Formal gardens, classical gardens, vegetable gardens and cutting gardens are all tried-and-true methods of garden design. If you're ready for something a little more fun--and definitely not what's in your neighbor's backyard--consider designing a funky garden. You'll still have all the benefits of a garden, just in a different package.
Rustic and Rusty Tools
Garden accessories can be just about anything that catches your fancy. Rusted watering cans filled with cascading plants stationed around a water feature add a whimsical note. Use old saw mill blades as stepping stones. Place shovel and rakes as supports for vines. Bury the handle in the ground for 12 inches and display the utility end of the tool. Otherwise they'll just look like a bunch of wooden poles. Create a planter out of an old rusted metal bench. Place two pieces of scrap wood across the seat to support square planters. Fill the planters with moss, creeping thyme or another ground cover. Before you toss that old tool, see if you can't put it to use as a garden accessory.
Clean lines, geometric shapes and repetition are hallmarks of modern design. Create a garden that looks like modern art. Plant a hedge of boxwood in a square shape. Fill the inside of the square with horsetail ferns. Repeat the conical shape of cedar trees by placing them throughout the garden in groups of threes and fives. Echo the fountain shape of ornamental grasses by using small grasses like blue fescue (which grows to 12 inches high) with purple moor grass (growing to 30 inches high) and giant grasses like pampas (growing to 12 feet high).
Little and Big
Lots of plants come in various sizes, from very small to very big. Sunflowers are a good example. Teddy bear is only 24 inches high with fuzzy flowers 4 inches across. Mammoth is 12 feet high with flowers 12 inches across. Plant a garden with the same variety of flowers, but in a range of sizes from little to big. Place the short flowers on the south side of the garden and the tall flowers on the north size. That way the tall ones won't block the sunlight from the short ones. Zinnias, snap dragons and cosmos are other flowers to try. If you would like a perennial flower little and big garden, try roses.