Gisella Aleshire. Garden Design. April 19th , 2018.
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.
Certain rules help us refine design. One is the Golden Ratio which is a ratio of proportion that's been observed in everything from the Great Pyramids at Giza to the Greek Parthenon and has been used throughout history as a guide to a pleasing sense of balance and order.
Think big. Ample pathways and gathering spaces are inviting, and large features are engaging in any size space. You can maximize the livability of a small yard by taking advantage of changes in terrain to segment the space into different living areas.
Setting a big tree may require machinery or at least multiple gardeners and ample space for maneuvering and stationing amendments and soils, it would be sad to damage or undo some newly planted bed. This seems so obvious, but for lots of gardeners (the author included) a block of fresh perennials may be impossible to avoid planting right away. Be strong, resist the temptation.
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