Garden design is the art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Garden design may be done by the garden owner themselves, or by professionals of varying levels of experience and expertise. Most professional garden designers are trained in principles of design and in horticulture, and have an expert knowledge and experience of using plants. Some professional garden designers are also landscape architects, a more formal level of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license. Many amateur gardeners also attain a high level of experience from extensive hours working in their own gardens, through casual study, serious study in Master Gardener Programs, or by joining gardening clubs.
Garden owners have shown an increasing interest in garden design during the late twentieth century, both as enthusiasts of gardening as a hobby, as well as an expansion in the use of professional garden designers.
Whether a garden is designed by a professional or an amateur, certain principles form the basis of effective garden design, resulting in the creation of gardens to meet the needs, goals and desires of the users or owners of the gardens.
Elements of garden design include the layout of hard landscape, such as paths, walls, water features, sitting areas and decking; as well as the plants themselves, with consideration for their horticultural requirements, their season-to-season appearance, lifespan, growth habit, size, speed of growth, and combination’s with other plants and landscape features. Consideration is also given to the maintenance needs of the garden, including the time or funds available for regular maintenance, which can affect the choices of plants regarding speed of growth, spreading or self-seeding of the plants, whether annual or perennial, and bloom-time, and many other characteristics.
The most important consideration in garden design is how the garden will be used, followed closely by the desired stylistic genres, and the way the garden space will connect to the home or other structures in the surrounding areas. All of these considerations are subject to the limitations of the budgetary concerns for the particular project and time. Budget limitations can be addressed by a simpler more basic garden style with fewer plants and less costly hardscape materials, seeds rather than sod for lawns, and plants that grow quickly; alternately, garden owners may choose to create their garden over time, area by area, putting more into each section than could be handled all at once.
A garden’s location has a substantial influence on the garden design. Many of the great gardens of history and today possess a location that is topographically significant and has a suitable microclimate for plants, a well-designed connection to water, and rich soil. However, a good garden design, one that is well-planned and constructed, can increase the value of the garden more than its location.
The quality of a garden’s soil often has a significant influence on the success of the garden. Soil influences the availability of water and nutrients, the activity of beneficial soil organisms, and a wide variety of other factors important to plant growth.
Traditionally, garden soil is improved by amendment, the process of adding beneficial materials to the excavated native subsoil and topsoil. The materials, which may consist of compost, peat, sand, mineral dust, or manure, among others, are mixed with the excavated soil. The amount and type of amendment may depend on the ratio of clay to humus, and on the soil acidity or alkalinity. One source states that, “conditioning the soil thoroughly before planting enables the plants to establish themselves quickly and so play their part in the design.”
Recommendations regarding the scope of soil amendment may vary. One rule of thumb suggests that the gardener till and amend an area twice the size high and wide of any plant container. However, not all gardens are, or should be, amended in this manner. Since “many native plants prefer an impoverished soil, and the closer to their natural habitat they are in the garden, the better”. In this case, poor soil is better than a rich soil that has been artificially enriched.
The look of the garden can be influenced strongly by the boundary impinges. Planting can be used to modify the boundary line or a line between an area of rough grass and smooth, depending on the size of the plot. Introducing internal boundaries, perhaps in the form of hedges or group of shrubs, can help break up a garden.
Hedges vary their colors throughout the seasons dramatically. Hedges, being strong features in a garden, are often used to divide sections of the garden. However, since they use the moisture and nutrient from the garden soil to grow as well as other plants, they may not be a good choice and may bring a negative effect to the other plants.
Besides the boundaries that are made up of plants like the hedges, walls made up of various materials can be built between regions. There are broadly three types of walling material: stone, either random or coursed, brick, and concrete in its various forms. It is good to determine what color, size, and texture will be most appropriate for the garden before actually building the wall.
According to Brookes, fencing can offer an alternative solution, if the walls are too solid for the region of the garden. There are several numbers of fence types that can be used for a garden: animal-proof fence for country situations, peep-proof fences for the suburbs, and urban fences that provide shelter from the winds in exposed roof-top gardens and create internal barriers.
A residential or private domestic garden, is the most common form of garden and is in proximity to a residence, such as the ‘front or back garden.’ The front garden may be a formal and semi-public space and so subject to the constraints of convention and local laws. While typically found in the yard of the residence, a garden may also be established on a roof, in an atrium or courtyard, on a balcony, in windowboxes, or on a patio. Residential gardens are typically designed at human scale, as they are most often intended for private use. However, the garden of a great house or a large estate may be larger than a public park.
Residential gardens may feature specialized gardens, such as those for exhibiting one particular type of plant, or special features, such as rockery or water features. They are also used for growing herbs and vegetables and are thus an important element of sustainability – Courtesy of Wikipedia
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