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The Beauty of Formal Garden Design

Aug 18, 2007
This article about "formal garden design," has been designed to be as relevant and informative as possible. However, if you are still hungry for more information, see the search tips at the end of the article.

"A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows."
-George Gurdjieff

Gardening can be a task that is difficult, but one that holds its own reward in coaxing and nurturing plants to create something beautiful. However, some people want to go beyond the simple beauty of the greenery, and wish to impose order upon the more fluid shapes of nature, thus creating something that's a work of art and a celebration of precision.

It is this precision that forms the basis of formal garden design. If you have a desire to incorporate formal garden design in your own home garden, it helps to know where to start.

Emphasizing the Pattern

As you grow more proficient in the significant upkeep that formal garden design requires, you may wish to find ways to further emphasize those lines. This is where paving and gravel can come into play, using them to fill negative spaces, defining walkways and even creating interplays of color that work with the plants used in your informal garden design.

If you get to the point where your formal garden design is incorporating these elements, you'll probably have something that looks like a beautiful, miniature park.

Clean Lines

Formal garden design is characterized by clean lines that define an area rather than natural, organic shapes. This is most easily accomplished by the use of tightly growing plants, hedges in particular, to define those lines.

For those who are looking to incorporate formal garden design into their home, the simplest way to get started is to plant a hedgerow around a flower bed, enclosing your plants while using the hedge to provide a border.

Topiary

A feature in many elaborate formal garden designs is topiary, where sculptures are created out of tight evergreen bushes or hedges. While you certainly wouldn't expect someone new to topiary to suddenly start crafting elaborate sculptures out of the hedges, the process of coaxing the hedges to define the lines of your garden, in essence, contains the basics of topiary.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the topic:
"Topiary is the art of creating sculptures using clipped trees, shrubs and sub-shrubs. The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, creator of topia or "places", a Greek word that Romans applied also to fictive indoor landscapes executed in fresco. No doubt the use of a Greek word betokens the art's origins in the Hellenistic world that was influenced by Persia, for neither Classical Greece nor Republican Rome developed any sophisticated tradition of artful pleasure grounds."

If you do want to somehow incorporate this in your formal garden design, you should keep in mind that doing so requires patience and a steady hand when cutting.

For a basic topiary design to add to your formal garden, try using techniques to coax smooth curves in your hedges, helping the shape of your garden to flow. Or, if you still have something that's got a lot of right angles and corners, start growing shapes at the corners to add decoration; think of the ornaments you see at the corners on fancy staircases and molding in architecture.

By incorporating topiary into your formal garden design, you can take basic lines and create art, all adding up to a beautiful, green space in your home.

This article was meant to be a brief summary. If you are looking for more info then consider the following:
1) The Bookstore - there are books on every topic, and they are usually more complete than the internet
2) Search Engines - Don't forget your search engines
3) Local stores - employees at specialty stores can be very helpful
About the Author
For more information on formal garden design visit http://www.GardenDesignBasics.com
or visit http://www.TheCleverGardener.com
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