There are few improvements that make a house a home and demonstrate a well cared for appearance as effectively as a great garden. Just as homes are built in different styles, there are different styles of gardens. Create your own based on the space you have, the function you want it to serve and even to complement the style of your home. Different types of gardens are characterized by the plants and flowers, the materials used to create the garden, and the style and purpose of the space. Gardens can range from the tranquil haven of a Japanese rock garden that has been created for the purpose of meditation to the practical organization of a well-arranged and tidy vegetable garden.
Spring is a great time to build a garden you will not only enjoy once completed, but also during the process of choosing a style and spending time outside planting, which can be an enjoyable family activity. Here are four common types of gardens that you might choose for your home.
When we visualize a garden, most of us imagine free flowing, colorful flowers and rolling lawns. The garden that you most likely picture is actually an English garden by definition. An English garden is typically packed with flowers, may include a small lake or pond and has picturesque architecture.
The landscaping elements of an English garden date back to the early 18th century when Europe was intently focused on the nature, art and beauty of life. English gardens complement almost any house style and work especially well with ornate Victorian homes that are often seen throughout the North Shore. Since flowers and plants are essential to the English garden and both can take up a lot of space, these gardens tend to be large and sprawling. You can make your garden as extravagant as you choose and still emulate the style of an English garden without worrying about elaborate embellishments such as bridges or ponds.
To keep your garden in line with the style of an English garden, one of the most important things to remember is to plant it lushly so that it is dense with flowers. Flowers that are distinctive of these gardens are peonies, geraniums, hydrangea, hibiscus and roses. Other distinct elements of English gardens are plants and pathways in curved shapes as well as hedges and shrubs that give the garden height.
Japanese Rock Garden
While the beautiful flowers and picturesque qualities of an English garden can create a relaxing atmosphere, Japanese gardens put little emphasis on flowery plants, achieving beauty through a meditative environment.
Japanese gardens have a tranquil atmosphere that is influenced by Zen Buddhism and you can use this influence to create your own place of meditation and tranquility. Japanese gardens are often known as rock gardens because of the importance placed on stone fixtures and placement throughout the garden. Japanese gardens have a simple style and typical characteristics are toned down colors, fewer plants and flowers, and carefully positioned stones throughout the garden space. Stones can be used to create paths, bridges and walkways. Traditionally, the placement of stones in a Japanese rock garden is a detailed task, and stones and rocks are arranged to represent mountains, water and islands.
Although these gardens are inspired by, and built to complement temples of Japan on sprawling areas of land, you can work with the space in your own backyard to create a Japanese garden that fits your home. A simple, small rock garden can be created in a modest space such as a rooftop or a nook in your yard. Typical home styles that work well with a Japanese garden are contemporary, spare homes made with natural materials that nicely accompany the simple appearance and generous rock placement found in a Japanese garden.
Another simple type of garden is a kitchen garden. The green movement and focus on buying local fresh fruits and vegetables are contributing to the popularity of these vegetable gardens. Creating a kitchen garden is practical and a great way to make your mark and go green. While you’re enjoying a backyard garden you’ll also be growing your own food and eliminating the middleman, helping the environment and saving you money in one fell swoop.
A kitchen garden can be as small or large as your yard is able to accommodate and you have time to work it. If you have a smaller yard, your garden can be in a small patch of compact-growing vegetables and your favorite herbs. Some of the best vegetables to grow in the spring are spinach, peas, lettuce and asparagus. Part of the beauty of a vegetable garden is the geometric appearance of neatly planted rows or blocks.
Kitchen gardens can work for any home because they can be as small as necessary, and their practicality for providing your home with fresh foods makes designating some lawn space and time well worth the while. Kitchen gardens were popular during World War II when families turned to their backyards as a way to cut down on the cost of food, and this idea can translate into your home to save some money and enjoy fresh produce.
A shade garden is a garden built in an area with little direct sunlight and created with the challenges of limited sun in mind. Shade gardens don’t have to be less beautiful or interesting than regular gardens just because they lack sunlight.
There are many plants you can include in your shade gardens that are able to grow well in the shade, but you will need to choose plant materials carefully and prepare the soil, since shade plants usually compete with trees for food and water. Lily of the valley works well as a shade garden’s ground cover. Other typical shade garden plants include hosta and rhododendrons. Perennial geraniums are also a great choice for a shade garden because their versatility doesn’t require a preference for shade or sun and they will stay in bloom longer than many other plants, providing color that is often challenging in a shade garden.
Creating a shade garden with aesthetically pleasing color is key. Choose blue and purple tones that will stand out in the shade. To locate and create a shade garden, you’ll first need to assess your yard throughout the course of a day to determine the sun’s pattern and which areas of your yard or current garden are constantly in the shade. If you have tall trees that are used to shade and cool areas of your backyard, but you still want the landscaping of a garden in the areas where the tree’s shade falls, then creating a shade garden is your solution.
Creating and planting a garden can be a fun springtime family activity and you can choose a style to match your environment, tolerance for maintenance and home. Don’t underestimate the enjoyment of having your own garden—for a small to moderate investment in effort, it can provide a luxurious escape, and even a source of fresh foods and decoration just steps away from your back door.