Katrina Beckenbauer. Garden Design. April 19th , 2018.
It is with plants, probably more than any other element of gardens, that the infinite variation and fickleness of nature is most evident, and so perhaps, they are the trickiest to prescribe rules for. And yet, successful planting is the crowning touch of a garden. Three rules have always served me well.
For example, in laying out one backyard, I projected the lines of its building addition into the garden space and then aligned the swimming pool and wooden walkway with those lines. The result is orderly and cohesive, even after being softened with planting.
Sit near a tree in the park, or a wall, and gradually edge away, and you will see how it works. Of course, there are times when the point of a landscape design is a monumental sense of scale or view, but the best gardens, whatever their size, modulate a feeling of enclosure and openness, and this rule will help.
First, is to plant big to small, start with trees, then shrubs, then perennials, then ground cover. This is important not only in a compositional way (seeing the bigger forms first gives a better sense of the overall structure), but in a completely practical sense.
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