The world of Garden design is chock full of talented people from all walks of life, and from all corners of the globe. And depending upon one’s perspective, the approach to designing a garden might follow a certain criteria to success. But does this mean that there are hard and fast rules? And (for the purposes of this post), do artistic denizens of Garden Design practice what they preach on their own Gardens? Well the answer to each of these questions is a definitive Yes…. and No. You see, just like the “Pirates Code” in the Pirates of the Caribbean, these rules ” is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules”.
Here are a few of the rules… er guidelines that I follow when designing a Garden:
The Garden must match the surroundings. A garden or landscape should appear to fit comfortably into its space, and should complement the architecture of the home. The transition of that, which is designed, be it house or garden, should appear seamless, to that which is nature.
The design should address realistic expectations of the client’s interaction with the garden. For the client with a green thumb (or even a want of a green thumb) bold swaths of perennials can be combined with shrubs and even vegetables. For those with little time or desire to work in the garden, lovely conifers, shrubs and a smattering of perennials will require little maintenance. For the entertainers, a patio garden and lawn space will provide ample room to play.
It should embody Genius Loci. Genius Loci, or sense of place, ties the garden to the heritage of its site. Alluding to the past can be a powerful design element when creating a garden. Experiencing the history of the site connects us to the life force of garden.
Finally, to paraphrase Captain Barbossa, there really are no rules, so have fun, and create something you will connect with and enjoy!
For myself, I do follow these guidelines at home, but it seems the one I am most successful with is Genius Loci, as evidenced by the wagon wheel in the picture below. It came with the house, and was soon placed against this sugar maple. That was over ten years ago now, and every time I pass by I am reminded of those that brought it here, and I hope they are happy with my efforts.
This post was inspired by friend and fellow Garden Designer Susan L. Morrison of Creative Exteriors Landscape Design in the San Francisco area. She recently proposed a question to me and two other of our colleagues, Susan Cohan of Susan Cohan Gardens in New Jersey, and Rebecca Sweet of Harmony in the Garden, also in the San Francisco area. The question: Do designers practice what they preach? She then suggested we all post our responses on our blogs at the same time. It’s a great idea Susan thanks, it’s an honor to be included with three very talented designers
You can read each of their responses here:
Susan L. Morrison Blue Planet Garden Blog
Susan Cohan Miss Rumphius’ Rules
Rebecca Sweet Gossip in the Garden
Thank you, dear reader, for sharing this time with us, and I sincerely hope that you are happy with the garden you’ve created. Please leave a comment below and let us know.
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