Retro-Fit Garden Rooms

Retro-Fit Garden Rooms

“The way you view a garden is basically the route your eyes take as you look at it. If you try to take in the whole garden with one glance, chances are it’s going to be quite boring. Ideally, you want to be able to go from one point of interest to another and experience an interesting visual journey.” Successful Garden Design–Rachel Matthews

I’m a plant lover.

My garden is an un-designed melange of plants often planted singly, and located according to the plant’s needs, not the design’s needs. Now in some ways that’s a good thing–locate a plant according to its needs, and you get a happy plant, often a self-propagating plant, and a plant that requires a minimum of extra care. But a lot of healthy, cool, colourful or bold looking plants doesn’t necessarily make for a great looking garden.

Block of Colour

One of the principles of garden design is using enough of the same plant to create a block of colour or texture. For example, a wave of feather grass, or a patch of Blue Salvia. This allows the eye to settle in one spot before moving on the the next, giving a sense of smooth movement to the garden bed(s). But the plant-lover/acquirer doesn’t have room for many of the same thing–after all, there are so many wonderful plants that would be happy in my garden, why have just the Blue Salvia or just the feather grass, when in the same space I could have the salvia and feather grass, and echinacea, and peonies, and delphinium, and, and, and…

Separate Sections

So for the person who has to (addictively) buy beg or otherwise acquire more and more plants, one design tactic you could employ is separating sections with something large enough to hide what is behind, creating a bit of a “secret garden” effect. Might be a shrub or tree, or several to create a hedge.

DSCN2499

This espaliered apple tree could be a garden “wall divider”. In my non-designed yard it’s a “lawn divider”.

Could be an arbour, or wall, with or without plants trailing up or down. Maybe art work. These all have the added bonus of drawing the eye upwards instead of always being on the same plane.

Even if you find yourself with a jam-packed garden bed and no room left for anything, you can look around for a suitable spot where you could divide the garden bed.

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These teepees are for peas to climb. But they could easily be for clematis. Or they could be more substantial structures/obelisks that would sustain more vigorous climbers.

You’ll have to dig up something in order to plant/position your divider, but then odds are you can replant whatever came up.

This Sambucus (Black Elderberry) 'Black Beauty' forms a dense shrub with light pink flowers later in spring. Can be small tree-height.

This Sambucus (Black Elderberry) ‘Black Beauty’ forms a dense shrub with light pink flowers later in spring. Can be small tree-height. It can also be hard-pruned to keep it small.

Retro-Design

Try to think of your garden in terms of areas/sections/rooms, and then create them with these wall dividers. Your jumble of colours and textures will take on a different character as the garden is “retro-designed” to create transition and flow.

As always, would love to hear your comments and questions.

 

 

 

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