Planning A Themed Garden

Let's be honest: there are an overwhelming number of plants, garden ornaments, mulches, and who even knows what else out there for gardeners to choose from.  And I don’t know about you, but too much choice is just. . .too much for me! 

One way I narrow down my options (and come up with a more cohesive design) is to use themes.  Maybe I want an edible design, which means my plant choices are automatically narrowed down to edible plants.  Or, if I go with a English garden design, I focus on arranging certain flowers in certain ways around certain hardscape elements.  Or maybe I just love Thai food, so I decide to create a vegetable garden that includes lemongrass, Thai basil, peppers, and other plants I can use in my cooking.

First things first, how do you decide on the theme? Just write down some of your favorite things!  For example:

  • hobbies
  • colors
  • the kind of cooking you enjoy
  • a book you love
  • a cause (for example, helping bees or monarch butterflies, or donating to a food bank)

Basically, a theme can come from anywhere, but it should be something that resonates with you!

Once you pick a theme, brainstorm ways to work it into your garden or landscape.  This can be very literal (for instance, “I like Italian food, so I’ll plant lots of tomatoes, basil, parsley, etc.”), or it can more figurative.  I can still remember an assignment from a construction design class where the teacher asked a student to create a landscape based on knitting and sewing.  The student came up with a brilliant design that integrated knitting patterns into stonework, plant layout, and many other elements!

If inspiration just isn’t hitting that hard, the Internet is your friend! After all, if you thought of it, chances are good someone else has too! That means you don’t have to start at ground zero—you can just adapt and improve on what others before you have created. 

A theme really helps create a framework for your design, and it helps you make decision farther into your garden or landscape project that all add up to a cohesive look! 

Linda KelsoComment