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Monday December 17 , 2018

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 - Repetition through Form

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repetition-formRepetition is one of those key elements of garden design that helps achieve that goal of unity in a garden.  Whilst unity is the harmonisation of the whole, repetition is a part of unity, and there are many ways of using repetition in a garden design. A while back we briefly looked at using repeat planting in a way that ‘steadies’ the planting plan and helps each area relate to another by adding harmony to the borders.  In that example we were repeating specific plants but this time around we wanted to widen the scope and application of repetition to include form too. 

In garden design, ‘form’ generally refers to the visible shape or configuration of something and often it is the plants that non-garden designers tend to think about in terms of form – tall plants, wide plants, bushy but compact plants, etc.  While plants are a major tool in achieving repetition when you widen the scope to include other elements in the garden too, that is when you can really start to see the possibilities for repetition; and consequently for better unity in your garden design too. 

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Top 5 Things we Love about Garden Design

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Inspired by Valentine’s Day, it’s been love week here at Blue Daisy and all week we’ve been talking about things we love about garden design.  To be honest there are far too many things to include here; favourite plants, materials, shapes, styles, gardens and more, all got a mention but in looking at garden design as a process there were some very clear ‘winners’.  So, in no particular order here are Blue Daisy’s top 5 things we love about garden design:

Collaboration

love-garden-design-collaborationWe just love the collaborative process that garden design is.  Our clients are a diverse lot!  Some know exactly what they want from their garden design while others haven’t a clue.  Still others might know certain elements they would like but not how they can get them into their garden space.  Every garden Nicki designs is different and is designed for a particular client but every design has been a collaborative process between client and garden designer.

Anticipation

Even though a client has seen the plans and signed off on their garden design concept it’s often not until the garden has been cleared and the ground works started that they will start to really ‘see’ what’s coming and it’s at that point that the anticipation of their new garden usually really grips them.  We love sharing that sense of anticipation and excitement with our clients.

Transformation

Transformation is perhaps an obvious one to choose for garden designers but we love to see our clients’ responses to the overall transformation of their garden from that very first meeting Nicki has with them, through the design process, the whole build stages and finally to completion. In some cases the change from the ‘before’ to the ‘after’ is profound and it’s not just the physical landscape of a client’s garden that is transformed either – in many cases a new garden design has led to a whole new experience for our clients...

love-garden-design-2Introductions

We know it might sound a little odd but as part of the garden design process when the build has been completed and the planting has been done Nicki will usually ‘introduce’ the garden and the plants in it to our clients.  Getting to know the different elements of their garden and the plants in it; the job they do in the overall scheme and design, how to look after them, what to expect from them through the changing seasons, and more, is an introduction that often sparks or cements a burgeoning new love affair that often blossoms between our clients and their new garden design and we just love playing cupid!

Relationships

Relationships work on two levels for Blue Daisy – firstly, we love the relationships we have with our clients and secondly we love the relationships our clients have with the gardens we have designed for them.  We hear time and again about how our garden designs have changed the relationship our clients have with their gardens and we love it.  Some clients have turned into serious plant-lovers – from a position of steadfast indifference; while others have been transformed into gardeners; still others have talked about complete lifestyle changes where their new garden has become a major new hub of activity and socialising for their families; others have found a new and improved relationship with their homes – however it has affected them we just love that we have been part of those changes through our garden designs.

 

 

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Top tips for choosing surfaces in your garden design

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surfaces in garden design - patio, vertical surfacesIn and of their own right, for many of us, surfaces don’t often take precedence when thinking about our gardens but they are a key element of any garden design. 

It is the surfaces of the hard landscaping that usually dominate a garden through the winter and set off beautiful planting schemes in the growing and flowering seasons but surfaces are much more than that because the materials used to create that perfect patio or winding pathway carry with them not only functionality but scene-setting, mood enhancing, aesthetic impact that does much of the legwork in hanging a whole garden design together. 

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Using plants for texture

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Fatsia-285Previously we have looked at what texture is in garden design (Garden Design Quick Tip: Texture) i.e. often relating to the surface appearance and feel of a plant – usually ranging from delicate to coarse. Remember to try to think of it as a character element that can be used by itself or with other elements to create a feeling of unity.

We love creating texture in the garden because it appeals to many senses at once.  You can often tell what something is going to feel like just by looking at it - think of Stachys byzantina also known as ‘lambs ears’ where the leaves have that soft woolly texture and Stipa tenuissima (feather grass) with its fine feathery tendrils that make you want to run your fingers through the leaves.  But not all plants feel how they look and it is only by interacting with them – i.e. touching them – that anticipation can be confirmed or surprised.  When there is great textural contrast within a border its effects are heightened not only because of the visual and physical impact of how those textures work together but also because the invitation to touch it is so much stronger too.

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Trees for structure in small gardens

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amelanchierOne of the elements of garden design that designers use is that of structure. While perennials and annuals come and go within a garden accenting it, it is the more permanent aspects of a garden - manmade like arbours or pergolas, or plants like shrubs and trees - that gives it structure, adding strength and often character to a space.

Trees are brilliant structural plants. When our horizontal opportunities are limiting trees allow us to capitalize upon the vertical possibilities often making the space feel bigger. They also add definition to a space too; for instance a single tree planted in the centre of an island bed defines a space in one way but a line of trees along a pathway adds a different dimension cmpletely. The age of a tree can also add a sense of history or context to a garden while the tree itself brings layers of biodiversity to a garden through the different species it supports. All in all a tree's reassuring presence throughout the seasons makes it a first port of call for any garden designer looking to add structure to a garden.

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