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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Informal Garden Design
The informal garden design has no set pattern. In days of old the informal gardens were cottage gardens. They grew plants for medicinal, culinary and superstitious reasons. Every plant was grown a specific purpose. People in the villages use to exchange plants with one another.

The not so wealthy, rather humble villages errected and planted gardens of their own, with no formality. To them it was wild beauty. It was money for them as their crops provided an income for them to feed their families.

Cottage Garden Design Compared with the cottage gardens from 1865 onwards, the informal gardens of our day have been transformed from the superstitious, culinary and medicinal to the masses of bright, bold rivers of color rising out of gardens with bold curves. Some culinary and medicinal plants do add interest to an informal garden design.

The cottage garden design of our day may be filled with the following plants as to make it a practical, workable garden: vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, perennial flowers and annuals.

When you set out to design your informal garden, there are a number of principles that you must keep in mind:
  • Balance
  • Lines
  • Scale
  • Texture
With Balance, it is important that you ensure balance with plant material and structure or volume of the plants with the volume on the opposite side of the scale. You could use a formal planting design to achieve your goal.

Rely on the soft curving lines and undulating levels always making sure that the plants are balanced and arranged in a well-thought-out, organised pattern.

Next: the lines.Our Professional Designers generally enjoy using big bold curves in their designs, but, nevertheless, depending on the design, soft curving lines also look appealing. Don't zig-zag your curves. Lead the eyes gently along curving smoothly and flowing beautifully.

Thirdly: Scale. It is as simple as this: If you have a small house and small garden with small furniture, you need small plants, small trees and small, gentle curves. If you, on the other hand, have a large house then the opposite is the requirement.

Scale is very, very important. Most informal gardens are set on a smaller scale than large, formal gardens. However, as with everything, personal taste is a big factor. When buying focal points, it is important to remember the following with regard to bird baths, pots or statues for an informal garden design:

“Buy the larger one at the retail display. Don't be fooled, your garden is larger than you think.” When our clients have followed this rule, they have not been disappointed or become frustrated. Scale is important. More importantly, focal points need to stick out and add beauty and interest to a garden.

Finally: Texture. Designers do use illusion quite often in smaller gardens to make the garden appear larger (or smaller). For example, small leaf plants planted in front of the flower bed and a larger variety at the back of the bed make the garden appear smaller. Planting the larger plants in front and the smaller ones at the back have the opposite effect. The garden appears larger.

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