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02 Feb 2018

A formal garden project

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.

    A formal garden project landscape plan project formal garden layout
    1 Climbers 2 – Rose borders 3 – Lavender hedge 4 topiary sculpture –   5 – Fountain 6 – Paved in natural stone 7 – Brick floor 8 – Statue 9- Hedge  10 – Bench 11 – Grass 12 – Table 13 – Mosaic


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.

  1. Select the plant. Some deciduous species may be used, but evergreens are optimal for topiary art, and they give less problems.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Water and nourish the plant well during growth.
  7. Prune back to midsummer, halving the new branches. Then let the plant grow until spring and favor the development of a strong root system.
  8. Prune still in the advanced winter, without exceeding the base of the previous year’s growth.
  9. 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.

Topiary art in formal garden projects

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.

Formal project plan For the family landscape plan garden project plantation plan
B – Buxus sempervirens’ SuffruticosaL – Laurocerosa LA – Lavandola angustifolia ‘Munstead’ R – Rosa’ Cécile Briinner  T – Taxus baccata ‘Elegantissima’ W – Wisteria flonbunda

Also read: TYPES OF GARDENS: Modernist Gardens.

Garden Projects: A garden project for the family

23 Dec 2017

Garden design and plants: Lavender will add a luxuriant touch and scent to your garden next spring

Spring is the perfect time for lavender. Use of the herb dates back more than 2000 years and historically it has been used in mummification, perfumery, cooking and bathing. In fact, it’s believed the name lavender comes from the Latin word lavare, which means to wash.

Because of its popularity, lavender most likely spread throughout Europe during the early years of colonisation and trading. It is now common in the Mediterranean region and grows wild in many areas.

Spanish lavender (Lavender pedunculata) and its hybrids are tough, drought-hardy perennials that thrive on dry, sloping sites. They also love sandy conditions and are salt-tolerant. This lavender type is not suitable for cooking but great for gardens, cut flowers and potpourri.

Spanish lavender (Lavender pedunculata) garden design

They come in many different colours.Lavender Sensation Blue (L. pedunculata ‘Senblu’ PBR) and Sensation Rose (L. pedunculata ‘Senros’ PBR) are both forms of Spanish lavender.

They are well suited for use as low, colourful borders. They are both low maintenance and drought-tolerant once established, and full of flowers to attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden. A recent breeding breakthrough has resulted in a new range of Spanish lavender that has enormous double flower heads.

French lavender (Lavender dentata) is also tough and drought-hardy. It is generally more long-lived in the garden, but has a limited colour range. The common colour is lavender-blue. There are white forms but they often burn in our Australian sun. As with their Spanish cousins, they are also not suitable for cooking but are great for gardens, cut flowers and potpourri. One popular variety that is very tolerant of heat and humidity is Lavender Superfrench (L. dentata ‘Parfren’).

French lavender is at its best in spring, but will continue to flower all year round.

French lavender (Lavender dentata)

English lavender (Lavender angustifolia) is more commonly known and used in the cooler regions as it generally does not like hot, humid conditions. It is almost deciduous, meaning it can lose a lot of its leaves and look a bit ugly during the winter months. It will flush with new leaves in spring and can make a stunning flower show in summer. This is the lavender that is most commonly used in cooking and perfumery, but individual varieties have different chemical characteristics, so always seek advice before using in cooking.

English lavender (Lavender angustifolia)

All lavenders contain fragrant essential oils and when planted strategically, will release a beautiful perfume when anyone brushes past them. The flowers can be harvested for potpourri or cut-flower displays. Although lavender is tolerant of very dry conditions, best results are obtained from mulching well and regular watering. Most are well suited to growing in tubs or pots.

Also read: Modern garden furniture | Garden design: How to design with plants.

References: Wikipedia Lavandula or Lavander

You can visit also our home page: Best Landscape design

19 Oct 2017


There are various classes of plants that can be used for various occasions for your garden design. They include shrubs, annuals, bulbs, trees and perennials. When making garden design plans with plants, you can focus on just 1 or 2 plant groups to get a contemporary look or you can select from all plant groups to ensure that there is interest all year long. To have a beautiful garden, you can select plants of various colors, textures and shapes. The plants must work well with others in the garden and landscape.

