How to Select Materials in Garden Design 

September 16, 2017 Best landscape design

The flowers and shrubs you plant is not the only the thing that defines a garden. Garden design also involves things like the selection of the right surfaces, structures, boundaries, shape and texture of hard materials. Various materials have their own movement, color and shape. These all work together to attract people and form their perception of the garden. Materials that fit well with the landscape of the house will be more pleasing to the eye.

When making your choices, you need to consider the view of the landscape from your home. Do you want to make large areas of the hard landscaping look softer by mixing in various materials like wood with crushed shells or gravel with slate? Paths that are used heavily must be solid while you can use stepping stones, bark or gravel to make secondary walkways. If you use the same material for patios and paths, you get continuity. A change along the pathway will indicate that one is at a new section of the garden.

If you want to draw people forwards or invite them to explore sideways, you can lay materials lengthwise or widthways. Obscured paths will invite them to go exploring.

Open screens and apertures will invite them to check out what lay beyond, while solid screens and walls will shut out the vista. When creating a garden design, you should also ensure that every furniture used matches the style of the garden. The sitting arrangements must also be considered. You can’t put a large dining table in a small patio. If you do so, the patio will look choked up. You need to build a patio big enough to accommodate any furniture you use. Any piece of timber you use should have the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo to show that the wood comes from sustainable forests.

A lot of gardens have spots for water features as well as artworks. Outdoor heating can be added but the environment must be considered. All lighting must be installed by competent electricians. All solar lighting must be accessible to sunlight.

Mixture of Materials for Landscape Design

Various materials, levels and textures can be used in landscape design to create an array of effects in decking and paving designs. Various materials can be used to showcase major features and to separate and define areas of a garden. An example is a raised wooden deck over stone-tiled floors. Complementary colors should be used for a smooth blend. To avoid higher costs and extra work, use pre-sized coordinating materials. When using a different foundation and when working with materials that have various thicknesses, complicated building techniques will need to be used.

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Planting Opportunities for Landscape Design

When squeezed into crevices and joints, plants add texture and color. Select plants that are drought resistant, can withstand trampling and produce a nice scent when they are crushed. When combining plants and paving, think about joints carefully. A solid foundation could contaminate the soil and affect the plants negatively.

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Drainage Related Problems

For water to be collected or drain, every surface needs to slope. Gravel surfaces laid on soil that is rich in clay might need extra drainage. All rainwater that runs away from buildings must be collected at collection points like gullies. You can direct water from small paving areas into planting beds.

Patios That Are Slightly Sloping

Slopes should be created away from a building towards a collection point. Patios made up of rougher materials will slope more steeply than smooth ones.

Paths That Are Cambered

Paths can be created to allow water run off on the two sides. The water can then be drained into planting beds or collected in channels.

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Materials for Boundaries and Screens

The look of a garden is affected by boundary and wall features and the materials used to create them. Formerly all boundaries were built from local materials like brick, hedging, timber and stone but today, they can be made from so many materials. Garden design can utilize metal screens, smooth rendering and reinforced concrete. Those that share boundaries with others might find their choices limited, But, you could customize your garden boundary as you wish. It could be dominant or subtle. You can use your own texture, color, material and shape.

Boundaries made from rendered walls, stone or brick can enclose spaces and form a framework around your garden. These boundaries require a solid foundation and professional construction skills. They could also be quite expensive.

It’s best you don’t change the colors of brick walls and stones. You can select from expensive stone blocks to random rubbles which all come in various shapes and sizes. You can use artificial materials like concrete to create unlimited opportunities in terms of shape and color creating fluid structures and clean lines.

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Trellis and fencing

Metal and timber fences do not need heavy building materials or strong strip foundations. This makes them cheaper and easier to build. A lot of them are made from strips of material and you can have a fence made from a combination of these lines. When selecting a design, you must take care that the design of the fence matches with the design of the garden.  You can just copy the original design of the fence to avoid complicating things or messing things up. But if you want to use a new design, you can still do so. You just need to create nice patterns using various shapes, widths and lengths of timber. For areas that are exposed, you can leave gaps in the fence to allow the wind to pass through the fence.

Effective Windbreaks

Solid screens won’t allow any wind to pass through them and create turbulence. A trellis or other perforated screens can be used to solve the issue.

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Apertures and Gates in your garden

Boundaries and screens enclose space and create barriers that curb views and movements. These barriers can be interspersed with gates, doorways, windows and other openings that allow for access to other parts of the garden. They can also make the garden beautiful and should not be seen as just openings. When working on a landscape design, use materials that complement each other and consider how these openings can serve as frames for views and vistas. You must also design gates and doors that look attractive regardless of whether they are closed or open.

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Also read: How to Integrate Sculpture into a Garden.