If you struggle with getting good design in your landscape, develop a relationship with the space, the plants and the natural rhythm of the seasons.
That’s the advice from noted author and garden designer C. Colston Burrell, who spoke recently at the Emily N. Daniels Horticulture Symposium at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The goal is to create inviting, intimate spaces, whether your landscape is large or small. Here are some of his suggestions.
Integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. For instance, consider the view from your windows. What you see looking out the window is probably more important than what a passersby sees from the street.
Allow easy access from the house to the garden, where you’ll find several comfortable places to sit or dine, said Burrell, who received the Award of Distinction from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers in 2008 for his work promoting sustainable gardening practices.
Match hardscape with the materials of the house. Mid-century modern homes could use concrete or pea gravel while other periods might call for brick, stone or wood hardscape.
Select plants with multiple seasons of interest. Think about the architecture of plants, their foliage, flowers, seasonal interests, berries and bark. Place plants where you can enjoy their seasonal characteristics. Consider what you see out your windows in winter.
Use design elements of the house as a guide. Say you have a nicely arched front door or entryway. Echo that form in a similar shaped piece of furniture or plant placed in the area.
Let the structure of nature be a model. Nature has multiple layers, so emulate them in the landscape for a natural look and feel. The canopy of trees forms the ceiling, shrubs the wall and low-growing plants, the floor.
Employing the design of nature allows us to create rooms or intimate spaces where we can escape the stresses of the day, enjoy a dinner or a glass of wine.
Lastly, he said, remember nature’s food web:
• Integrate landscape structure with the environment.
• Layer plantings.
• Plant lot line to lot line.
• Establish a matrix with regionally native plants.
• Establish a fauna feeding hierarchy through native plant diversity.
• Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
Spring Garden Clinic
The Marion County Master Gardener Spring Garden Clinic will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 1 at St. Luke Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis. Download the registration form. Or, call (317) 275-9286 or email email@example.com.