Using plants to divide up and create an interesting garden space

Just mulling over something I come across repeatedly on garden consultation visits which is that many gardeners are under confident when it comes to extending planting from the boundaries of the garden inwards.

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Typical dreary garden scene in Ireland – basically lawn and devoid of plants

I am not sure why this is exactly: perhaps it is because they are afraid that if the plants don’t do well that their mistakes will be too visible or maybe they just feel that plants have no place in a garden’s inner zone?  This phenomenon is, unfortunately, particularly prevalent across the Irish rural landscape where there are countless properties with an acreage of green grass to the front of the house with just a few lowly plants shuffling awkwardly at the boundaries waiting for a chance to shine.  Of course, I love these properties in terms of their design opportunities, but it is sad to see so many of them where a little bit of bravery on the part of the owner would do so much to create interest within the garden itself and also for passersby too (incl. tourists).

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Using plants to divide up a garden space, reducing the expanse of lawn, creating interest. Here espaliered trees provide vertical interest also – Tim Austen private garden design, Tipperary

And if the planting is brought in to the garden proper, it is one of the most basic ways of actually creating a real garden because the planting can be used to divide up a garden in to smaller spaces.  The plants can be used as barriers and visual screens around which we must walk or pass to get a view.

Thus by simple variation of plant height and depth of planting bed we immediately get so much more value out of our gardens.

1 Comment
  • Hi tim my own garden was a overgrown field.gradually I have been able to plant it up but it has taken nearly 25 years and I’m only 38!!!.at least now there are websites and blogs such as yours that potential and experienced gardeners alike can get good ideas.

    23rd November 2013at9:52 pm

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