Garden bed shapes - enbracing the un-natural....
OK - I'm a bit cranky, stuck indoors with a fractured foot when the weather is perfect for being in the garden... The thread re a garden against the fence hits on one of the things that irritates me :-) Why does a 'natural' edge - i.e. wiggly-waggley curves - always seem to be touted as the best/only acceptable option for bed edge/shape? I find the vast majority of 'natural' bed edges to be more annoying than attractive. The curvy edges are 'busy' and draw your eye to the front edge of the space which
* makes the bed appear shallower,
* over-emphasizes the front plantings at the expense of the rest of the plantings,
* makes the space appear smaller because your focus is kept short
* increases maintenance because it make a longer line to edge an trickier manoevering to mow the adjacent lawn.
Below are a few crude drawings where I'm trying to illustrate why I prefer an 'unnatural' smooth curve to the wavy edges:
Top left: at a bed shape that mirrors the 90 degree corner is not ideal, in large part because it is awkward to mow around that corner.
Top right: But if you round out that corner with a big, smooth curve, you get a number of advantages:
- It's easier maintain/mow adjacent grass because here are no complicated mowing lines,
- there is a shorter distance to edge and, if you want a brick or stone mowing edge, it is easier/cheaper to install,
- your eyes sweep smoothly down the line into the distance, making the space look longer - and wider since the focus is no longer drawn to the front edge.
Bottom left: my attempt to show the curvy bed option - OK, I'm sure you can make a nicer one...:-)
Bottom right: a smoth curve superimposed on the wavy edge. You gain planting space by the smooth line since the ins and out of the wavy edge is essentially wasted space - it's not available to plant and is not particularly useful as lawn space.
In a very large (e.g. acres of space) garden, the differences between the two are less obvious but in ordinary, smaller gardens these days, I think one should think carefully whether the wavy 'natural' edge is actually the best option.
I know I'm wildy out of step with the preferred 'look' but I think there are atvantages to keeping the lines simple that are too often ignored or dismissed. So think about it before you follow the crowd...