Winter is a good time to make plans for the next season. While it is cold and wet outside you can take the time to think about your garden design and how it could be improved. The six tips come from an article by Shirley Remes over at the Rodale’s Organic Life website. Shirley takes you on a tour of a seven acre garden in Bartlett, Illinois owned by Ted Nyquist. While not everyone will have seven acres to play with, the design tips will give you ideas for your own garden.
Gardeners love plants, no news in that. Often this enthusiasm results in beds and borders planted all over a property, with no rhyme or reason. A landscape filled with planting areas that don?t relate to each other doesn?t look good or feel right. What?s needed are transitions. When the transitions between garden areas are good, a landscape flows.
Ted Nyquist and his wife, Gidget, bought a house on nearly 7 acres in Bartlett, Illinois, about 50 miles west of Chicago. Nyquist traveled for business before he retired and would often visit arboreta and public gardens for inspiration. Nowadays, he works in his garden mostly single-handedly while Gidget uses her artistic skills in potting up the containers.
Nyquist didn?t have a master plan when he began setting out his garden 23 years ago, but this former organic chemist and avid photographer who is also president of the Midwest Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society is adept at tying the varied spaces together. Whether we have small spaces or large ones, we can all learn from the design elements he uses to guide visitors through his garden.
Make A Statement
The first, and most obvious, way to announce a new space is to create an entry. At the top of Nyquist?s circular driveway he placed an ornamental iron arbor that can?t be missed. It frames a vista of the garden, extending an invitation to enter.
To draw attention to the entry of a different garden area, Nyquist uses containers, and in another instance, he built a frame around a door.
?I needed something at a spot going around a curve in the yard from one garden into another,? says Nyquist. He found a large, antique-looking door in California, brought it home, and then built around it to make it self-standing in the yard, creating the passageway he needed from one area to another.
Adding recognizable features at human scale, such as the doors, arbors, and benches that Nyquist uses, is like placing magnets in a garden, says Bob Hursthouse, a landscape architect, horticulturist, and lecturer in nearby Bolingbrook. ?We relate to them. That?s why every garden should have a bench,? he says.