Garden Design: How do You Enjoy Plants?

Well ordered rows of pelargoniums and salvias or elegant drifts of lavender or exuberant muddles of poppies and peonies? There are no rules, but remember plants can enhance a good design or emphasize a bad one. They look best when grouped together against a strong framework of walls, hedges, paths and steps.

Most people who visit a garden centre buy a plant on impulse. It looks attractive and healthy and it makes a good show; it looked even better when it was part of the display. But where does this new plant fit into the existing planting scheme of your garden? More often than not it does not fit, it is the wrong colour, the wrong shape or needs special soil conditions. The plant is left standing around and eventually dies. A shopping list can prevent this sort of sad story.

Consider the following categories of plants for your garden:

Trees and Shrubs

These may be shapely or shaped by you. They will be the most striking forms in the garden and will determine or emphasize the shape of the garden. A good number should be evergreen so that the shape does not fall away in winter.

Climbing Plants

Do you have an ugly shed or bare wall you want to hide? Climbers can be trained over them, but additionally you can create a vertical garden with arches, trellises, pergolas, all festooned with plants blooming in sequence through the year.

Herbaceous Plants

Amongst the framework of your architectural plants and structures for climbers you can plan the surge of flowers and foliage through the seasons and around your garden. You might want to highlight a particular season: the first bulbs of spring are always a cheerful token of the new year, for example, but try all the same to plan for a succession of effects so that each month brings a new and exciting event. A garden is not only about enjoying the present display but also about looking forward to the next.


Grass is the most common ground-cover; it is open, restful to the eye and you can sit on it, but you do need a minimum area for it to be useful. There are many shrubs and flowering plants that will cover ground that are attractive and will enhance the garden.

20. March 2017 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Flower Beds/Borders, Flower Gardens, Front Gardens | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Garden Design: How do You Enjoy Plants?


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