Landscape design is not just about the here and now. Designers must look to the future and plan a garden that will not only look good now, but will develop and grow into something altogether better.
Gardens often never look worse than when they are first finished, as the plants are immature and all the hard landscaping looks so contrived and new.
Gardens go through development not altogether dissimilar to us.
They start out young and fresh, with no hidden parts or great depths of mystery that notably come with age and experience.
New gardens are pleasant enough and something to be proud of. Nurturing a garden through its first few years when plants can struggle to get a grip on life as they battle with weeds and the weather to dominate their particular little world is essential.
You can help your plants to become dominant. With a little help from their friends your little yearlings can grow into the giants that millions of generations of their ancestors have evolved to be.
You might not live to witness their true magnificence but a good designer will choose suitably fast-growing species so that you can hopefully see them mature and the latter generations can admire them for centuries or millennia.
There are so many aspects of landscape design that are often overlooked by the client or amateur designers.
Although the emphasis is very much on the here and now, when the present owners of the new garden are creating it, every garden must be designed to look good at the five, 10, 20, 50 and 100-year marks.
Smaller gardens have a smaller temporal scale, while the larger the garden the longer the time line.
The famous gardens of the world are generally all large, established gardens such as at the Palace of Versailles, France, or the Descanso Gardens just out of Los Angeles or new ones created with established (large) plants and trees, such as the Eden Project in Cornwall, England.
We are rarely wowed by a lone specimen unless it is colossal. But we see gardens as a whole with all the adjacent plantings as a group or community and this is how we should see our own, much smaller gardens.
It is important to have standout features but it is perhaps more important to have a broad consistency where all the individual components of your garden work with each other and the neighbouring environment.
The perception of the size of focal features is dependent on its relativity.
A lone, medium-sized tree in a small garden will appear bigger and more dominant than if it were in a large garden with others.
One must never overlook the importance of relativity when designing, as there are numerous paradigms that relate to it in the garden. Pick your features well, paying attention to what they are, where you will place them and what they might be like in the future.
- The Marlborough Express