Ideas are at the heart of garden design and they can come from many sources:
- ideas about art
- ideas about design
- ideas from religion and philosophy
- ideas about colour
- ideas about climate
- ideas about garden functions
- ideas about planting design
- ideas about gardens in history
We do not recommend historic ’styles’ as a basis for garden design. This is because heritage gardens were made under different social, conceptual and technical conditions. But we are very much in favour of maintaining historic gardens ‘in the style to which they were accustomed’. You would not want to see MDF in a historic house and you would not, we hope, want to see modern hybrid plants in an important historic garden.
BUT if you do have a historic garden then it is very important to have as full a knowledge of possible of the historic style category to which it belongs. The above chart, from Tom Turner’s book on Garden History, represents the historic styles of western garden design in diagramatic form. There is also a detailed explanation of the styles, with a great deal of reference material, in the Garden History Reference Encyclopedia CD. Or there is an eBook on 24 Historic Styles of Garden Design.
Make good compost
(image courtesy Anne Norman )
Its true: you can buy cheap garden furniture from your local DIY or garden store. But you will get what you pay for. So if you pay more you will get more. These beautifully made curved benches fit the curves of one’s bottom and help with the definition of outdoor space – which is of course the main issue in garden design.
A circular bed can be the focus of a garden design
‘Beware of circles’ is the standard advice, from this website, to designers. But if you have a circular feature at the heart of a design then the other circles can become ripples and the idea can work. The garden furniture, both hard and soft, in this design is weather-proof. With a larger canopy the bed could serve as an occasional guest room for hardy visitors.
Water vapour mist can be the focus of a garden design
Water features do not have to be made with liquid water: they can also be formed with water vapour. It tends to settle on the surrounding plants and thus produces the damp humid conditions which some plant species most enjoy