens? Consider wood frames with greenery woven throughout, or construct a unique screen to suit the area.
Think carefully about the overall atmosphere of the space, as well as the functionality. Imagine how the area looks from the entranceway and begin to tap into that atmosphere immediately, using pergolas over the gates, stone pathways and other permanent features.
Gardens tend to evolve, and good garden design often takes time to develop. Jump start that process by considering the form of your garden, how flowers and foliage combine and which permanent features to include. These elements help to create a garden design that leaves a fabulous first impression.
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