When it comes to deciding how to decorate a landscape a formal garden can be a very beautiful choice. There are many aspects to consider when making a formal garden, these include theme, environment, climate, and the time you have available to maintain the garden. Once these issues have been addressed, actually creating the garden can begin.
The theme of the garden determines the overall aesthetic. Decide if the garden is going to be a place to relax, a place to entertain, or a place to play? Remember that formal gardens involve a lot of maintenance, so be sure you have adequate time to devote to tending, shaping, weeding, and other general maintenance needs. Consider the environment of your landscape, are there hills, are there wetlands, is the soil good and healthy? Finally, work with your climate; understand when the rainy season is, when the cold season is, and how hot the warm season is.
When choosing plants for your setting, it is a good idea to use native plants, because you know they will thrive in your area. A formal garden just means training those plants in specific ways with clean edges and well defined beds. The themes and design are dependent on the climate; this can include tropical, alpine, western, temperate and Mediterranean formal gardens. By using native plants you can be ensured the plants will grow and thrive, creating the garden you desire.
Formal gardens involve a lot of mass plantings, placed in either edges or as borders for a bed. By using mass planting, you can also sometimes get a better deal at nurseries because you are buying so many of the same plant. With a formal garden, you will want to maintain formality, but not create the same look in each bed. Creating several smaller beds made up of different plants will reduce the monotony, while still creating a formal look. Having all the same plants is a very dull and depressing vision. When thinking about formal gardens think about the very intricately trimmed lawns you see around your home. They are always very pleasant to look at.
It is important to understand your soil type. Some plants need certain types of soil to thrive, so knowing your soil will help you determine which plants to add. It is also a good idea to know how much light your garden gets; some plants need shade while others need full light. Be sure to purchase plants according to how much light they will get in your setting.
When you set up your garden design, the lines and edges are important. They should be straight, typically square or rectangular. There should be well trimmed hedges that define edges; you can also use clumping grasses if the hedges are too much maintenance. The plants should vary in type, some should have color, some should have fragrance, and you can use trees, ferns and shrubs.
A formal garden should have focal point, often this is a tiered fountain, a sculpture, or an exotic tree. Adding flowers around the focus, like roses or lavender will add a pretty view as well as a lovely fragrance. Be sure to leave an entrance to the focal point as this will draw the eye to it. To increase interest, add several focal point in various locations.
Remember, a formal garden involves constant upkeep. If you cannot afford a gardener or landscaper, be sure you have the time and ability to maintain the garden yourself, otherwise all of this work will turn into a very unpleasant and rundown garden.
By: Susan Soler of the Garden-Fountains.com Team