Key Elements of Garden Design for Today’s Homeowner

One of the saddest commentaries on life in the 21st Century is the fact that homeowners have forgotten what a real garden is like. Today, we think of a garden as simply a small area of land where a few flowers or vegetables grow. If you want to add beauty, elegance, and serenity to your property, it’s time to look at traditional English gardens. This is where you’ll develop a better appreciation for what a garden is meant to be and how these key elements are used.


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Sometimes referred to as “garden bones,” tiers are the foundation or body of a garden. This simply means that a garden should never be flat. You’ll have plants of varying heights and this is what forms the structure. However, you must start with the garden bones before adding the other elements listed below. It would be like trying to build homes from the inside out. You need a foundation before you can build!


Before moving on to the vegetation in your garden, it’s important to plan pathways to walk so that you can gaze upon your plants or care for them without stepping into sodden soil or grass. As a suggestion, these pathways should be built with materials like decomposed granite which has been sealed and stabilized. This kind of pathway requires little maintenance and will last for many years.


Just as you want your garden space to have tiers (garden bones) so that it isn’t one flat blur, you want your flowers and foliage to have texture as well. This means that some plants will have broad leaves and others will have narrow leaves. Some will be soft and billowy while others are firm and upright.


Choosing the colors of your plants is going to be one of the most difficult challenges you will encounter. So many gardeners use a hodgepodge of color because they believe a garden should be colorful. While that is true, some colors just don’t work well with each other and some colors may do better seasonally. For example, spring flowers tend to be pastel and gentle while summer colors are bold and bright. In the autumn, your plants should be earthy tones of brown, orange, and perhaps a splattering of deep golden-yellow. Choose your colors to coincide with growth cycles and always choose those that complement each other so that the transition from color to color is smooth.


While you will have birds chirping in the background and insects buzzing around, it isn’t every day that you will hear the gentle whisper of the wind. Most gardens add a fountain because there is nothing more peaceful than the sound of running water.


Finally, lighting is important for a few reasons. Not only can you highlight certain plants and shrubs in the dark evening hours, but you can also use a bit of lighting so that you can go out at night to enjoy this little haven that brings you so much joy. Lighting should be both functional and decorative, so keep ambient lighting in mind.

Bearing in mind these key elements, you are now ready to begin designing your own garden. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take your time and plan your garden space well. Some elements like garden bones you just can’t go back and add. Take time planning and you will have the garden of your dreams.


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