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Friday May 24 , 2019

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Garden Design Quick Tip - Man Made Texture

Posted by on in Garden Design

20150720-111210Good use of texture in the garden is often the thing that brings that final touch of finesse to your design – it is a key tool for designers in creating visual excitement and emotional response when viewing a garden, and often a key element in achieving a good textural tapestry is the planting.  

But while plant shape (form); colour; leaf size, shape and texture; along with positioning all combine texturally, plants alone don’t always create the ‘whole’ textural picture in a garden – it is often the man-made things that we put with them that add to the mix and creates the fuller view.  Think patios, pathways, containers, structures, sculptures, etc – these elements can all add harmony, impact and depth to the textural scene.

Along with function and form, the texture of these man-made elements help define the feel and visual impact of a garden, for instance, if you want a contemporary space then smooth, sleek surfaces with sharp edges add that touch of ‘precision’ that many contemporary gardens exhibit. Conversely if you long for a more relaxed, cottage garden style then reclaimed brick, cobbles or rivened finishes lend themselves well here.  

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Focal Points - Lines and Frames

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focal point - leading lines

Focal points are brilliant tools for bringing your garden ‘into focus’ – focal points add context to a garden.  By giving a viewer something distinct to look at, it somehow manages to bring the setting around it – the wider garden – into focus too.  

Focal points work best when there is a clear line of sight to them; by clearing the way of any other distractions the viewer’s eye is inexorably drawn to the focal point at ‘the end of the line’.  The focal point can be anything – an urn, a bench, a plant, a sculpture, etc but it needs to be distinct enough from its surroundings to hold the attention of the viewer for a while once their gaze reaches it.  It’s that ‘pause’ of attention that then allows the focal point’s surroundings to then be thrown into focus too.

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Colour - The Benefits of Blue

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echinops ritro veitch's blueDid you know that blue is a fantastic colour to use in the garden because it's so versatile? It has a recessive quality to it which some people may find ambiguous but it is that exact quality that makes it such a useful colour to use in a garden design.  Simply by receding, it can be used to blend other colours together in planting; or to create an illusion of depth be that in planting or within the landscaping materials; it also has an ability to pick up the mood of its neighbouring plants too.

Blue can add depth and space to a garden so it’s a great colour to use at the back of a border to make it seem like the vista is extending even further.  There are so many different hues and tones of colours but pale blue for example, can add lightness through intense saturated hues – think of cornflowers on a hot-summers day!  

It also works really well in shady areas as it picks up the light and this colour is well known for creating calm, restful and contemplative spaces.  So with that in mind it’s really important to use the right colour in your garden to obtain the right feel and ambience that you are trying to create.

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Design for Structure

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structure1I thought I’d take a slightly different angle than my usual garden design topic and actually look at the garden design process itself in terms of structure since above all else having your garden designed adds structure to your project.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) the word structure has many meanings and all of them are valid in relation to garden design.

Firstly, structure is ‘the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex’.  Make no mistake, your garden design is a complex undertaking requiring skills across a number of disciplines – even the ‘simplest’ looking garden design requires the designer to wear many hats ranging from land surveyer to plantsman; creative to structural engineer; sociologist to psychologist (yes, really!); soil scientist to environmentalist, visionary to pragmatist,  and more;  and sure, we can all have a go ourselves but we each have to weigh up the cost of hiring a professional garden designer against whether or not our own skills can produce results as well, or as efficiently, or as knowledgably, or as thoroughly, or as creatively, etc.  In the vast majority of cases the investment is well rewarded. 

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What the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) can teach us about being a Garden Designer

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gbbo-gardendesignerIt’s a happy day when the first episode of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) new season airs.  If you’re anything like us you’ve been glued to your TVs every Wednesday night watching the trials and tribulations of this year’s wannabe star bakers getting to grips with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood’s stretching, if not seemingly impossible (for us mere mortals), weekly baking challenges.

But watching the initially optimistic bakers’ dozen succumb to the pressures of the signature, technical and showstopper challenges over the last few weeks it’s got us to thinking and as mad as it sounds we think the GBBO has lessons about garden design hidden in its depths.

So, without further ado here’s our take on what the GBBO can teach us about being a garden designer.

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