Ideas from garden designers over the world
All art, design and creative composition use the power of design elements to create the foundations of their creations. It pays to know these rules to create balance and harmony and to know when to leave them out.
Garden design is no different. We just use different media. This blog will deal with the first of the design elements most of us think about.
It’s good to think about how symmetry will affect your garden.
Does your house and personal sense of style call for a design that is symmetrical and completely balanced around a center.
This formal garden designed by Charlie Albone for Chelsea in 2016 is designed around a central path with mirror hedges, borders and lawns on either side. It is perfectly symmetrical and has that sense of order and calm that this style creates.
Asymmetry is my favorite way to balance a garden. I find fully symmetrical designs too constricting but I do want some form of balance and using an asymmetrical form suits this well.
The Beauty of Mathematics garden designed by Nick Bailey for Chelsea 2016 is a perfect asymmetrical garden.
The central path runs from the center of the front grey border on the lower left of the image below up to the back. The beautiful feature bowl of water and feature grass tree in the front of the image is placed on the front right of the garden. This feature is reflected opposite in the back left of the garden and the copper band etched with plant growth algorithms curves around from the right center, across the back to the back , left feature tree and down, enhancing the asymmetrical whorl which makes up the form of this garden. Beautiful and sophisticated.
Some gardens though call for a rambling design and any form of symmetry is not appropriate. Although take care if you follow this form as it can lead to a messy look.
Strongly associated with the notion of symmetry is the boundary you create in your garden. Every composition has a boundary. In gardens, especially small gardens this is usually the fence around the property. However, there are times when these boundaries don’t exist and then the borrowed landscape from next door is something to take into account – it will form part of you wider garden.
Also associated with the notion of symmetry are the focal points.
Most gardens are designed around one or more focal points.
Here the lovely garden created for Crabtree and Evelyn uses a beautiful copper still and timber shelter as a focal point to enhance the asymmetry of this garden. Designed by Jade Goto for Hampton Court in 2016
Lines are an essential element in most composition. They enhance the ideas of balance or symmetry you choose to use.
Pathways, walls, fences and hedges create very obvious lines.
This garden designed by Rae Wilkinson for Hampton Court uses line in a number of elements. The structured walls reflected in the blue planting are sure and create a strong form. But the blue line around the garden is more freeform.
But line can also be used within a garden to create a feature or create texture. The planning in this beautiful garden designed by Jekka McVicar for Chelsea 2016 has offset the circular central feature with whorls of planting in lines to create some order in the seemingly unordered colour and texture of the border.
Or they can be used to tale the eye towards a focal point or point of interest – the place to rest. Ben McDonald uses line in this otherwise free form front garden in Melbourne to the same effect.