Emotion in Design

Sunday, March 15, 2009

When designing a landscape I try and infuse some emotion into it. Different people want different things. Some want visual interest, color, a relaxing area to end the day, or even a tropical party area around a pool. These things are often times related to different emotions. Some could be calmness, happiness or even carefree and wild. It is important to know how to build the emotion into the design. I want to just give a few tips on how this can be done.If you are trying to promote a calm area cool color plants are probably your best friend. Some blue plants that would be calming would be the evergreens Creeping Blue Spruce, Boulevard False Cypress and Weeping Blue Spruce. There are many more, this will get you started though.The dark green plants that could be utilized would be shrubs Viburnum ‘Burkwood’ and ‘Juddi’. Their white fragrant flowers will contribute to the calming environment as well. Evergreens such as the Weeping Alaskan Cedar, Weeping Norway Spruce, and Red Cedar Whipcord would be great four season plants to include in this garden.To achieve the desired calming effect it is a good idea to plant some of these plants like the Viburnums and Whipcords in odd numbered groups. Doing the same with the larger plants is very effective so long as you have enough area to do so.In the relaxation garden it does not hurt to throw a splash of dark burgundy or purple in for a focal point. Suggested plants would be ‘Purple Fountain’ Weeping European Beech or a ‘Fireglow’ Japanese Maple. Do not go overboard with the red splash technique.A happy garden is easily designed by using lots of daisy type flowers. These would include Coneflowers, Mums, and Asters. Other happy plants would include Butterfly Bushes, Salvia, Crocosmia, Columbine, and Baptisia. Essentially any plants in the garden with big color are generally happy. More structural plants to get you through winter that would be uplifting would be ‘Chief Joseph’ Shore Pine, ‘Emerald Twister’ Douglas Fir, and ‘Gold Thread’ False Cypress.When putting the happy plants together try and plant the flowers in groups of 3-5 depending on space. The structural elements should be planted as single specimens to keep the eye moving around.Probably the hardest gardens to design are around pools and hot tubs where the tropical look is desired. The reason why this is so difficult at Blue River Nursery is because we generally only grow plants that are hardy to at least twenty below zero degrees. Generally these plants do not have tropical appearances. My best suggestions for hardiness yet tropical appearances are Bamboo, ‘Edith Bogue’ Magnolia, Ligularia, ‘Tiger Eye’ Sumac and large leaved Hostas. Ornamental grasses such as Fountain Grass, Zebra Grass and Giant Miscanthus are helpful in a wild and carefree garden as well.Mass planting the plants listed for the hardy carefree wild tropical garden is recommended. It is important to think of how a natural tropical area would look when designing such a garden.When designing your gardens take an extra moment to consider how you want to feel when you enter the garden. Often times gardening is referred to as good therapy. I have always thought the therapy happened after everything was planted myself.

We couldn't be happier with the landscaping they designed and installed!

» Kevin from Warsaw