The aesthetic value of a home can be enhanced by the presence of a well-managed garden. Gardens are beautiful and they also have numerous advantages. Why do you think you need a garden in your home? There are many reasons why people make their own gardens, for some people, it is a wonderful place to relax among beautiful plants and flowers, it is also a source of nutritious and healthy foods for other people. In this chapter, we will discuss the ways you can create amazing beds and borders. You will also find vital information that will give you awesome ideas for color schemes, creating amazing hot beds, cutting down the pastel designs and astonishing white displays. We have also covered the basics concerning the use of plant forms and textures to get the very best look for your garden all through the year.

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Have you chosen a garden space around your home? We have also included useful tips that will help you choose an adequate style for your garden considering the space you have chosen to use. With this information, you will be able to decide if you would prefer the ordered symmetry of a formal design or the simple aesthetics of a cottage garden. There are also practical illustrations on different gardening techniques which include methods you can use to prepare the soil, planting techniques and the simple guidelines to pruning.


Gardening is a wonderful activity. There are many garden styles to choose from. Your choice will ultimately depend on the space you want to use for your garden and your lifestyle. You should also consider the free time you will have to tend to your garden. The garden style options include- gardens displaying a well ordered symmetrical pattern, simple cottage garden designs, the Japanese minimalism or the contemporary urban designs. These are all good options, all you need to do is choose which style suits your home space. 

Formal garden design

The common features of a formal garden are the use of adequate symmetry and a clear ground plan to create a balanced design. Formal gardens are characterized by straight lines, order, and geometry with a properly delineated garden space. Formal gardens are usually created along pathways or in a central pattern with adequate provisions for a walking path through the center of the garden. In a formal garden, everything is planned to be in the right proportion with a conscious effort made to create a good balance and geometry while identifying the location of plants or trees.

You can choose to use the simpler symmetrical shapes however, formal gardens look better with geometric shapes predominantly featured in the garden. The simpler symmetric shapes could be used to adorn one of the axis in the garden. This garden style will also feature lawns and neatly clipped edges, these features are used to create an ordered look by demarcating spaces and borders. The dwarf boxwood hedges are perfect for defining the edge borders, they also have aesthetic functions as beautifully designed parterres and the offer the flexibility of creating knot gardens. You could also choose to plant trees along the paths to make a distinctive long range view from both ends of the garden. Other features include the Balustrades, steps, terraces and wide gravel pathways which complete the picture. The beauty of a typical formal garden is enhanced with beautiful cobble mosaics and brick designs while tougher landscaping features using gravel and the standard paving stones are minimized.

Depending on your taste, you could also choose to use features like classical ornaments to beautify your formal garden. Your options include Versailles cases, urns, and statuary, as well as topiary-commonly used to create a long range focal point. You can go further to include pools with fountains or jet sprays. The reflective nature of water will add an astonishing touch to your garden.

 While there are many opportunities to use flexible styles to design your formal garden, the basic simple guidelines should be followed to get the best effect. Aspects like the symmetrical designs can be blended with some formal looking features to get a more urban look. What you can do here is making one of the axis out to be more prominent than the other, alternatively, you could also use some well balanced rectangular beds covered with subtle looking yet beautiful plants. The formal garden once completed usually requires minimal maintenance,  and for styles like the paved courtyard garden adorned with plants set in an architectural design, the formal look can be completed by using big sized containers and a small sized pool. In summary, the features of a formal garden include geometric shapes, clipped topiary, and simple looking hedges. If there is a pool, the reflective feature will throw some light on the green plants creating a truly amazing effect.

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Informal garden design

If you wish to create an informal garden, then you should consider options like the basic country gardens, cottage gardens, wildlife gardens and the prairie-style of planting which display informal garden designs. Choosing to create an informal garden will allow you enjoy a good measure of flexibility when planning your design and the pattern you want to use for planting your choice of flowers or shrubs.