Definition of Plant Groups in a Garden Design 

Various plant groups have different functions in a garden design. Landscape designers need to understand how each group of plants can be combined in a garden design to create a pleasant effect. Large shrubs, climbers and trees are used as the structural background of a planting scheme by offering various height, color, depth, structure and depth. Midrange plants like grasses, bulbs, herbaceous perennials and small shrubs are good for defining garden design styles and providing seasonal attractions with their foliage and flowers. Groundcover plants create blooms at a low level and a low mat of leaves while focal plants provide attractive accents making borders and vistas attractive. Biennial and annual plants will put on an attractive show from spring to early fall and they fill up the gap between the other plants that are more permanent when they are placed in borders.

Garden Design | Creating structural features with plants

Structural Plants

Permanent structural plants are used to contribute to the form and shape of a garden. They include hedges, shrubs and trees. To get a good garden design plan, a landscape architect must know how to position and identify these plants.

Evergreen plants serve as interesting plants all year-round. Deciduous shrubs and trees provide colorful foliage in the fall and attractive displays of flowers in the spring. Hedges are good for shelter, privacy and defining boundaries. Deciduous hedges allow a lot of light in and they provide color while evergreen hedges make for colorful displays while providing great backdrops for other planting groups. Evergreen or deciduous hedges could be informal or formal by considering their flower types, leaf size and colors. Leafy shrubs also provide green foliage backdrops for groundcover and smaller midrange plants like hedges. Structural plants can be used to lead the eye around a garden or to block and frame views. Shrubs and trees can create a visual link between a landscape and a garden by extending the display. When plants are repeated, they create connections between various planting areas and various parts of a garden.

Structural plants have various shapes and forms. They could be loose like weeping pears, laburnums and garryas; textural and spiky like hollies, mahonias and yuccas; rounded and neat like photinias and choisyas. Various plants can be manipulated to create various artificial structural effects like climbers over arbors, arches, pergolas and walls. Yew, holly and boxwood can be clipped into topiary shapes, spirals and pyramids.

Focal Plants in Garden Design

The focal plants are used to catch the eye in a border or bed at the end of a pathway or in the center of a lawn. Focal plants have a particular foliage form or shape and they are evergreen. Some focal plants could be seasonal that perform for a short time of the year providing accents when they are needed.

Focal plants can be used as signboards to direct a guest around a garden or guide the eye to some focal points. White-stemmed birches, acers, cardoons, yuccas and phormiums will let the eye focus on a particular point away from unattractive features like dirt and others.

Garden design Creating focal plants

Midrange plants

Midrange plants are medium in height and they rely on texture and shape of leaves for interest more than their flowers. Their seasonal flowers could also be a very useful feature and could make an interesting statement a lot of them are used in a border. When midrange plants are grouped together, the ones with strong foliage forms like hostas, rodgersias, acanthus and ligularias can be used to create bold paintings. They can also be used to separate plants with foliage forms or looser flowers.

Midrange plants are good contributors to the structure of a garden.  A lot of them are perennials that die in late fall and appear again in spring. They can’t serve the same purposes as permanent woody plants.

Using midrange plants Garden design

Groundcover plants

Groundcover plants are highly ornamental plants that provide a tapestry of form, color and texture. They help to suppress weeds by creating a blanket over the soil. It is not only low-growing groundcover plants that exist. They are of various sizes and shapes. The most important thing is that they provide a dense canopy.

Cool shady areas are good for groundcover plants like hellebores, bergenias, Geranium macrorrhizum, epimediums and ferns near a wall with moist soil. Dry, sunny areas are good for plants that can tolerate droughts like sedums, dwarf genistas and helianthemums. Leafy groundcover plants include catmint (Nepeta), thyme, Santolina chamaecyparissus and Hebe pinguifolia.

Seasonal Interest

Various plant groups can be combined and those with seasonal highlights can be selected to create a garden design plan that is attractive all year long.

