Garden Themes

Your Garden Room-Themes

How do we go about deciding what sort of garden themes to have in our gardens and why?
There are almost as many ways to go about it as leaves on a tree. The architecture of our home can give us some cues, our lifestyle, the places we like to visit, how much time we have available to care for it- all of these things can tell us what sort of garden theme will appeal most to us.


A traditional style of home- say Queen Anne Victorian, with lots of gingerbread, a Colonial or even a Bungalow style from the early 1900’s will lend itself better to flowing lines and overflowing beds packed full of color. A more contemporary style of architecture from mid-century and into the seventies and eighties will be a terrific backdrop to bold blocks of color, texture and shape, clean lines and unusual combinations of plants and structures. Is your home and interior decor traditional or contemporary? You will most probably prefer your garden design and decor to be similar.

Life style

Who shares your life with you? Young children? Pets? Toxic plants and delicate ones should be avoided, and think about plants that are fun to touch, or smell terrific, or are tasty if you have children. Maybe edible landscaping is for you. Plants with interesting , fun names can interest children in gardening- like toad lilies, foxgloves, johnny-jump-ups and forget-me-nots. You can even make your garden more fun for your pets by allowing them to create pathways to meet and greet the neighbors, cool places they are allowed to nap or dig, a great tree to climb and a little catnip for a cat, or low bushes to jump over for a dog. Are you hardly ever home, or only in the evening? Think about an evening scented or all white ‘moonlight’ garden. Entertain frequently? Have lots of friends who drop in spontaneously? Plan in lots of spaces for mingling, sitting spots, dining areas, perhaps a shelter that can be lit up in the evening. Love to sit in the shade and read a good book? Think about a comfortable sitting area, with a table for your iced tea, and a place to prop your feet. When you are home, do you like to retreat into your own little world? Then you might like to create a wall of flowering shrubs to create the privacy you desire. If you make a list, you can create spaces and rooms outdoors to fit any and all of these parts of your lifestyle and more.

Favorite places and things

Love to travel to tropical places? There are lots of tropical looking plants, and plants in tropical colors. Up North beckons to you? Think wildflowers, pine trees, and a nice natural looking pond. Just adore antiques and old junk? Stash a few sturdy pieces out in surprising places in your garden. Have a yen for anything Oriental? Do a little research, and you can create the feel of an oriental garden. You’ve been to Tuscany (or just want to)? Your art collection won’t fit in your house anymore? Your friends all say you have a very unique sense of humor? You live for Star Wars, Star trek, and anything having to do with ‘Space, the final Frontier’? The answers to these questions will often give us ideas for accessories, plant material and a design direction, and give personality to your outdoor rooms. All of these things can and should have an impact on the theme of your garden. Do a little research, and look at lots of pictures of your favorite places and things, and you may see how they can be incorporated into your garden to truly make it yours and very individual.

Start thinking about your favorite things, the way you like to spend your leisure time, and the style or architecture you like, and you will see how to make your garden as individual and unique as you are. You can make it not just a collection of plants you couldn’t live without, but a wonderful garden room to come home to- one you love to care for and spend time in after all the work is done.

See you in the Garden!

Ellen Leigh

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