The Cottage Gardens

Cottage gardens have a simple design, the common features layout is a pathway centrally located through the garden to the main entrance. There will be planting beds with flowers, herbs, and vegetables on both sides of the pathway. If there is enough space, you could choose to include natural features like an orchard, meadows and simply designed ponds. The methods used to soften the edges of the flower beds is by planting flowers which tend to hover over the path while they self-seed.  The regular plants found in a cottage garden include hellebores, lungworts(Pulmonaria), grape hyacinths (Muscari), aquilegia and a variety of daffodils. In the spring time plants like tulips, hardy geraniums, lilies, lupines, poppies, campanula, delphiniums, hollyhocks(Alcea rosea) and peonies in summer. Many owners of gardens like this mix plants and herbs in a good harmony that also looks very beautiful. You can also choose to plant edible crops like herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees. For more variety, some ornamental plants can make the setting look more like an informal garden.

The best materials for a hard landscaping will be natural stone, brick, cobbles, and slate. To defined boundaries externally and internally, you can use the common post and rail or a brightly colored picket fence.

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Country Gardens

If you choose to create a country garden, you have made an excellent choice too. The country garden has a calm look, characterized by a sprawling piece of land with beautifully curved beds with flowers. hedges are used to define borders, the country gardens also have closed demarcations which have a variety of planting designs to create different beautiful views. The prairie and wildlife gardens are (the choice of designers who need an urban look) have plants and ornamental grasses as well as those solid looking perennial plants covering vast areas of the garden.  The best choice of grasses to be planted among the perennials include stipas and Calamagrostis, you can also plant rudbeckias, asters, echinaceas, and helenium to get a varied look. The prairie look is achieved by using vast spaces where there is good sunlight and the radiant plantings create a beautiful look. The wildlife gardens are excellent for providing a natural habitat for birds and small farm animals. You can also make your domestic garden to have the features of a wildlife garden by incorporating planting patterns to get a natural look. Your choice of plants should be flowers rich in nectar and trees with shades. there can also be a pond where reptiles and other amphibians can live. It would also be a source of water for the birds.

 If you have a lot of space, you can also choose to create a wildflower meadow. The requirements for this includes a space where there are abundant sunlight and infertile soil upon which the native wild flowers and grasses will thrive.

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Prairie-style plantings

Let us discuss some features of the prairie style gardens. They are usually created to have grasses planted among a variety of perennials to create a calm and relaxing effect. This choice of garden style should be created during the late summer period when plants like the eupatorium, echinacea, and sedum will thrive.

The informal features of cottage garden displays collections of pink flowers growing over an arbor echo spotted over areas on which cottage garden perennials have been planted in beds.

Mediterranean Garden design

The Mediterranean region has the formal and informal gardens associated with it. The formal gardens utilize water and stone, specimen trees like pencil cypresses and clipped hedges.

Decorative parterres are majorly found in the formal garden design with plants being chosen for their foliage rather than the color of their flowers. There are gardens like the El Alhambra in Granada and other gardens in Spain that have a very visible Moorish influence with their water features, formal courtyards and other visible landscape design. 

The most easily achieved Mediterranean landscape design is the informal garden style with a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. The major hard landscaping material is gravel and it is used to form pathways and between planting areas. The Mediterranean garden design involves the use of plants like figs, santolinas, olive trees, artemisias, vines and citrus fruits. Herbs include sage, rosemary, thyme and lavender. Plants in the Mediterranean region usually have blue-tinted, silvery, gray-green and sage foliage that can reflect the summer sun well.

Landscape architects in urban Mediterranean regions design courtyards with walls that are bold, blue, pink, white or warm terra-cotta. They also utilize cobbled floors, mosaic-tiled walls and terra-cotta pots with white convolvulus cneorum and bright pelargoniums. Those that stay in cooler regions might include a courtyard heavily basking in the sun that will provide a shelter for plants that are tender.

Hot gardens that face the South require a shady pergola or arbor that is adorned with flowering climbers like jasmine or bougainvillea that will create a nice relaxation or dining area.

