A garden is a play of space and volumes, of structure and nature. It is also essential to integrate the garden into the landscape and the landscape into the garden. One can translate the love of gardens and great affinity for nature into a strongly nature-inspired garden with some great theories and concept without fashionable frivolities and trendy gadgets.
Space and volume
When designing a garden, it is primarily to create space. Whether it is a small urban garden or a large landscaped garden, always try to evoke a spacious feeling and strive for harmonious spaces where it is pleasant to stay. This often starts with the driveway and garages to create a kind of forecourt, if possible, surrounded by trees or hedge volumes, creating an attractive reception area.
In the garden try enhancing natural slopes or accentuating them by, for example, a hedge following the slope, or by a succession of hedge volumes pruned at different heights. By working with generous water features. Or by demarcating clear areas with hedges, with rows of trees, with spindles or trunk-trimmed hornbeams.
Trees are essential in a garden just because of their volume, and of course also because of their great natural value. Always use trees in the gardens, as solitary, in the form of a lane, a row of trees or an orchard, to create a small grove. They structure the space, accompany a path, are often a source of wonder, and sometimes also form the link to the surrounding landscape.
Even in a small city garden, try to use trees, for example to create an intimate terrace, to avoid any view or to hide an unpleasant view. But also purely as a volume, as a formal element. A good example of the latter is a narrow front garden along a busy street. Try planting a triple row of pruned hornbeams that form one green volume that must counterbalance the tall building. This is repeated in the backyard, where a rectangular terrace with pond is framed by a rectangle of hornbeam on trunk.
The use of substantial hedge volumes to bridge the difference in level on strongly sloping terrain is another great idea. The high slopes created as a result are planted with meter-high and wide hedge of hornbeam. This not only provides a very powerful graphic element in the garden, but also a strong spatial effect. On the highest lawns, these gigantic hedges form a green border of barely 60 cm, so that the view of the surrounding landscape is fully preserved.
Garden and landscape
This is another essential characteristic of many gardens: the extremely attentive use of the surrounding landscape. Create a beautiful garden environment, and to close the garden with hedges or walls probably is one of the favorite designer ideas.
Before attempting any landscaping project, take a walk around the existing garden to see if there is any original untouched meadow, pond or spruce forest landscape that are worth saving. Sometimes even in a small area, there are often little elements in the immediate vicinity that are worth involved in the garden planning.
Landscape and garden
The relationship between garden and landscape works in two directions. It’s not just about what the landscape means to your garden, but also what your garden does to the landscape. Not only what you see from the garden, but also how you see the garden from the landscape is important.
As far as the garden is concerned, you often see a disturbing fence, conifers or other trees or shrubs that do not fit there, a lawn that comes close to the plot boundary and curses with the immediate surroundings. We can try to make the garden blend into the whole, so that it can even enrich the landscape. The use of local trees, shrubs, hedges and fruit trees can greatly increase the attractiveness and the natural value. Here are a few recommended shrubs and bushes, such as hydrangeas and butterfly bushes, shrub roses and viburnums, Stephanandra and Symphoricarpos. Try to use trees and shrubs that already exist in the area or at least plants that have a view or growth habit and also match the environment in terms of scale. Avoid at all costs to replace it with purely decorative plants or structures that are completely at odds with the landscape. You can place it in a separate garden area, but not openly exposed in the landscape.
Ornamental grasses in so-called “natural” planting schemes have a rather unnatural or too dominant inflorescence sometimes. But by choosing grasses that do have a natural look, such as Panicum virgatum and Descampsia cespitosa, they can often be used very effectively to soften the transition between garden and landscape.
Another “trick” to involve the landscape in the garden and to make the garden blend into the environment better is to repeat certain elements of the landscape in the garden. This can be, for example, an alder grove, a pollard willow row or a stream. But careful with that because it quickly becomes a pastiche. It cannot be the intention to copy the landscape in your garden.
To reconcile the garden and the landscape, wherever possible, to plant hedges and rows of trees not on the plot boundary, but a few meters away. This way you not only have the impression that the landscape continues into the garden or vice versa, but you also get an extra walking trail around the garden. That is very important in a garden, that you can walk around in it. Even in small gardens, always map out walking trails, so you can experience the garden much more.
Structure and nature
In order to elevate the tension between nature and structure landscaped garden or a more “natural” looking garden section, introduce a more formal or austere structural element in the form of a striking hedge or row of trees, a sculptural pruning form, a rose border, a clematis garden or a hydrangea promenade. While in a more formal garden or garden area try to create a piece of “wildness” through lavish planting.
This tension between structure and nature is also often noticeable in the handling of water. Close to the house, create a sleek, formal pond that matches the architecture of the house or the formal structure of the garden. But a little further in the garden there is often a more natural pond, or an existing moat that is extended into the garden or that flows into a pond. Combining both, with a tightly defined pond near the house that turns into a more organically designed water feature with bank plants or a marsh biotope for a “more natural” effect.