Agave in tapered steel containerContemporary Landscape, Chicago
Photo by Linda Oyama Bryan
What Houzz contributors are saying:
4. Throw in a potted accent. In this garden in Highland Park, Illinois, a single variegated agave in a tall planter acts as an eye-catching focal point midway down a gravel pathway. The height of the planter and sculpture-like form of the agave set the plant apart from the meadow of moor grass (Molinia caerulea ‘Moorflamme’). Using an agave as an accent in a container is particularly useful in garden with heavy or wet soil — where an agave planted in the ground would be at risk of rotting. Control the planting environment inside the pot by starting with a quick-draining cactus-mix potting soil and limiting irrigation.
Succulents, despite their strong sculptural form, do not automatically fit every garden style. If you have a traditional, formal or prairie-style garden, consider planting succulents in a large container. The container will function as the transition between styles. This works because containers work equally well in arid, traditional and contemporary gardens. Additionally, containers frame and elevate sculptural plants in a way that draws attention to their form.
3. Designing along the axis. Much classical landscape design makes use of bilateral symmetry, in which shapes and forms of equal size are placed opposite one another at a point or along an axis. This creates a sense of order and gives the design a feeling of balance. In a large garden, long axes tend to dominate, but in a smaller garden they can be an efficient way to use limited space: Symmetrical gardens tend to be calming and don’t jar the eye. Axes are often terminated with a focal point (a piece of sculpture or a plant with a sculptural quality) whose form contrasts with the straight lines of the design.
RepetitionPioneer trees in the windows bring birds into view while cleaning the dishes, blurring the lines between inside and outside. Again, the planting idea here is simple. The repetition of the grasses looks more compelling than simply planting one of everything from the garden center. All plants are beautiful in the right context — the right plant in the right place creates magic.
Single species. Sticking to one species of plant takes all of the guesswork out of laying out your garden. A field of grasses covers the entire property here, creating a natural and wild mass. A formal network of paths carves through the landscape, but the single species continues from one side of the path to the other, unchanged.
What Houzzers are commenting on:
utting It All Together All in all, maybe you have 65 percent grasses or sedges and 35 percent flowers — feel free to play around with that ratio. For the flowers, plant about 10 percent flowering ground cover plants that nestle in and weave among the base layer. Then, 20 percent can be clumps or drifts of similar or slightly taller flowers that provide constant blooming and maybe 5 percent architectural plants. Keep in mind that sedges have fibrous root zones, so you’ll want to plant flowers that have deep taproots — to more easily access nutrients beneath the sedge roots — or are similarly competitive, so neither one beats the other into submission. For example, you don’t want to put an aggressive mint among the sedges because it will soon choke out those sedges and win the battle.