If you're really looking to let loose on the creativity, fusion style may be for you. Fusion style allows you to pick-and-choose elements from your favorite, more fixed styles, then blend them together to vibrant effect.
Fusion is a mix - sometimes accidental, but often deliberate - of styles and trends from a wide range of fields. Color, usually intense and bold, is often used, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Large sculptural plants add scale and drama, and are sometimes repeated throughout the garden to amplify ideas. In addition, planting for color and texture is common, with pots and containers used to reinforce stylistic concepts. Sculpture, garden art and rendered walls provide focal points and lighting adds to the drama.
A wide range of materials is associated with the fusion style, and in some gardens the combinations can become quite complex. There is often a mixture of man-made and natural surfaces, with combinations such as concrete and wood, or stone and steel. Furniture is often used to express particular architectural or stylistic references, or may be used to introduce lively or rich color. By keeping the overall design simple, these textural contrasts are more clearly appreciated.
Fusion style is a recent innovation, but it borrows from a range of ideas from time and space. Travel and opportunities to peruse the past easily, with online research, have opened up a wide range of influences, from jungle planting to Japanese gravel, from Modernism to the Mediterranean, and from formal to conceptual. The personality of the resulting designs may not please purists, but fusion style is about breaking rules, designing with confidence and pleasing oneself.
Fusion gardens often include materials that are not traditionally associated with gardening, such as glass, steel and plastic, with planting softening the lines.
Although a wide variety of plants are used in fusion gardens, many are selected for their sculptural qualities. Grasses, Yucca and Astelia are typical, and palms are used for height.
Cascades, fountains and mist sprays — which can be controlled by computer to produce complex and changing displays — provide movement, atmosphere and sound.
Light effects are key style devices, picking up architectural details, specimen plants and decorative topiary. The development of lighting technology with fiber optics and LEDs produces spectacular results.
Bold colors are often used in surface finishes to make connections between plants and hard materials. Rendered walls, ceramics, paving and lighting can all contribute to the color drama while creating an exciting ambience.
Excerpted from Garden Design
©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009