Your house is made up of many different rooms each of which has its own distinctly different feel. Painting the room in different colors, placing windows for views and placing furniture will leave you with a distinct impression.
Treat your outdoor living space as you would your house. Plan your garden by creating different rooms. These “rooms” can vary in size and height. I usually like to maintain a view or vista into another part of the garden just as an open door allows you to look into and move into another room. Keep in mind that you never want to see the whole garden at once. You want to be surprised and invited into different parts of the garden.
Rooms in the garden don’t have to be large. You can make a very small space appear to be larger by using cool colors like blues and greens which seem to recede making the area feel much larger. Hosta work well to achieve this effect. Delicate, airy plants allow you to peer through and make you feel like you’re part of a much larger space. Blooming plants such as plumbago (Ceratostigma), Balloonflower (Platycodon) and Aster ‘Blue Lake’ also help create the illusion of being in a larger space.
Think of your garden as a maze. You wander on and on through the garden never quite able to see everything. This allows you to transform a 1/4 acre space into an acre or a 1-acre garden into a 4-acre space.
To make a very large area appear smaller, use bright, colorful flowers instead of blues, greens and dull colors. I enjoy using bright, lively colored plants such as Aster ‘Alma Potschke’ (hot pink), salmon or red Impatiens, hot pink Petunias, and Buddleia ‘Pink Delight’. These plants jump out at you and give your garden the illusion of being smaller and much more confined.
Larger groupings (3 or more of the same plant) soothe your senses. Your eyes easily flow through the garden. We love to collect plants but one plant of each type creates a hodge-podge effect and leaves you with a confused and uneasy feeling. As you visit other gardens or hike through our parks remember what gives you that relaxed enjoyable feeling.
Remember that gardening is easy. Have fun with your design.