In the winter, berries of hawthorns, stems of dogwoods (Cornus), hollies, willow (Salix) and viburniums provide color while sarcococcas and witch hazels (Hamamelis) provide lovely flowers. Instead in the summer, bulbs, flowering perennials and annuals provide a range of heights, colors and flower shapes. In the fall, acers, cotinus, trees, shrubs and cotinus all provide foliage color. They can be used with asters and other late-flowering perennials. In the spring, bulbs like crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, muscari and tulips provide color while flowering trees like magnolias, plums, crab apples and cherries bloom.  

Also read: All You Need to Know About Soil for a Landscape Architect.

11 Oct 2017


Plants shouldn’t just be categorized as mere shrubs, trees or groundcovers. They need to be categorized in a way that will showcase the visual forms they take, their manner of growth and their uses. This will help landscape designers become more skilled and experienced in the art of landscape design.

Landscape architects can improve their skills in planting design by learning more about plants and appreciating their potential as a material for landscape design. Landscape architects should be willing to sacrifice their time and energy to learn more about unique ways of using plants to accomplish astonishing garden designs.

Every landscape architect is well trained in basic general and theoretical knowledge of plants. But they do not know how to make effective designs using plants. Landscape designers must learn a lot about plants. It takes a lot of time to learn about plants. To get a good knowledge of plants, landscape designers must do a lot of research and have a lot of hands-on experience. Landscape designers must be good observers of nature and they must work in gardens a lot to gain the necessary experience needed. Horticulturists are experts on plants and what they need for growing but they may not be good designers.


To become a good landscape architect, one must have a good knowledge of plants along with efficient design skills. When a he has the two things listed above, the designer becomes creative and comes up with a lot of unique designs.

Research has shown that landscape architects must engage with plants before they can become good landscape designers. There is need for more landscape designers more than ever. As of now, there are very few good books on landscape design.

Landscape designers are usually restricted to the use of a few plants largely due to their environment and regional weather conditions. Thus, they ignore thousands of plants that might have given their designs a unique touch. Amateur landscape designers often use the same plants over and over again in a bid to play safe. But when landscape architects learn a lot about various plants along with their uses and their growth in various environments, they can come up with better designs. There is a need for plants to be categorized in more effective ways that will highlight how they can be used better. This way, landscape architect can select the best plants for any given design case.

Landscape designers often think of plants in just three categories which are shrubs, trees and groundcovers. Plants should be thought of in groups in relation to how useful they are for designs as well as the way they grow and their visual looks.

Horticulturists and botanists should write references that will focus on data that will describe plants accurately and talk about how they grow and means of identifying them. They also need to place more emphasis on the lifespan of plants. A lot of landscape designers do not even know the lifespan of common plants. They do not know how plants can be used in different scenarios for various effects. There are several ways of using plants and they can be classified into the following seven groups:

  • Plants that are used for their visual effects
  • Plants that are used for fuel, food or sustenance
  • Plants that are used for defining a space
  • Plants that are used for modifying a microclimate
  • Plants that are used for the heart, soul or mind.
  • Plants that are used to solve technical problems
  • Plants that are used for satisfying other senses of the body.

Amateur landscape designers will have a lot to gain from a clear definition of the uses of various plants. They also need to know how the plants look like. Veteran landscape designers know all these and they need to spread this information to amateur landscape designers.

There need to be a clear description of the habits, uses and visual forms of the plants. There are a lot of planting books that use icons to describe the size and forms of plants. They use some common lingo like fastigiated, weeping, rounded and others. Then they use the common headings of shrubs, trees and groundcovers. These categories don’t make things easy for landscape designers. For example, subtropical landscape designers can’t locate plants like Strelitzia nicolai (bird of paradise), Ravenala madagascariensis (traveller’s palm) and others. There are some landscape designers that do not allow the use of traditional visual elements like pattern, texture, line, color, form etc. They also do not encourage the use of design principles like rhythm, contrast, emphasis, variety, balance, movement, proportion etc. Plants should be seen as much more than their traditional uses. Plants should have spiritual, philosophical and religious importance. Plants serve to show the health of an environment. They should be given much more than their usual respect and they should be given the reverence that they deserve. Plants are great. A landscape architect enjoys plant design the most of all the various aspects of his work.

Also read: Creating a landscape design plans.