What Landscape Design Suits You?

Our designs are driven by the home and its setting as well as by the homeowner’s needs and wants. We enjoy the challenge of designing in different styles. Listed are some of the different styles that could be used in your next landscape design.

Japanese Garden

The plantings, the placement of rocks and flow of the design are very deliberate. These gardens are usually very tranquil and make use of few flowers. Water or a simulation of water is often a theme. Plants used are pines and other bonsais, bamboos or bamboo look alikes, evergreen broadleaf plants like azaleas or rhodos. Hardscapes could include rock, gravel, sand, and bamboo fencing. A bridge, stone lantern, birdbath, or a tea house fit right in in these spaces. These gardens work well where there are some established trees to provide a canopy.

English Garden Style

This style makes use of boxwood and other evergreen plants to provide structure as a back bone to the garden. Plantings are often mixed from perennial to shrubs and climbers. Lawns give visual resting places from the busyness of the borders. Water is often featured in the form of ponds, rills, or fountains. Structures like gazebos, arbors and pergolas are common. Statuary is used to provide focal points and benches provide places to enjoy different aspects of the garden.

Prairie Style Planting

A relatively new style makes use of perennial flowers and grasses in masses. These landscapes provide amazing colour and texture over long periods. There is a wonderful sense of changing seasons in this style because the garden is constantly in motion. Not only the flowering time is appreciated, but the process of dying adds a unique and beautiful dimension with seed heads and grass plumes showing well into winter. Hardscapes are less important in this style since the plants steal the show. Structural plants are added to provide a strong backbone in spring and winter. Plants are only cleaned up and cut back when the first signs of spring arrive. Maintenance on these gardens is surprisingly low since plants are selected for their strong stems (no staking), attractive winter structure (no cutting back till spring) and drought tolerance (little watering). Once the planting has filled in weeding is minimal and maintenance is done in early spring.

Children’s Gardens

Play structures and plantings are incorporated into the design. Plants provide interest and food or form nooks for play, water can safely be incorporated in the form of spouts with reservoirs buried and covered with a grate. Plants that are used have soft textured leaves and edible parts. Play houses and other structures blend into the landscape. Safety is always a concern but special care must be given in a children’s garden. Soft surfaces are used as much as possible. The design is done on a scale that matches smaller children so that the space is not imposing.

Cottage Style

A wide variety of plants are used to provide colour, texture and even food. Traditional cottage gardens fed a family while volunteer seedlings of easy to grow perennials and annuals grew up among the veggies and fruits. To make this style effective, the design needs to be well planned and laid out with a strong structure through walkways and backbone plantings while filler plantings can look random. Plants used could include edibles like apples or pears, blueberries or raspberries as well as different perennials and annuals such as bachelor’s buttons, marigolds, columbines and foxglove.

Edible Garden

A fun type of garden especially for a back yard. Plants are used in similar ways to other landscapes except the plant choices are edible. Many edible plants are very beautiful ornamentals, for example blueberries have attractive fall colour, red stems in winter, and berries for people and birds to enjoy while rhubarb has dramatic foliage. Pathways are important to keep the food plants accessible and areas should be left for annual plantings of attractive veggies like kale or swiss chard. Structures could include arbors for vines, a potting shed, greenhouse or even a hen house.

Contemporary Garden

Structure, geometry, balance and scale are signatures of this style. They can be very plant rich but the number of varieties is generally kept to a minimum. Sculptured plants like boxwood and hornbeam are common as our mass plantings of grasses. In this garden style the lines are clean and curves are less common. Flowering plants are used but the emphasis is on the interaction between foliage, texture, and structure. Materials are selected to provide sleek lines, concrete and steel are common. Furnishings commonly include unadorned pots and simple furniture.

Mediterranean Style

These gardens are a great match for sunny and exposed sites especially if the house is done in similar style. The plant choices tend to be heat loving and drought tolerant with many of the silver leaved plants fitting into this category. Lavenders, sages and euphorbias are great choices for these sites. Plantings can be sparse. Hardscape matches are fine rock or slate chips with old style brick or pavers for patios and brick or stucco for walls. Structures could include white canvas or a grape covered arbor for shade.

West Coast Native Plantings

These gardens work well for those who want to provide habitat for local flora and fauna. The plants are of course well matched to the environment. On the west coast be prepared for plantings that provide good texture and foliage (mostly green) but can be somewhat low on colour from flowers. Winter interest is achieved through the use of twigs and berries. Complementing landscape materials include local rock, mulch paths and wooden ties for steps and walls. Structures could include a cabin for a garden shed or a shake covered cabana with a wood stove. Water or dry streambeds fit well into this style.

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