What is Country Style?
Country style got its start in the late 1800s, when designers who were also naturalists called attention to the organic beauty of softer, minimally restricted growth over large areas of outer property. Today, country style is associated with using combination of design techniques, plantings and elements to bring coherent shifts over areas of ample space. This style often starts with more formal approaches near the house which grow increasingly more natural and wild in further landscapes. Paths link these spaces, and lead visitors with focal points, viewing areas and resting places.
Here, large boulders stand out against the soft sweeps of planting beyond. Grasses provide movement and light in the deep planting beds, and wide boundary hedges screen views of neighboring properties. In country gardens paths of hard material, here, wooden decking, lead to the main property, with routes through the garden in more economical gravel.
Extensive borders provide the opportunity for dynamic planting, using color and texture in drifts or en masse.
Large Pools and Streams
Natural springs may provide the basis for ponds and streams, but man-made water features can just as easily offer reflective surfaces, wildlife habitats and new planting opportunities.
Views Into the Landscape
The garden experience can be dramatically enriched by linking it to the landscape. Long, narrow views, which open up to a wide natural panorama beyond, produce spectacular effects.
Lawns are used both as a functional surface and as a minimalist complement to more textured or colorful planting. Lawns and grass pathways should be as wide and open as possible, as the surface can wear with heavy use.
Hedging and Screens
Hedges define space and control views. Yew produces a dark, dense backdrop that is perfect for colorful borders. Low box hedges are ideal for partitioning planting spaces, and mixed hedges work well on a larger scale.
Traditional country gardens often feature local stone that weathers to produce varied surface textures. Concrete and decking results in a more contemporary look.
Interpreting the Style
Complex mixed border designs are traditional elements in country gardens, although recent designers draw on more limited planting palettes too. Both styles are able to capture movement and light in wildflowers and grasses, which can delight beyond just one season. Here, splashes of color illuminate a haze of planting and add vertical interest. Transparent veils of grasses and perennials create the romance.
Catching the Light
These graceful borders, planted with a mix of golden feathery grasses and eye-catching red Sedum, encircle this sunny seating area with movement and light.