Garden Design Ideas:

 Informal design and balance 

The irregular, curved lines of beds and paths in informal gardens contrast sharply with the geometrical lines of formal gardens. Similarly, the look conveyed by overflowing sprays of flowers, shrubs, and ornamental grasses left to grow into their natural sizes and shapes is strikingly softer than that of a formal box hedge smartly clipped into a perfect trapezoid.

Among the styles of informal gardens are cottage, woodland, meadow, and wild. Despite their grand scale, gardens designed by William Robinson, Gertrude Jekyll, Monet, and Vita Sackville-West typify our concept of informal design and the cottage style. Such gardens may appear deceptively casual, even though they have a definite underlying structure. Once again, making a choice between symmetrical and asymmetrical balance comes into play.

The most easily understood example is a cottage dooryard garden. The beds on either side of the entry may be the same size and shape (symmetrically balanced), or they may be of unequal size and shape (asymmetrically balanced). The plants in both beds may be matched in terms of type and placement (symmetrical), or be completely different, but of approximately equal mass (asymmetrical). In both cases, the goal is to keep the beds from appearing lopsided.

The photo shows a stepped entry to the barn door in which the planting beds are approximately the same size and slightly different in shape. Each bed is planted with a different assortment of perennials of approximately equal mass – an asymmetrically balanced, informal design.

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