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Wide Open Spaces: Country Gardens Fit to Inspire

If you have a lot of outdoor space to work with, a country garden might be for you. Romantic and serene, installing a country garden can play up the spaciousness of a lawn or fill it in with wild-looking plantings.

Excerpted from Garden Design

Designers luxuriate in the opportunities provided by an expansive country space. Here, we share two takes on the country garden, one space where paths lead you though an admirable array of nature's wildest looking beauties and another where plants line the perimeter of a large stepped play lawn.

Garden Meadows

This garden's drama is achieved by mixing formal elements, such as golden gravel paths which follow strong, straight lines, with drifts of grasses and perennial flowers.

Designer and author-photographer Oudolf says:
"The garden at Scampston covers about four acres and sits within protective walls. It used to be a working garden, but my clients wanted to create a contemporary space rather than a reconstruction."

"I worked with the large scale of the garden to create something of interest to the visiting public, so not all of the planting is typical of what I do. I aimed to link the past with the present by using formal elements, such as hedges and clipped specimens, between more relaxed perennials."

"I am influenced by contemporary architecture, art, and nature; and I think that, at Scampston, there is interest in both the planting and the strong design."

Formal Hedges Mixed with Relaxed PerennialsGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Key Ingredients

Summerwine Yarrow (image 1); Western coneflower (image 2); Beebalm (image 3); Hardy Jerusalem sage (image 4)

  • Summer Wine Yarrow is Excellent Fresh or DriedGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Western Coneflowers Known for Over Size SeedheadGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Bee Balm Traditional Favorite for Country GardenGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Jerusalem Sage Great Plant for Summer ColorGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Meadow Mates

Pale purple coneflower (image 1); Alpine betony (image 2); Red switch grass (image 3); May night sage (image 4)

  • Common Coneflower Produces Colorful Summer BloomsGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Stachys Hummelo Sends Up Showy Spikes of ColorGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Switchgrass Provides Habitat for WildlifeGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Meadow Sage Bear Spikes of Showy Purple FlowersGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Stepping Out

Stepped, circular lawns, softened by surrounding planting, provide an elegant transition from the terrace to the main garden of this country home.

British designer Lawrenson says:
"This Hampshire, UK property has an old-fashioned country pedigree — Jane Austen used to live nearby and visited regularly to collect milk. Its garden stands on a south-facing hillside with views across a valley, and I wanted to create a gentle descent into it from the house, with the wide circular steps gradually turning to take advantage of the view. Originally there was a narrow path and a vertical drop down into the main garden, so the new terrace and steps created space and a link into the main garden."

"The owners were a young family who needed usable space and wanted a spot from which they could enjoy views of the setting sun, hence the 'gin' terrace."

"I like to link a house with its surrounding landscape through its garden, and I am strongly influenced by the architecture I work with. But plants are my first love, so they take center stage. This garden’s bedrock is chalk with heavy clay soil on top, and its planting suits these conditions."

Terraces Provide Elegant Transition from HomeGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Key Ingredients

Rambling Rector Rose (image 1); East Friesland sage (image 2); European red elder (image 3)

  • Rambling Rose is Vigorous Robust ClimberGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Meadow Sage Bear Spikes of Showy Purple FlowersGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Sutherland Gold Makes Stunning Specimen PlantGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Adding Some Variety

Serbian bellflower (image 1); Red valerian (image 2); Bear's breeches (image 3)

  • Serbian Bellflowers Flow Along Bed Edges and RocksGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Red Valerian Often Used Along Old Walls and RocksGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Bears Breeches Valued for Bold Foliage and BloomsGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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