A landscape can give your garden its character. It makes your garden more appealing and enjoyable. A plethora of styles are available when it comes to designing a landscape. Some are simple and relaxed, while others are more sophisticated and formal. Using landscape beds helps you design a garden that is both pleasing and practical to your needs and way of life as well as complements your style.
An informal landscape bed gives the garden a laid-back atmosphere. An informal landscape bed does not require a whole lot of trimming or cutting to maintain equal or even height or symmetry. It does not require any strict rhyme or reason in choices and placements of plants. For practicality, place the taller plants at the back, and add plants gradually in descending heights towards the front of the bed. Doing so allows all the plants proper air circulation, enough sun exposure and visibility.
Mix textures with colors. Plant herbs with vegetables, and place them in a raised bed. Use ornamental grasses (blue fescue, feather grass, mondo) and wild flowers (poppies, lavenders, lupines) to give the landscape bed its meadow look and rustic appeal that works well with any informal style homes such as a country cottage, beach side or mission style house.
An informal style works well for you if you prefer not to put too much time into tending your garden. Watering, occasional weeding and infrequent deadheading are all you need for the most part to maintain an informal landscape bed.
Unlike an informal landscape bed, a formal landscape bed requires more emphasis put into symmetry, geometry or shape of the garden. It follows a definite rhyme or reason in choosing or placements of plants. Imagine an estate or palatial grounds where you see evenly trimmed shrubs and trees. Careful planning is necessary in choosing plants. The style must follow the basic philosophy that the garden has control over nature. Plants only grow exactly where planted and in a shape that the gardener chooses.
An example of a formal landscape bed involves choosing hedges of clipped and trained plants. Suitable plants for these hedges are slow-growing evergreens such as boxwood, English holly and yew. Limit the number of plants, but use them in large quantities to give a uniform appearance of texture and color. Creating topiary from rose bushes and trimming them regularly is an example of design that you can add to a formal landscape.
A formal landscape bed works for a traditional home with classical lines such as Roman, Gregorian, Edwardian and Tudor homes.
A contemporary style puts emphasis in the philosophy that less is more. It has clean lines and uses low-maintenance plants. A contemporary landscape bed may only have very few plantings, sometimes none. It uses more structural elements in the form of art pieces rather than plants. A contemporary design also uses colorful and non-traditional landscaping items such as tumbled, crushed glasses for mulching the bed. Succulent and tropical plants are common choices of plants. Choose palm trees, cacti and exotic plants (orchids, bromeliads, etc.). Create a xeriscape garden by implementing a contemporary design using colorful rocks or pebbles, requiring little maintenance.
A low-maintenance contemporary landscape bed works for mid-century and modern-style homes.