Some people want to go beyond the simple beauty of the greenery, and wish to impose order upon the more fluid shapes of nature, thus creating something that’s a work of art and a celebration of precision. It is this precision that forms the basis of formal garden design. If you have a desire to include a formal garden design in your own home garden, it helps to know where to start.
Clean Lines Are Important
A formal garden design in a landscape typically is achieved by placing plants to conform strictly to a geometric design theme. A formal garden design is distinguished by clean lines that define an area rather than natural, organic shapes. You can accomplish this by the use of tightly growing plants, hedges in particular, to define those lines. For those who are looking to incorporate formal garden design into their landscape, the simplest way to get started is to plant a hedgerow around a flower bed, enclosing your plants while using the hedge to provide a border. Another way to achieve a formal appearance is to repeat identical planting beds, color schemes or sculpture along an axis. Repeating a plant in a grouping or as a hedge, or using the same plant throughout a garden also are common design techniques used to achieve a formal look.
Accentuate The Pattern
A formal look also is usually based on classic design concepts such as symmetry. Symmetry means lining an axis such as a walkway or strip of lawn with the same type of plants. As you grow more proficient in the substantial upkeep that a formal garden design requires, you may wish to find ways to further highlight those lines. This is where paving and gravel can come into play, using them to fill negative spaces, defining walkways and even creating interplays of color that work with the plants used in your informal garden design. If you get to the point where your formal garden design is incorporating these elements, you’ll probably have something that looks like a stunning, small park.
Plant selection important because some plants such as lynden and ornamental pear have a uniform appearance that naturally support a formal look. Evergreen plants such as spruce or white fir also have a consistent appearance that can create a dramatic, formal look. Plants with a consistent appearance also require less maintenance such as shearing and trimming.
A feature in many intricate formal garden designs is topiary. Where sculptures are created out of tight evergreen bushes or hedges. While you certainly wouldn’t expect someone new to topiary to suddenly start crafting elaborate sculptures out of the hedges, the process of coaxing the hedges to define the lines of your garden, in essence, contains the basics of topiary. If you do want to somehow incorporate this in your formal garden design, you should keep in mind that doing so requires patience and a steady hand when cutting.
For a basic topiary design to add to your formal garden, try using techniques to coax smooth curves in your hedges, helping the shape of your garden to flow. Or, if you still have something that’s got a lot of right angles and corners, start growing shapes at the corners to add decoration; think of the ornaments you see at the corners on fancy staircases and molding in architecture. By incorporating topiary into your formal garden design, you can take basic lines and create art, all adding up to a beautiful, green space in your home.
Gardening for most of us can be a task that is difficult, but one that slowly rewards us only after the coaxing and nurturing plants to create something beautiful. Stay true to the task, take a step and the next will be revealed.