image Margaret Hunt
Please don’t be ‘put off’ by all this information about points of consideration in judging a garden. Rather, treat it as background knowledge to various elements found in a garden, which are subliminal and most probably you’ve unwittingly used them in your garden anyway. Your garden is your haven and primarily used either to enhance your home or to give you an outlet for your artistic, mental or physical well-being and to bring you joy. This in turn when shared with others makes it all worth the effort.
Garden Design – is generally the artistic principles to your garden. Aspects such as layout, colour, use of line, form and texture are important. Your garden should have ‘flow’ (encouraging a visitor to your garden to keep moving through into another or new vista) and also be a place that a visitor would feel comfortable.
Line – line is a useful design element. Everything in your garden involves line – either in the trunk of a tree, a borrowed landscape outside your property, or where the lawn ends and your garden beds begin. A footpath, driveway or fence are more obvious examples of line.
Line can be described in a number of ways – curved, straight, horizontal and vertical. None is more important than the others, each has its different impact on your garden. Strong lines can draw your eye into the landscape, directing both where the visitor will look and also where they’ll go.
Curved lines shape informal garden beds and add interest to pathways. Straight lines evoke a sense of order and a crispness which might appeal to some.
Soothing horizontal lines create a sense of stability for example the fence in the background of the above image. Vertical lines project a sense of strength and movement – as in the structural and solid lines of the tall timber in the image above.
Texture – is something that entices us to touch, so is an emotional response to what we’re looking at. The characteristics of texture divide plants into three basic groups – course, medium and fine. Texture is not only limited to textural differences in foliage and flowers but also garden structures and additions can be used as well.
Form – the form and shape of plants and other objects in a garden work to divide space, enclose areas and to provide architectural interest. For example, grouping plants often displays their shape, texture and colour for fantastic effect.
Layout – think of it as a trouble-shooting and problem-solving process that makes your garden more livable and enjoyable. Changes that have been made to create privacy screen; dealing with an eroding slope; creating a beautiful view from inside the house; building a storage shed; creating a sun-filled veggie patch, these are all how you get good layout for your garden.
Colour – this is your opportunity to let it rip! Colour can be achieved in so many ways – flower colours, foliage, hard landscapes, painting structures. Create repetition of colours throughout your garden, plant in layers small to the front and large to the back to give depth to your garden. Play off containers, add interest in your garden with statement-making containers.