Using Unusual Garden Features

In many ways, gardens are very personal creations, each choice and each hour of tending yields specific results. After several seasons, however, the garden you dreamed may have never bloomed or no longer pleases you as you thought it might. At these times it is worthwhile to consider some more unusual, that is to say, more interesting or less common garden features. The most important thing when planning the space of your garden is keeping in mind the visual balance between the various elements. Stone elements always add excellent contrast to a garden. By using stone to offset your garden you will draw attention to all of the textures in your garden. A coarse sandstone finish will help display glossy green leaves, helping them to look lush and vibrant by drawing attention to the edges of individual leaves. A matte gray stone will help bring out the reds in your roses while a shiny marble will best offset flowing water and large “roundish” plantings.

Lights are an ever-increasing popular feature in gardens. Gone are the days when lights in gardens only give alert of intruders. There are many different kinds of lights that can be used to set your garden glowing at night so be sure to choose carefully for your purposes. Too much light will overpower the natural peacefulness of your garden while too little may create long and discomfiting shadows rather than giving your garden gentle illumination.

Placing a waterfall in your garden will change the overall landscape and ultimate impact of your garden. A garden waterfall provides a relaxing accompaniment to other garden sounds as the water falls gently or skips along its path. Large waterfalls will likely offer a feeling of luxurious grandeur that may not be desirable in every garden. Tiny spaces are better suited to the smaller, less sprawling waterfall arrangements. With many options available, think about how much space you are willing to give over to your waterfall.

Remember to be careful to consider texture when selecting your waterfall. There may not be a great deal of statuary and stone in your garden already, but when adding a large attraction like a waterfall, be sure to select a color and kind of stone that looks natural in your area. Different plants are best accentuated in different ways so it is important to select landscape elements with a deliberate eye for contrast and texture.

Another interesting feature that you can use in your garden is a birdbath. A birdbath is a slightly more sedate source of interest in a garden and will not have as much impact on the overall look, but it will provide interesting balance and contrast to the leafy and flowery. There are many types of birdbaths, ranging from small low to the ground constructions to Romanesque columns.

Try moving your birdbath around and look at it from several directions and during several different times of the day. Arrange flowers and other garden elements carefully around your birdbath so as not to distract its charm.

If you have a very limited amount of garden space, but a large patio, deck, or veranda, use planters to arrange greenery in the space you do have. Accent your planters with a trellis or coax a vine along another standing structure to increase the height of your arrangement. By arranging several different planters in a small space it is easy to create the illusion of a much larger garden.

A trellis can also be used effectively to block unsightly constructs in your vicinity. Many climbing vines grow (especially annuals) quickly, without much care to add attractive height, color and texture to your space.

Another way of adding height to your arrangement is by using a wall fountain. Wall fountains provide graceful lines to areas that usually remain unornamented. The advantage of structuring your garden around such inanimate objects is lasting, low maintenance attractiveness.

Think about the shape of each object you are using and how it balances its companions. Two planters of the same height but very different shape should probably not be placed side by side because it creates an awkwardness in the visual flow. Use other pieces of statuary to move the eye along a more graceful line.

Many people have trouble arranging their garden in ways that please them. There are a few key design elements that may help you create a garden that provides lasting visual pleasure and is reasonably easy to maintain.

1. Use permanent objects to define the boundaries of your garden. Limits help to create relationships between objects and will help you determine what is missing.

2. Use movable objects to create change and keep yourself from feeling trapped within an inflexible design (your garden should make you happy!).

3. Remember that not every item in your garden can be the center of attention. Although it is often a good idea to work outward from a large central object, symmetry is actually the hardest kind of pattern to do well. Asymmetrical patterns are actually far easier to work with for the average gardener.

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