Summer’s a great time of year to work on some garden design solutions… like how to make your garden beds look a whole lot better. Here’s a little of what works and why…
Mass planting – as in choosing a plant and then filling a garden bed with lots of just that one plant – is a great approach. It’s a good looking solution to the otherwise bitsy garden because it gives it design strength. It’s also a brilliant way to reduce maintenance simply because a mass of thickly planted plants tends to stay ahead of the weeds. But there are a few tricks (as always) to make it a huge success.
It’s all in the selection. If you do a tiny bit of research on your short list of contenders you’ll avoid planting a lot of something that ends up being really unhappy – and unhappy plants tend to look pretty bad, or worse, dead. Your checklist should include the following: it is evergreen?; does it look good pretty much all the time?; does it grow to the right height so that there’s no need to prune it?; will it cope with minimal water, fertilisers and or pesticides? As an example, landscapes architects plant a lot of Flower Carpet roses because it sails through the checklist. The secret is spotting a plant that’s fussy and then leaving it at the garden center.
Have some fun with mass planting. Create a single understorey block running along the drive or the path to the front door beneath any existing trees. Plant in several bold zones using a different species in each. If your home’s architecture is sympathetic, dig up your lawn and with just one plant (but in two colours), create a checkerboard effect.
Whatever your plan, stick to it. What often happens is that we lose our nerve and at the last minute decide to mix everything up. Yes a freshly planted garden bed containing a single species will generate a lot of comment (ie you’ll find yourself defending the idea), but those comments will shift to surprised appreciation as everything settles in and grows together.
How ordinary would this Palmerston North landscape be without the massed planting of Flower Carpet Pink roses? Professional landscapers count on Flower Carpet to smother itself in blooms