Garden Ideas l Select your Garden Theme or Garden Style

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Six garden ideas to help you choose the best garden theme for you

A number of factors can influence the garden style you choose for your garden. For example, the style of the house, your personal taste and the climate need to be taken into consideration. There are a great number of different garden themes you can choose to create an exciting functional garden space.

The Contemporary Garden

To create a restrained contemporary garden use contemporary materials and ornaments. The contemporary garden is usually sleek, sophisticated, uncluttered and minimalist in looks. It can be striking and elegant. It is best to create the scheme using some of the same or similar materials used in the house. Brushed aluminum furniture or stainless steel table and chairs work well in this sort of garden. Trees and bamboo in containers can be used for focal points. They can create vertical contrasts when used on paving. They can also be used to screen utility areas of the garden or unsightly views. Potted Bamboo placed against a wall can be very effective. Glass spheres can add shine and sparkle. Placed in a bed of pebbles, with stones or as part of a water feature and lighting they can add a sense of drama. The contemporary garden has limited colors. Green dominates with may be a bright red (or another strong color) item. Plants are selected to emphasis shape and texture. The best trees to place in containers are the box elder, the ash leafed maple, Japanese maple, Japanese angelica tree, the crab apple, Bosnian pine and the dwarf mountain pine.

The English Garden

The English garden style creates a sense of nostalgia. Roses, old-fashioned climbers and weathered bricks add to the illusion. The colors selected should be delicate and the scents subtle. Meandering paths in an informal design with period features add to the theme. Arches, arbours, old stone sculptures and statues with vintage style seating create an old world charm. The best plants to use in an English garden are bulbs, flowering shrubs, old-fashioned roses in pink, pale yellow, violet and white. Primroses, geraniums, peonies, camellias, iris, magnolias and hydrangeas planted in hidden island beds along the meandering path add to the romance and mystic of the English garden.

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The Simple Modern Garden

The modern garden is disciplined, restrained and is made up of a few simple elements. Space is left to allow an appreciation of the line, shape, form and color of each item in the garden. Raised beds and split-level decking with a small cascade can create interest. A limited number of species of plants add to the simplicity of the modern garden. Architectural plants work best in this style of garden. The term architectural plant usually refers to plants that have huge distinctive leaves. They often have characteristic shapes for example the yucca. The Buxus (box) and Taxus (yew) are also considered architectural because they can be trimmed into geometric shapes, columns, pyramids and spheres. The best plants to use within the modern garden are the cabbage tree, cabbage palm, Italian cypress, beech and American angelica tree. Some grasses can be added; the giant reed, reed grass and feather grass. To keep with the simple theme no accessories are added.

The Small Garden

If you have young children and a small space great care needs to be taken to ensure the compromises made in the design allow for future development. Flexibility is the key here; as the children grow the needs of the family change. A children’s play area and a patio were the children can be easily viewed and supervised is of supreme importance. The play area can be covered with bark chips as lawn would wear easily and tend to be muddy in winter. Ensure the safety of the children. Rubber surfaces provide a better grip than wood or metal in play equipment. Shade is also important. Space for the barbeque, outside dining and plenty of storage space adds to the functionality of the small garden. Raised garden beds can be designed to include seating and can become an interesting feature especially in a flat level garden. Screens can also create interest. Safe planting that is easy to maintain with no potentially dangerous water features are the best choice in this instance. The best plants for a small garden are small ornamental and fruit trees to add height. Easy care shrubs, perennials and climbers can also be added. Establishing a kitchen garden can be a positive experience for children.

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The Formal Garden

The formal garden is usually symmetrical in design, level with close-cropped lawns. Red bricks used to create a central pathway, a pergola with steps leading down or up into the garden with knot inspired formations of beds and lawns are features within this landscape. Box hedges with lots of roses and topiary hedges can be used to define the garden spaces. The red brick, box hedged straight path can lead down from the rose covered pergola to a formal seat or water feature or statue used as a focal point. Various roses rambling, climbing, dwarf and bush roses are used with standard roses and shrubs. Privet hedging with in season flowers can be used. Evergreen hedges trimmed to create a niche for a clipped laurus robblis (Bay) in a container are often used in the formal garden to add to the formality of the scene.

Mediterranean Garden

Places with hot dry summers can accommodate this style of garden. Glazed tiled patios, terracotta tiles, pottery, rendered walls painted white, blue or orange are features of the Mediterranean garden. Tiled/mosaic pictures or wall murals with a fountain or pond of crystal clear water are common additions.  The best plants for the Mediterranean garden are Fig trees and pelargonium in pots. The yucca and the globe thistle are also suitable. Large terracotta pots with palms and grasses. Agave, pampas grass, sea holly mulched with crushed stone or pebbles over the soil add variety.

You can use the ideas from any of the garden styles mentioned above to create your unique funky garden. Some styles lend themselves to blending. For example the contemporary and formal styled gardens. It is wise as if possible to choose plants, flowers and trees that are native or indigenous to your area.

Use our digital landscaping mood board editor to create your own garden style, or join the professional landscape designers on the SampleBoard website.

Author: Rosena MacFadzean for

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