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Desert Garden design

Desert gardens are classy, beautiful and dramatic in nature. They are found in hot regions with low rainfall. Landscape architects can design them with gravel, boulders, driftwood, pale-colored walls and rocks. Desert gardens have plants that are tough and can resist droughts like cacti and succulent plants like aloes, yuccas and agaves that do not need extra irrigation. A desert garden is an eco-friendly one as there is emphasis on plants that can survive with very little water.

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Japanese Garden design

Landscape architects design Japanese gardens to reflect the natural landscape by using a restricted palette to produce meditative, quiet places. A good Japanese garden must have the elements like plants, gravel and boulders connecting to each other spiritually and symbolically.

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To create a Japanese garden design, traditional spiritual beliefs are important to the design. Shinto and Buddhism embrace nature and every natural element is considered worthy of respect and sacred. Key elements are used to depict natural landscapes. Stones are used to represent boats, animals and islands while raked gravel is used to depict flowing water.  The gardens require little or no planting and they rely on lichens and moss instead of large plants. The gravel in the gardens is raked every day which is a Buddhist ritual that serves as a guide to meditation.

In Japanese tea gardens, beauty is regarded as a spiritual advisor. These gardens have a roji which is a dewy path that is lit by stone lanterns. The roji takes the visitor on a journey past stone buddhas, water basins and other spiritual symbols to the tea house. Japanese tea gardens are heavily planted and often include azaleas, pines, maples and camellias. They are pruned regularly to control their size and they form miniature forms of large shrubs or trees in the garden.

Plants in the Japanese gardens are not focused solely on evergreens and color is sprinkled here and there in the form of irises in the summer, camellias and cherry blossom in the spring and fiery maples all making up a flamboyant display.


Contemporary Garden design

There has been a lot of rural to urban migration with contemporary gardens providing spaces for relaxation, dining, entertainment, play and planting. Contemporary gardens can vary in nature. They can be treated as green oases where plants majorly thrive or as functional spaces where hard surfaces reign with lighting effects, water features and furniture combine to formulate an outdoor room.

A contemporary garden makes use of simple lines using a combination of man-made and natural materials like glass, plastic, steel, concrete and acrylic to provide varying textures. They also come with asymmetric floor plans. They can also have cascades, jets or even reflective water. The furniture in contemporary gardens could be coordinated tables and chairs, recliners and integral benches with sculpture serving as a point of focus.

Contemporary planting garden design

Contemporary gardens are not usually that large, so plants are in usually limited species that can serve as good architectural interest. Plants may include large-leaved foliage plants like phormiums, cordylines, hardy banana (Musa basjoo) and bamboos and grasses.  

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Landscape architects use small festucas, ophiopogons or large block paintings of boxwood (Buxus). These could be used with pleached trees along boundaries to provide privacy in the garden. There could also be dramatic containers that are made from stone, clay or steel that can be used as focus points lined up in a row that brings rhythm and drama to the design. Bamboo, bay, bold grasses, succulents like agaves and Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) and clipped topiary boxwood are plants that can be in the containers.

Tropical Garden design

Tropical gardens are popular in tropical regions with lush native plants, but they can also be created in cool climates with a proper selection of plants.

Tropical gardens have an informal design, and they include man-made structures made from unworked stone and rough timber that reflect the traditional crafts of people that live in tropical regions. The garden designs imbibe water, and they mimic the tropical landscape with streams, waterfalls and swimming pools all making up the tropical landscape design.

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Tropical gardens include textures, foliage shapes and colors.

Close to the ground, there are short plants and shrubs like grasses, lower-growing shrubs and flowering perennials like streptocarpus and strelitzia or birds of paradise. Taller plants include bamboos, eucalyptus, palms and cordylines.

Tropical gardens can be created in temperate areas with exotic plants like hardy bananas (Musa basjoo), tree ferns, fatsias, ferns, bamboos, phormiums etc. If you highlight bright details, you can use white arum lilies (Zantedeschia), lobelias, canna lilies, crocosmias, agapanthus and dahlias.   

Also read: Garden Design with lights.