Garden Figments

Garden Design Basics

The first principle of garden design is to split the garden into ‘rooms’. This means splitting the garden into separate areas. Areas could be separated by using walls or hedges or just a simple trellis. The garden rooms don’t need to be physically separated but could just be split by subtle changes such as a change in use or a change in shape or a change in material used. This will then create patterns within the garden. When creating these patterns you need to consider:


You want the garden to encourage people to explore it. This can be done by including paths or steps.


In addition to the physical journey that’s created by paths you also need to include focal points. Consider viewpoints such as a doorway or entering the garden through a gate and place something interesting in a position where your eye will be drawn to it. This could be an ornament or an architectural plant. By creating these focal points you will also create a direction for the journey.


Whilst moving around the garden you need to create resting places. This will give rhythm to the movement around the garden by creating a sense of speed. This could be as simple as making a path wider at a certain point.


It’s important that the garden design works as a whole i.e. create unity. This can be achieved by using shapes, textures and colours that complement each other.


The garden needs to appear visually balanced. This can be symmetrical or asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance is where one side of the garden is a mirror image of the other side. Symmetrical balance is commonly used in formal gardens. Asymmetrical balance is where larger features are balanced with lots of smaller features. So for example you could place one large tree to the right of the garden and balance this with one medium tree and two small trees to the left of the garden.