Creatingan interesting garden refuge for your family

Published on Thu, Apr 7, 2005 by arbara Wean

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Creating an interesting garden refuge for your family

By Barbara Wean

Last week we talked about some ideas that make the garden entry to your home safe, interesting and attractive for you and your guests. This week we’ll look at ideas to create interesting places in the garden for you and your family.

In even the smallest space, including a patio for a condominium, you can create a place of respite. Many of the houses today are large with very small lots. If that is your situation make your backyard a secret garden patio that is an oasis of beauty. Have a seating area covered in cobblestones or gravel. Find comfortable garden furniture, surround yourself with different heights of plants and flowers and be sure to attract wildlife to your garden. Birds and butterflies love water, food and some shelter. Buy shrubs like dwarf cypress, evergreen boxwood and dwarf or small trees, such as amur maple, serviceberry, clumping jacquemonte birch – these give protection. There are lots of viburnums available with interest most of the year. They have flowers in the spring, fruits in the fall and something is always going on with them. Have a birdbath for the birds and butterflies.

If you have a larger garden area some other ideas to think about when designing your garden are to think about your personal style. Look at the architectural features of your home and echo those features in the garden by adding decks, patios, arbors, gazebos and fences. Add play yards for children and places they can have their own garden plots.

There are many ways to make use of garden spaces. Design areas with a purpose. Don’t forget a place for trash and the compost pile.
Imagine a cottage with a picket fence bumbling with climbing roses and old-fashioned flowers. If you own a modern home with straight lines, the edges would look wonderful softened by waving grasses. Repeat motifs, shapes, colors, patterns and building materials.

Perspective is important. Is your deck on a second level so you will be looking down on your garden? What do you see when you look through a window? Will you see the garden all at once or discover it as you walk around it? Perspective changes the way a garden is experienced. Again, planning is important!

Focal points are necessary to create a place to rest the eye. A waterfall, a beautiful tree, a planted old urn or pot would be great in a border. But be judicious. Too many will just create confusion. An exception might be collections of plants such as bonsai.

Remember that gardening is all about potential. Any bare plot of land or empty pot is a future of lush beauty. So get busy with your designs. Gardening is a great stress reliever, and a wonderful way to build self-esteem. Self-esteem is the building block of creativity. It brings discovery and beauty to the person creating the garden and to the viewers of the garden. As a plus benefit, gardening is wonderful exercise.

Next week we will discuss specific garden styles, and I’ll give you some plants and ideas to try in your own garden.