In a previous article we provided some guidelines on making the most of a small garden, so this time around we thought that we would discuss how to get the best out of a large garden. We’ll be looking at the average residential garden size for larger gardens of 3000 square meters and up.
The name of the game in gardens, in general, is creating interest. However, in larger gardens, it is creating and retaining interest. Often in big landscapes, it is very easy to stand in almost anyone’s place and survey the entire property in one fell swoop, seeing everything it has to offer. This is normally because no focus has been put into creating interest, in particular, creating a sense of mystery, intrigue and adventure.
We repeatedly see large gardens where planting spaces have been pushed out to the perimeter of the property into narrow strips, with huge sprawling seas of lawn. Occasionally there is a statue, fountain or a little grouping of furniture drowning in this great open space.
In our experience, it’s not inviting or a great feeling absolutely exposed in a green desert of lawn. Having a lawn is great, but reign it in a little bit.
Create Interesting Spaces, not Space
So how do we fix this? It’s not that difficult, especially with the help of a qualified landscape designer.
You want to break the garden down into spaces, not make it seem smaller, think ‘compartmentalisation’.
We create interest by deciding which parts of the garden we want to use for what. Once the purpose of the area is decided, then we can create a garden room around that. For example, you can extend the entertainment area/patio of the house into the garden with a pool and fire pit area with lawn and plants hugging the space. From there, you can lead to a play area for the kids and further off a reading nook. So, you create a slight bit of separation, defining different spaces with garden beds and paths without cutting them off completely, while building a bit more interest.
Go on a Garden Adventure
Now, beyond general interest is forming greater intrigue and adventure in the garden. One of the ways we achieve this is by obscuring sections of the landscape. I know this sounds counterproductive, but this is probably one of the best ways to actively draw people into the garden to investigate the spaces instead of just passively viewing it.
We can obscure regions of the garden by making use of dense planting, a hedge, interesting wooden or steel panels, fencing or even a feature wall. The key to attracting someone’s attention enough to have them investigate is to then include an interesting gateway /entrance to the space, the sound of water or a statuesque feature that you can just see beyond or poking above what is obscuring that particular “garden room”.
Cut Back and Expand
Expanding bedding areas is another great way to make use of the garden. Cut back on the lawn with interestingly shaped beds, which are cheaper and easier to maintain than grass.
Then introduce meandering paths through the beds to stroll on when you need some fresh air or just want to actively enjoy your garden. Hide exciting sculptures, pots, seating areas and other features in these larger beds that the paths can lead you to so that you can enjoy them and heighten the adventure element of it all.
There is so much more we could add, but this article would turn into a full-blown novel. Gardens are there to be enjoyed as an extension of your home, not an afterthought, a maintenance nightmare or simply viewed from the patio.
We hope that this article will help you start seeing the potential of all the space you are fortunate to have and truly start enjoying it.
For more gardening advice contact Kerwyn on 064 658 2815 or email email@example.com. You can also visit the Purple Turtle Concepts and the Guild of Landscape Designers (GoLD) pages on Facebook.
By Kerwyn Fourie