Tracy DiSabato-Aust (Garden Designer and Author) gives expert video advice on: What factors will determine my garden design?; What are the principles of garden design?; How will maintenance affect garden design? and more...
What factors will determine my garden design?
We look at a variety of factors and we consider this our objectives - how the garden will function, what the style of your home is, what style you're looking for in a garden, what might be your color preferences, or what type of plants you would select. We all need to consider maintenance. How much gardening are you really willing to do, or maybe you're going to hire someone to do some of that. What budget are you working with? Do you want fragrance, do you want to attract butterflies, or bees to the garden? So we look at a wide variety of different objectives to determine the garden design.
What are the principles of garden design?
There is different terminology that will explain the principles of garden design, but I like to use order, unity and rhythm. We can look at that as our principles of design - order, unity and rhythm so we might have symmetrical balance. We would have mass collection where we are using plants in masses. We would look to dominance where we might have a piece of art or a color that would be the focal point. We look at repetition - repetition of color, repetition of texture or form and you might look at repetition of rhythm as well, how the garden changes or undulates. That is small plants moving into medium growing plants and into tall plants. It all creates these principles of order, unity and rhythm.
How will maintenance affect garden design?
With garden design, the more time you have, and probably the larger the garden would be, the more high maintenance plants you would incorporate into the garden. And, hopefully, you would have a budget to help with that as well. Again with available time, the less time your have, the more you want to focus on low maintenance plants within your garden design. With a smaller garden, perhaps larger masses of plants with fewer species will really help reduce the maintenance.
How does location affect garden design?
Often, we want to consider a sense of place unifying the design of the garden with our location. Where we are geographically should influence what architectural style is used in the area, and should also be reflected or considered, at least as part of the style in the garden.
How does a garden's function affect its design?
You need to know how you'd like the garden to function. Do you want flowers for cutting? Will you be entertaining in the evening? That will affect what type of plants you use, and what colour you use. Do you want to attract butterflies? Do you want to have various wildlife come into the garden? So all of that needs to be looked at right at the beginning. We incorporate fragrance and that would be a big consideration in the plants that drive the design.
What are garden color schemes?
We can choose a monochromatic color scheme, where we use tints, tones and shades of a single basic color. Polychromatic, which is on the other end of the spectrum is a little bit of every color, and a lot of people do this technique just by fault. We can do analogous or harmonious colors, where we use colors that are adjacent or related to each other or we can use complementary or contrasting colors, colors which are opposite to each other such as red and green, violet and yellow and that creates a dominant focal feature. So those are primary color schemes.
What are garden textures?
When we look at garden textures, we often look at them almost as feminine and masculine. So, there is fine texture, delicate, lacy, in contrast to coarse, bold texture. We also have kind of a mid crowd. An easy way to look at it is fine, medium, and bold.
How does color, texture and form affect garden design?
You can either do it well or you can do it very poorly. Color, texture and form is everything in the garden, and the right scale and proportion of those are important. Many people err on the side of having too many fine textures because there's a lot of plants that are available in a fine texture. One thing to remember when you're putting a garden together is to make sure that you include a lot of bold textures to balance those fine textures. When we look at form, people err on the side of using a lot of what we call the "the Roundy moundy's". They are safe, round blob forms where we want to increase the eyes drive to the vertical space. Incorporate vertical forms as well. When we look at color, color is such a huge part of design and it will affect the mood and the action that occurs in a garden.
How can a favorite season affect garden design?
This is another thing we need to consider in design. One of the first things to think about is what season should the garden peak. So often we try to have the garden looking good all the time, which we can usually accomplish using foliage, colour, texture, and form. But it never looks dynamic all the time, so pick a season that you want it to really shine, where everything gels, and that would be the focal point of either that border or section of the garden, or even just certain containers.
How can art be used in the garden?
Art and a garden, I think, are interchangeable. Art will enhance the design of a garden and the design of a garden enhances the art that's in the garden. And we use art to create a sense of place, or to personalize a garden. If you have a sculpture of a favourite pet or a favourite child in the garden, nothing says that's your garden more than that piece of art. We can use art to bring colour into a space where we might not be able to grow a plant of that colour. We use art to direct movement in a garden, to create focal features, or dominance, which is an important element of design.