Put You in Your Garden: Developing a Signature Garden Style
In art, signature styles become a distinctive stamp of the artist. In the landscape design world, just like in all other art forms, each gardener tends to develop a strong signature style, evolving overtime and over different garden spaces. So much so, there comes a point where if you are familiar with their work, you can spot their gardens immediately.
But this notion of signature gardening doesn’t have to stop with professionals. In fact, it shouldn’t. A great residential landscape revolves around a common theme and if that theme is a reflection of you, then viola! You have created a signature garden.
Where Do You Start?
My recommendation would be to pull in a lot of your self and a lot of the architecture from your home to start off your garden planning. Find out your over arching theme while fitting your home’s facade into it. do you want to reflect modern boldness? Do you like clean lines and a minimalistic approach? Historic: hints of topiary and historically used plants like liriope and boxwoods. Cape cod/ seaside garden? How about locally native: perhaps you want to celebrate what is special about your region (check out tips on incorporating natives HERE). English gardens with intentional wildness? And there is no rule that says you can’t combine these elements. In fact, one of my favorite gardens that I created was a mix between seaside and modern elements. This combination of thought results in unique garden styles that are harder to mimic and thus stand out from the crowd.
Choosing Plants to Develop Theme
Once you’ve gotten a garden style goal in mind, find one to three plants that you love and cant get enough of. Mine trifecta tends to include ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas, ‘Walker’s Low’ nepeta, and ‘tide hill’ boxwoods. Pick three varieties that complement each other, have a nice size variance, and fit within your theme. If you have one plant you love, such as an accent tree, highlight it by planting one and creating a landscape that showcases it. Or on the flip side of that, stagger them throughout your landscape in groups so that your eye wanders with them. One of my customers loved ‘Cherokee princess’ dogwood trees, so I planted 3 on the property to carry the eye with the wisps of white blossoms in the spring. By incorporating these repetitive plants throughout your property, you develop a strong theme plant scheme which leads to a strong signature garden.
Distinctive Features in the Garden
Find a distinctive feature you want to include into your garden. Do you want to incorporate stone, walls, or boulders? How about a specific walkway and patio material? Try to stay true to one or two. Don’t mix pavers and natural stone if you can help it. If you choose bluestone, then play around with the patterns and style to create interest instead of different materials. Garden statues, bird accessories, or structures like obelisks are a great way to incorporate a little of yourself into your garden. Keep in mind your overarching garden theme when choosing accessories.
Playing with Color in the Garden
Color is a great way to incorporate yourself into the garden. I mentioned earlier that I like to combine white, lavander, and a deep green base with hydrangea, nepeta, and boxwoods. This color scheme lends whimsy and and a light and airy feel to the gardens I create. A shoreline themed landscape might incorporate more tans, shades of green and your favorite pop of color. I’ve also had customers who wanted a subtle plant color scheme but then want to add their own POP of color through accessories.
There are so many ways to add little bits of you into your garden. Theme, color, plant repetition, and accessories are a great place to start. If something appeals to you, then run with it and build around that. Your garden isn’t for everyone in the neighborhood….It’s for YOU!
To see some of my work and explore garden styles, check out my portfolio