Fill the gaps: Block planting in garden design

In an ideal garden design, there would be every plant under the sun and zero limitations in terms of what we could plant, regardless of the climate we live in. This, however, is not sustainable, neither for the maintenance of our garden nor for our pockets. To remedy this planting problem, we would suggest repetition of planting or “block planting” in your garden design. And I don’t mean square planting beds here either! Here are a few reasons why this planting is effective:

  1. Uniformity in your garden design

Block planting can add seamlessness to your planting design. This does not have to mean blocks of lawn or shrubbery, but repetition of a particular plant can add richness and depth to your garden and make the space appear larger than it is.  I recently visited Tenerife (check out my previous blog for more on this) and I was struck by the abundant green landscape, absolutely laden with cacti amongst other “green goodies”. Repetition of planting elevates the appearance of your garden design giving it a quality that is pleasing on the eye.

Illustration of block planting that occurs naturally with no human inervention
Coastal landscape in Tenerife. The plants have established naturally on the original volcanic rock, which looks like a nature’s own form of block planting
  1. Ease of maintenance

Upkeep of gardens, as we are all aware, requires some effort. Block planting is a great way to reduce weeds and to maximise space usage in our gardens. When designing your kitchen, you wouldn’t separate your utensils into different cupboards– the same principle applies to planting in gardens.

  1. The (literal) fruits of your labour

Block planting through use of raised beds, for example, is the perfect way to introduce home-grown produce into your garden design. Both aesthetically pleasing and edible- what’s not to like?

4. Wild ideas

Whilst planting for nature can sometimes feel like it should be a messy look, to the contrary, we often see examples of mass planting or repeated groupings of plants in nature where they have taken hold and established expanding niches of a particular habitat (refer the Tenerife example above or think of a Wicklow mountainside where natural or semi-natural reapeated groupings or “blocks” of heathers, bilberries and bracken abound to create a pleasing motif for the eye and for the wildlife that resides there.

A flowing garden design that uses repeated blocks or groupings of plants to create interest and to carry the eye down the garden,
A garden completed in 2008 in Greystones for a family.  Use of repeated blocks of grasses and perennial flowers to create a unified planting scheme and to draw the eye down the garden.

Repetition is not boring… at least not in the case of block planting. Keep this in mind if you are looking to refresh your garden design and check out the rest of my portfolio for more garden design inspiration!

No Comments

Post a Comment