Transforming Your Garden: Disguising Boundaries, Using Color, Focal Points, and Themed Planting Schemes

Disguising Boundaries:Transforming Your Garden: Disguising Boundaries, Using Color, Focal Points, and Themed Planting Schemes

  • ack fence disguise: In many small yards, the most obvious boundary is the back fence, which, if visible, immediately gives away the length of the yard. By creating a mixed border directly in front, using a range of plants that will grow as tall as, or taller than, the fence, you will succeed in blurring the edges of your lot. Make sure the border is a reasonable depth: a narrow strip in front of the fence, deep enough for only one plant, is likely to draw attention to the boundary rather than disguise it.
  • False perspective: One of the most effective ways to disguise a boundary and also make a yard seem larger is to create a false perspective. For example, in a yard that appears short, make the borders running down the sides of the yard taper outward so that they are wider at the far end, making the yard appear longer. Another visual trick is to draw the eye away from the boundaries with a central, circular lawn or paved area, and surround it with dense plantings. Evergreen shrubs will ensure that the effect lasts all year.
  • Plant screen: Dividing up the yard with various plant screens so that the entire yard is never completely visible from any one position will help make it feel larger and shift the emphasis away from the boundaries. Even a small lot can be divided up in this way using trellis or woven willow screens as supports for climbing plants; these also help to maximize growing space.
  • Courtyard enclosure: Having a small garden does not mean that you should restrict yourself to small plants; in fact, doing so serves to underline a yard’s limited size. Positioning a selection of quite large plants in front of fences or walls in generous-sized beds that have been pushed to the edges of the lot will help to maximize space in the center of the yard, creating a courtyard. The plants will also help to hide fences and walls.
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Transforming Your Garden: Disguising Boundaries, Using Color, Focal Points, and Themed Planting Schemes

Using Color:

  • Rich colors: If you spend a fair amount of time enjoying your garden from indoors, it makes sense to provide displays of rich color that are easily visible from the house, perhaps in pots and containers on the patio, or in beds and borders close to the windows. Harmonious colors that blend well together create a strong but restful feel; use softer, pastel hues farther away from the house because they show up better at a distance than saturated colors.
  • Monochrome planting: A garden or border composed of mostly white-flowering plants creates a cool, calming feel that is most striking at dusk, when the blooms glow in the fading light. Try using cream and pale yellow flowers, as well as very pale pink and blue ones, to prevent the effect from becoming stark and clinical. Silver-leaved and variegated plants will provide interest once the flowers have faded.
  • Hot hues: Fiery colors, such as reds, oranges, and intense pinks, demand attention, but they should be used with care: they attract the eye away from softer shades and, if planted at the far end of the garden, may make the yard feel smaller. Often the simplest way to deal with hot-hued plants is to group them together and create a condensed and spectacular injection of color. Alternatively, combine them with contrasting shades, such as rich blue or purple, to mitigate the effect.
  • Serene green: It is important to remember that green is also a color, and is the most commonplace in virtually every garden. There are many different shades of green but, generally, it has a restful effect, and gardens that are planted for foliage tend to be serene spaces. Set against other colors, though, green generally fades into the background, so use plants with variegated foliage or white or pastel-colored flowers to shine out and provide additional interest.
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Transforming Your Garden: Disguising Boundaries, Using Color, Focal Points, and Themed Planting Schemes

Focal Points:

  • Eye-catching trees: In a garden that seeks to recreate the wild, focal points need to be natural objects, such as rocks or specimen plants. In this Mediterranean-style garden, the gnarled trunks and silvery foliage of a pair of old olive trees are as arresting as any classical sculpture.
  • Winding steps: Even a utilitarian feature such as a flight of steps can provide a focal point, as long as it is well executed. Winding steps passing through lush foliage lead the eye on to brighter, more vibrant flowers and foliage, which then act as a visual stopping point.
  • Dramatic containers: Attractive pots and containers, planted or otherwise, are one of the simplest ways of creating a focal point. Used alone or in groups, they can be placed in a border, on a patio, or at the end of a pathway, perhaps terminating a vista. Large, impressive pots are often best left empty; others can be enhanced with a dramatic plant, such as a Dasylirion.
  • Focus on color: Brightly colored plants make small-scale focal points in beds and borders. The vivid flowers of bulbs, such as these orange tulips, provide short-term accents, lifting other plantings and heightening interest.

Transforming Your Garden: Disguising Boundaries, Using Color, Focal Points, and Themed Planting Schemes

Themed Planting Schemes:

  • Lush and subtropical: There are many hardy and borderline hardy plants that can be used to create a subtropical-style garden. Generally, the lush feel is provided by foliage plants. Large specimens of hardy Trachycarpus palms, bamboos, phormiums, and tree ferns will provide structure; in summer, containers can be filled with tender plants such as begonias, cannas, Lantana, and gingers (Hedychium), which produce exotic flowers.
  • Classic Italian: Italianate gardens tend to be rather formal, with plenty of topiary and clipped evergreens, such as boxwood (Buxus). The layout is usually simple and the planting restrained, limited to a few favorites, such as acanthus, agapanthus, olives, slender conifers, jasmine, and herbs. Classical statuary plays an important role, often terminating a vista, and specimen plants in containers may feature, perhaps used along a terrace to introduce a sense of repetition and rhythm to the garden.
  • Meadow planting: Informal and naturalistic, meadow planting uses a limited palette of different plants mixed randomly together in large groups. These schemes work well in large, open expanses and tend to be short-lived— many of the plants used are annuals, such as poppies (Papaver) and cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus). However, perennials can also feature, and the planting style can be scaled down to more modest-sized borders.
  • Moroccan oasis: Water is a vital element for a Moroccan theme, and a wall fountain, perhaps with a blue-tiled surround, would make an ideal feature. Most of the plantings should be in pots—pelargoniums, date palms, agaves, and other succulents are suitable choices—but avoid having too many plants. A few large foliage plants in darker corners, and climbers, such as Trachelospermum, scrambling up the walls would also fit in very well.
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Jannah Perera
Jannah Perera

Greetings, I'm Jennifer, a devoted social activist with a fervor for creating positive change and fostering new friendships. During my downtime, I relish in the company of my friends. Furthermore, I actively engage in various activities on the internet and social media platforms.

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