In the right format, a simple formal garden, even a small one, can be of great impact.
The dimensions do not count: the best gardens are a happy combination of geometry and symmetry, in which the plants architecturally create clear and well-structured forms, exalting the straight lines, the corners and the rigorous curves of floors, walls and fountains.
On this type of background there is also a limited range of colors.
Strengths in all formal garden projects
- Various spaces, distinct yet connected to each other.
- Strong symmetry, both in the different structural elements of the garden – trees, walls, pergola – and in vegetation, especially in the continuity of climbing plants.
- A series of focal points, from the pergola to the urn, up to the bench, emphasizing the dense background of ivy.
- Simple and regular shapes, straight lines and soft curves.
- Yew hedges, lavender and boxwood well pruned and uniform – the yew hedge ends at the ends with two topiary sculptures pruned in a particularly precise manner.
- Soft pastel hues for flowers, applied in repeated patterns or in monochromatic spots.
Bench Carefully evaluate the way the furniture fits into your garden. Traditional lines and materials, such as oak and wrought iron, go well in classic or equally traditionalist gardens.
Modern styles and materials, on the other hand, like stainless steel and plastic, work wonders in contemporary or architectural projects.
Glicine With its long racemes of fragrant flowers, similar to those of the sweet pea, the wisteria is a splendid creeper.
To use it to the best try to reduce the root area leaving the largest possible extension upwards. A beautiful pergola is ideal for enhancing it to the full.
Lavender hedge In all its varieties, lavender is perfect for creating low and fragrant hedges, in formal and informal schemes.
Place it in the sun and on well-drained soil, and prune it lightly after flowering, and with a firmer hand at the beginning of spring, to keep it clean and tidy and to favor abundant blooms.
Do not forget to cut and dry the flower heads dry.
Topiary art in formal garden projects
You will find commercially pruned plants in every possible shape and size, ready and with a certain effect. Personal intervention, however, even if it takes more time, can give a lot of satisfaction.
- Select the plant. Some deciduous species may be used, but evergreens are optimal for topiary art, and they give less problems.
- Decide whether to grow your plant in a pot by planting it when it has reached the desired size, whether to put it away from the beginning or whether to leave it in a container forever.
- Choose a shape. Avoid those too complicated until you have reached an expert dinner. Cones, cylinders, pyramids and spheres are the easiest forms to start.
- Before implanting your specimen, prepare the soil well, because topiary requires strong and healthy plants. If you intend to use a container proceed to repotting, using a container only slightly larger than the one from which you take it; if instead it is not ready to transplant, leave it for a while in the original one.
- Prune at least a third the side branches, if necessary also to the older wood, to produce a greater number of shoots. For a good result the plants must be very thick. Keep in mind the form you are aiming for even in these very early stages. For a cone, for example, you will cut the branches near the top with more vigor than those at the base, so as to already partially set the final appearance.
- Water and nourish the plant well during growth.
- Prune back to midsummer, halving the new branches. Then let the plant grow until spring and favor the development of a strong root system.
- Prune still in the advanced winter, without exceeding the base of the previous year’s growth.
- Keep pruning at regular intervals throughout the season, but only the new branches will appear. The last pruning should be done in late summer, to allow the subsequent limited growth and avoid the ‘fresh cut’ effect, allowing the plant to recover well before winter.
The ideal plants in this formal garden project
Unless you plan a very formal scheme, based only on the profiles, textures and colors of the foliage to highlight the architectural elements, you will also have to provide shades and shapes that mitigate the rigidity.
This project includes the pale climbing roses and bush, the tender violet of the lavender hedge and the wisteria of the pergola.
Also read: TYPES OF GARDENS: Modernist Gardens.
Garden Projects: A garden project for the family