Natural curves are the key to creative gardening the secret of successful garden design.
Natural curves are the key to creative gardening the secret
of successful garden design is to follow the lesson of nature, and plan the
design in flowing curves rather than in geometric patterns.
Most gardens are boxed shape, following the lines of the boundaries
with a rectangular lawn surrounded by straight borders, and the viewers eye is
carried to the back fence and the corners. A better way is to create a layout
that emphasises the boundaries of the garden rather than the garden itself. And
regardless of how thoroughly the fences may be covered with climbers, they are
still among the most dominant features.
But the borders do not have to follow the straight lines of
the boundaries; the lawn does not have to be a square or a rectangle in the centre
of the garden. In nature, lines are rarely straight. The folds of a hill, the long
arc of a beach, the meandering of a river, are all examples of how, curve occur
under natural conditions. A sweeping curve of this type has a vigour that carries
the eye along it. By designing the lawn in a strong sweeping line, the eye is
led around the garden rather than to its boundaries. At the same time, a curved
lawn creates planting borders of varying depths. This allows trees or large
shrubs to be planted in the wider areas to give height to the garden, or to
produce a particularly handsome plant-grouping. These sweeping borders add greater
interest to the garden, as they are not visible from all parts of the garden. They
can contain unexpected surprises, such as a clump of bright crocuses on a winter’s
day, a small sheltered garden seat or rose arbour, or a small pool. A large
garden may have two or three curves in the lawn on either side, meeting in a
broad sweep at the bottom. It is best in such cases to avoid the wide parts of
the borders falling opposite each other, as they are likely to create a series of
artificial waists, cutting the garden into separate sections. It will then look
regimented, and the design contrived. The vegetable and fruit garden, together with
compost heap, incinerator and shed, should where possible be screened from the
Screening can be by
an evergreen hedge, a row of trees, a rose pergola or even a temporary screen
of sweet peas, gladioli or dahlias. However, any screen should follow and
complement the lawn shape. A small garden may be designed with only a single
lawn curve running from one corner near the house to the diagonally opposite corner,
leaving the other two sides straight.
Even this reduces the box effect, and at the same time
creates a border which broadens behind the curve to hide the compost heap and
the incinerator. Before setting out to re-plan a garden, take stock of all the
existing features, both good and bad, inside the garden and beyond its boundaries.Where a tree in a neighbouring garden provides an attractive
feature, there is no point in obscuring it with trees or high shrubs of your
own. They would either detract from the neighbouring tree or compete with it. Try
to plan a recess in the border to focus the view towards it. However, where an
ugly view appears on the skyline, such as a factory chimney in the distance or
a house wall close by, try to plan a peak in the border for trees or high
shrubs. Also consider the time, work and money you are prepared to invest in
the garden. Sheds and trees may be unfavourably sited, but the work and expense
involved in removing or re-siting them may be too great. A mature tree may not
be well placed, but having it felled may reveal an ugly eyesore. And so it may
be best to include the tree in the new plan. An established tree can be
included in a border by curving the lawn line past it. The tree then becomes a
focal point in the border peak, and leaves the lawn uncluttered and easier to
mow. Do not attempt to complete a design and planting scheme in one season.
First establish the basic design of the lawn curves and the resulting borders.
Finally, the dry stone dividing wall rose pergola or small pool can all be
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