When you’re thinking of your own living space, your mind will instantly go to your house, the rooms you live in every day. Many people don’t consider their gardens part of their home as well, although this space is so widely associated with comfort and leisure. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the garden to be wholly neglected when it comes to renovation work. So, it’s not unusual to see houses or apartments that look like they came straight out of the latest issue of an interior design magazine while the garden is doing rather poorly.
If you’ve been thinking about pampering your garden and giving it a makeover, it might be time to look for a style that’s a little different from the ones you would usually choose. Here are a few that can provide you with inspiration.
If the chief characteristics of French style and design you’re thinking of are sophistication, with plenty of natural materials, muted colours and a blend of geometric and natural shapes, then you’re absolutely correct. These gardens are known for their stylish, polished features, so if you’re a fan of the more manicured look for your garden, this is the design you need to opt for.
While the French garden might look effortless, it’s actually a very structured design, so you need to take asymmetry into account. Make sure that you take symmetry into account. Look into how the layout of the garden blends in with that of your home. When it comes to plants, you need to remember to trim them regularly to maintain their geometric shape.
The best way to do this is to check for the best planters for your greenery, such as those offered by elho. You can choose from a wide array of different styles, whether you prefer something traditional or more modern. All of the options feature different innovative designs, such as elevated bottoms that can provide better aeration and rugged textures that are frost-resistant.
There are also several colour palettes and decorative patterns you can choose from. If you want to make sure the pots you choose are sustainable, look for options made from recycled plastic, mostly derived from marine waste such as fishing nets. Selecting suitable flower pots will allow you to experiment with other shapes, including triangles or circles. Just because the French garden is highly stylized doesn’t mean there’s no room for creativity.
For the rest of the garden, you should consider working with stone. Gravel paths are a classic addition, as is stonework. You can even use these beautiful features in a practical way to keep weeds away from the pathways at all times. Sculptures, as are fountains and basins, are one of the most common elements in French gardens.
If the French style is the epitome of class and sophistication, the English garden is at the opposite end of the spectrum, placing more emphasis on the informal and unstructured. The best place to look for inspiration is the traditional cottage gardens in the UK, widely recognized for their domestic look, with an eclectic jumble of plants, often planted in close proximity to one another.
English gardens play with organic shapes and features and an extensive colour palette. Green hedges are a must, as are trees. If you’re dealing with space constraints, just one or two will suffice, but if that’s not an issue, you’ll want to bring more shrubs into your garden. The quintessential plants you should have in a garden that follows this design are the English roses, coming in various shades of pink. If you have an eye for chromatics, you’ll know how to blend the warm pink Zephirine Drouhin with the pale pink New Dawn or Pearly Gates subtypes.
Boxwood shrubs are ubiquitous in English-style gardens, albeit in the ones looking to achieve a more formal design. Make sure you add pops of colour everywhere in the form of plants such as the blue iris, catmint herbs, hydrangeas, lavender, daisies, daffodils and wisteria. You can also plant vegetables in an English garden since the general style lends itself much better to utilitarian features as well. However, the kitchen garden is traditionally separate from the one featuring ornamental plants. Some of the most common crops found in the potager are carrots, spinach, parsley, orach, garlic, onions, parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, gourds and celery.
Japanese dry garden
Japan has a wide array of traditional gardens incorporating different aspects of the nation’s aesthetics. There are three main ideas:
- Sabi: Referring to the beauty of ageing items and materials
- Yugen: The grace and mystery associated with beauty
- Wabi: The transience and imperfection of beauty
As such, Japanese aesthetic considerations focus on avoiding excessive ornamentation and drawing attention to the beauty of the natural landscape. The Japanese dry garden, also known as the zen garden, features rock arrangements, moss, trees, bushes and shrubs, as well as sand and water features. When setting out to create a Japanese garden, you should know that the aim is to mimic the natural world and recreate the shapes of rivers, waterfalls and islands, only in miniature form.
Rock arrangements shouldn’t be too symmetrical or placed in a straight line. Combine tall, vertical rocks with reclining or flat ones. Gravel and sand are also commonly used. In monastery gardens, monks practise raking as a way to assist in concentration and meditation. If you want to get gravel into your garden, you must be prepared to maintain it at least twice a month.
If you want to adopt similar concepts to a smaller space, you can draw inspiration from tsubo-niwa. These indoor gardens are a traditional feature of the machiya, the Japanese townhouse. Their primary purpose was to provide a touch of nature, and despite their diminutive nature, you can also add various features to them, such as a moss lawn, stone or wood basins, as well as different types of plants such as ferns, grasses, bamboo and creeping plants.
Gardens are an integral part of a home, as they’re the place where you can relax and unwind. If you don’t like going for long walks but still feel like spending time outdoors, they offer the best of both worlds. However, you won’t be tempted to lounge around in your garden if you haven’t made an effort to maintain it. Having a beautiful garden takes time and practice, but it’s worth it in the end.