Nurture your garden into good shape
Lay down a rectangular lawn then slap borders on three sides and what have you got? A garden like most others. But with a little imagination you can make yours feel considerably larger by adding curves.
Landscape designers add shapes such as kidney or teardrop to break up a lawn’s natural blocky effect and give the impression of space. If you want to have a go, use your hosepipe to mark out a shape then look down from an upper window and adjust it until you get it right. Cut around the hosepipe with a spade or lawn edger and remove the excess turf – make sure you save some for repairs or to extend elsewhere.
Even a small garden will benefit from this trick. Paths, too, may be better when they are not straight. The eye naturally follows a straight lines, so by staggering paths they can provide a visual journey rather than simply take the viewer from A to B.
Again, use your hosepipe to lay out a shape and adjust to fit the garden. Stepping stones, timber, gravel or paving can all give a great impact. Further draw the eye by adding an arch over the path with plants on both sides – especially as planting is another way to create a dynamic space. Phormiums and cordylines with their sword-like foliage will contrast with round, bush-like shapes of Hypericum hidcote and ball-trimmed box plants (buxus).
Add height with tall, thin plants such as dwarf cherry then balance with a mix of colour or plant lighter- coloured trees and shrubs further away to make the garden seem larger.
I like to stand plants in position before putting them in. I can then gauge where they will give most impact. Use fencing to put barriers between these pleasing parts of your garden and separate them from functional areas such as the compost heap, wheelie bins or veg plot.
If you’re adding a patio, don’t lay the slabs square on with the house. Make a diamond pattern to direct the eye to the right or the left. As always, add curves or soften the angles by finishing in a saw-like pattern to blend the edge in.