Every successful garden is designed and planted according to a pattern, and each pattern is based on principles of design, which are common to all the arts — unity, coherence, and balance. Garden patterns, unlike those used in dressmaking and foundry work, cannot be mass-produced, since each one is an outgrowth of a particular site. Herein lies the charm and distinction of gardens. This being so, why do we attempt a general discussion? Because each well-designed pattern contains ideas, and one or more of these ideas may help you solve your own particular garden problem.
For the purpose of study and comparison garden designs may be classified as formal and informal, conventional or naturalistic, geometric or of free form. All these antipodal words fit some gardens. Many contain both formal and informal elements, naturalistic and conventional motives, geometric and free patterns, so that the terms are often more confusing than explanatory. Of course every pattern must be a complete unit whether it be symmetrical, or one that, at first glance, appears almost devoid of organization. A garden should be self-contained and not just ramble around the property indeterminately, running off here and there into nothing, or bringing together incongruous lines and shapes.
However once it is completed, it is unimportant whether you call it formal or informal, geometric or free. Actually it probably will be a little of each. If it has a pleasing composition, it is a success; if not, no matter how closely it follows academic rules, it is a failure.
- Good Planting Design Not Beyond The Amateur - Since landscape gardening is a fine art and not a science, as is horticulture, planting design, which is the carrying out of the basic design in terms of plant material, is no less an art. It must be approached with the underlying principles which govern good design.
- Garden Patterns - Successful gardens are designed and planted according to patterns, and each pattern is based on principles of design, which are common to all the arts — unity, coherence, and balance. For the purpose of study and comparison garden designs may be classified as formal and informal, conventional or naturalistic, geometric or of free form.
- Locating Your Garden - The location of your garden necessarily depends upon the shape and topography of the lot, the type of house, its position in relation to property lines, and the location of garage, driveway, walks, and service area.
- Simple Versus Complex Patterns - Too often the beginner selects for his first garden the most complicated pattern he can find. As experience increases he simplifies until finally a simple and direct scheme is produced.
- Asymmetrical Patterns - There are places where simple schemes are not suitable. Perhaps, the axis cannot be laid out so as approximately bisect the available area as on a narrow lot. Perhaps one side of the area is much sunnier than the other, or perhaps a symmetrical scheme would seem too rigid, or out of keeping with the design of a rambling house.
- The Importance of Planning - Since landscape and garden design is primarily the arrangement of land for use, planning must precede planting. The two must be integrated, the one to serve as a basis for the other.
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