Archives for December 2010

Wow Factor Gardens Secrets

Creating a garden with the ‘Wow!’ Factor is easier than you think, if you follow 3 simple rules.

Modern garden

Garden Designed Rachel Mathews Photograph by N. Townley

The reason few people have a really fantastic garden is because the route to creating them is somewhat counterintuitive…

1. Keep It Simple!

Simple? But I want Wow! Factor, I hear you cry. How can Simple = Wow? Let’s have an example. Think about the most beautiful car you’ve ever seen, picture it in detail.

Now try and imagine that same car with a pyramid shaped bonnet, a flat roof and a ski slope shaped rear! How is it looking? Not quite so sleek, huh? Forgetting for a moment it’s completely impractical, you probably wouldn’t want to be seen driving around your neighbourhood in it.

In a nutshell, simple coherent shapes work the best. It doesn’t matter if it’s a car or the shape of your lawn, simple shapes make good design, which always tops overcomplicated.

2.  Use The Rule Of Three When Choosing  Materials

It can be easy to overcomplicate the choice of materials in the garden. As in our first example, too much creates a chaotic effect. If you stick to the simple rule of three, you won’t go wrong.

The three rule doesn’t apply to plants, but hard landscaping materials like paving, gravel and walls.

Just make sure that you don’t use any more than three different types of hard landscaping material. So, for example, if you have a patio, you can mix one type of paving with some gravel and incorporates bricks and it will look good. Start to add in tiles, cobbles and a wall using a different type of brick and you’ll have a hotchpotch which will look ugly.

Think of it like adding clothes to your body. Do you want to wear 10 different textured fabrics that don’t match, or have a coherent outfit using three or less fabrics?

3. Plants Are The Finishing Touch Not The Starting Point

Blasphemy, I know! This is often the hardest part for people to take on board. We all love plants. They are what makes the garden a garden, surely? Well, yes and no.

Creating a fantastic looking garden is a bit like baking a cake. The ingredients have to go in the right amount and most importantly, in the right order. Plants are the icing on the cake, they are not cake itself.

When you’ve created a beautiful but simple shape lawn and patio area, then it is time to add the plants (the decoration). Think about how effective it would be, if you added the icing sugar and cherries before the cake had baked. Can you imagine what a mess that would be?

Unfortunately, the same thing happens if you start out by trying to put the plants in before you have shaped the main areas of your garden.  Your lawn is likely to end up a random shape that doesn’t create interest or make the garden look and feel more spacious.

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes to learn more…

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