Better garden design – use a curve

Garden Design Tips – Curves:

Many gardens resemble the one below, a lawn, a fence and a narrow border round the edge. OK, it’s functional,  but it is a little uninspiring don’t you think? A better garden design would introduce a curve or a bend in the garden. So here’s how to use curves.

better garden design - use a curve
It’s not very exciting is it?

Garden designers talk a lot about creating different rooms outside, that way you can move to different areas and these rooms have different styles. The whole garden is more interesting to walk through, but this can be quite difficult to achieve in many gardens, because modern gardens are often too small or awkward shapes.


What if there is not enough space for a ‘room’.

The other way to think about the use of rooms is that they prevent you seeing the whole garden all at once. This creates a wish to move to a different area of the garden to see what else is going on and you can achieve this with a well placed curve!

better garden design for straight narrow garden

Take this garden, there is undoubtedly not much to look at, it is a narrow ‘runway’ to the shed. Adding a curve to the lawn helps disguise the narrowness, but only if you also add height.

narrow garden - feather planting
Download this design – it’s in our shop. ‘Towers of Feathers’

Now when standing on the patio and looking down the garden, you will see through the planting and the trellis. You can’t see both edges of the garden at the same time – the overall effect is to make it feel wider. The planting is tall but not dense, so there are glimpses of what lies beyond, without the planting feeling claustrophobic.

But you can get curves wrong….

The ‘bend’ should look like it is going round the corner, so you need to have a tall enough barrier to stop you seeing what’s behind the corner straight away. Or you need to have something interesting to look at where the bend has taken you.

Take this garden for example, here the owner has created a sweeping curve on the lawn, which is good, but where does it go?

There is also a small rectangular patio in the bottom corner which looks totally out of place. The sweeping line of the lawn does catch your eye and it follows the line around the garden, but it stops short. Even with planting added in the borders, the curve seems to have been chopped off.

corner-plot

The curve has to look like it takes you to something, don’t just create a bend for the sake of it or it will look odd.

So we’ve made a few amendments to this garden to create a better overall look…and a curve that looks like it is supposed to be there!

corner-plot-1
‘Black & Cream’ – you can download this design for your garden

But have curves not wobbly bits!

Wibbly wobbly curves aren’t good if your garden is surrounded by strong geometric shapes (buildings and fences!). 

Your garden must ‘fit in’ with it’s surroundings, especially in a small garden, (see Garden Design for Beginners) and this attempt at a natural free flowing curvy lawn just looks odd.

In a small urban garden such as this, it is better to ditch the curves, create a more geometric design but with planting that moves and sways in the wind to create a more interesting and enjoyable garden.

The garden is making you feel good. For more amazing garden design advice – buy our book. Available at Amazon and other online book stores.

best garden design book - I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain