A Design That Suits You: Choosing a Planting Style
When planting your garden, if you decide to follow a particular style, first ensure that it is practical and fits your lifestyle.
What Do You Want?
Find inspiration for your yard by visiting other gardens, and looking at books, magazines, and television shows. If you long for a tropical garden with exotic plants, such as palms and other architectural specimens, you can achieve it with the use of containers on a sun-drenched terrace, even in cold regions.
What Do You Need?
If entertaining outdoors is important to you, a large patio with a dining/barbecue area will be useful, while a lawn is a good idea if children are likely to play in the yard in summer. Your lifestyle may dictate that you have a low-maintenance garden with plants that are easy to care for but look good all year. Consider also how much privacy you need. Examine the visual appeal of your chosen scheme. Will you include plants with impact to create impressive planting schemes? Or would you prefer a themed garden with an exotic feel, or simply an oasis of tranquility? When selecting plants, make sure you choose those that will suit the style of garden you have in mind.
Keeping It Neat
A wonderful garden filled with unusual plants and flowers is all very well, but it may require a great deal of time to keep it in tip‑top condition. When planting and designing a garden, decide how much time you can spare to care for it. Some planting styles require less effort than others to keep them looking good. A formal garden with a central lawn, for example, looks tidy once it is cut, but it may be better to reduce the area of grass or replace it with gravel or decking, if free time is limited. Planting in formal schemes tends to be confined to geometric-shaped beds or borders. Designs can be either high-maintenance, with a mix of perennials, annuals, and shrubs, or low-maintenance, with easy-care shrub borders.
A Natural Approach
For many people, choosing a naturalistic planting style, using drifts of perennials or a large number of native plants, creates a garden that feels at one with nature. With this approach, you may also decide to avoid using chemicals on your plants, and adopt organic growing methods. Encourage birds, insects, and other wildlife into your garden to enrich your gardening experience, and create curved or sinuous borders for your informal planting designs.