It is important to decide on a theme or overall philosophy concept for your garden. A huge and time-consuming part of this is choosing the correct plants and plant combinations.
Your personal garden style should evolve and emerge in response to a number of factors:
- Your personal taste and personality
- The climatic conditions and geographical zone of your garden
- Interior décor of your home, colour schemes and textures
- The practical needs of your family
- The amount of time you are willing to spend in your garden
- Ability to work with the existing site and infrastructure
- Your ability to be original and creative
Plant choice is not, unfortunately, as simple as buying a few of your favorite plants and planting them haphazardly around your garden. Careful consideration of the following factors is required when choosing plants:
Theme / Philosophy
The theme should compliment the style of your home as well as your personal style. The garden should be an extension of your home. Plants used indoors should share a similar characteristic to those used outside.
Consider your immediate climate and micro-climate in the areas of your garden when selecting plant material. The direction your home faces will impact on which areas of your garden receive sun/shade at which times of the day and are an important factor.
Factors such as sun, shade, rainfall, frost and wind are important considerations in the plant selection process. Choosing species endemic and indigenous to your area would be preferable as these are already suited to the particular climatic conditions.
Your plant selection should be functional and contribute the overall garden effect as well as be aesthetically pleasing. Each plant should perform a function such as adding texture, colour, accentuating a feature, creating height or body or acting as a filler or focal point.
Plant size and shape are essential in maximizing the look of your property. Arrange plants with varying heights and sizes to introduce body and volume to your property. They are useful in screening unattractive views and enhancing feature view points.
Scented and aromatic plants can create interest and atmosphere. Lacy, textured plants will soften hard features and strong planting combinations.
It is important to consider the characteristics of the plant material you wish to use in your garden to ensure a well structured and flowing landscape.
You need to consider the individual characteristics of each plant to ensure you achieve a harmonizing flow and well structured effect. By placing plants that compliment or contrast each other in terms of flowers and foliage, leaf shapes or contrasting textures, harmony and flow can be created.
To combine plants that work well together wither through complimentary or reversal contrasting textures and colours, the overall effect is one of unity and harmony throughout the garden and this is essential to overall success of the landscape.
The correct choice and combinations of plant material is not easy and requires careful planning, research, consideration and a clear idea of what you want.
Here are some of examples of the basic garden styles and the related indigenous/endemic plant choices:
- Cottage / English
- Formal French / Italianate
- Modern Architectural
- Wild Forest