Linear vs landscape

lucillleNovember 21, 2012

I'm so linear. Put in a hedge, slightly curved but none of this artful beautiful meandering that some use and which looks gorgeous.

I'm going to start paying more attention to the photos on this forum, and I hope y'all don't mind, but use some of the ideas I see because while loving beautiful landscapes, planning them does not come natural to me.

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Of course you should do what pleases you, but I do wonder everytime somebody posts something like this if the meandering pleases you because you like it, or because people are telling you to like it.

The straight line in action.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:30PM
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You also have to keep maintenance firmly in mind. Many very "artfully designed" themes are simply gorgeous, but a total nightmare to maintain. A lot of it also has to do with the lay of your land. Some spaces are shaped and/or sized so they just don't permit a lot of curves and 'vistas'. So, yes do what pleases you; what fits; and just as importantly, what you can maintain. A garden is no refuge when it requires too much, too hard or too frequent WORK! Kim

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Design your hedge like you like it, and remember, this is a place for sharing ideas! You can borrow!
I too like simple geometric designs in garden layout, but my site, a steep ex-field, doesn't permit me to use them, and my paths and walks curve around irregularly shaped beds. Your garden site will tell you a good deal about what you can best do with it.
Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:59PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

A lot of curves emerge when you can't say no to yet another rose. All the nicely drawn lines start to bulge. Meandering paths are much more accommodating to undisciplined passions.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Catsrose - entirely true for a linear person like me! I am finding myself "curving OUT" areas to make more rose spaces. In fact, just last night I was toying with some bordering materials on one of my new garden areas - my front "lawn" (loosely using lawn to refer to bermuda grass that just grows when it rains. I started out with the idea that I'd put 9 roses around the propane tank. I now have around 30 roses, and pathways instead of lawn. I like bordering things - not sure why, as I'm not sure it helps versus distracts aesthetically. I have a combo of 8' poles, concrete ends - some with single, some with 2 holes, and then about 6 pieces of those 8 foot little cheapy sections of stick in the ground white fence, where every foot they are turnable. Thus - the 8 foot sections are quite straight. Then I put the 8 ft moveable fence sections to "arch" out areas. Then the little concrete pieces and 3' pieces of wood between them. As I write this it sounds a bit of a mess, but it kind of works.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I love a nice formal garden set out with the mirrored matching sides, perfectly matches hedges and all. I have visited quite a few both private and public.

But I know my garden will never be that perfect, is always out of balance due to something I have seen and just have to have and I don't think our little old cottage is worthy of that formality. Besides, I like to guide people to where I want them to walk, but want them to enjoy finding the garden treasures on their way. I also enjoy a challenge, so straight lines and linear beds are not my first choice. I do use them in certain areas because they fill a need. Like in the veggie garden, although the fencing does take a corner off here and a bump out there. Those beds are more linear. Adding the curves makes your mind wonder what is just beyond the corner and each of those curves can have a focal point plant.

You can always do the old hose trick and set out some curves and see what you think. Use the hose to lay out the edges of the new beds. You can also make sure that a mower can easily be walked next to the new curves. And it helps to leave some access to the backs of the beds so they are easier to maintain. And like Kim said, if your yard is flat, it is probably easier to put in curves where you want focal points, but if there is a slope you have to listen to where the land wants a curve or bed. Also, look from inside the house and make sure that the curves give you the view you want as well. If you have something you want cover up, like a view of a power pole, you can make your bed deeper and add short flowering tree toward the front (making sure your mature tree is much shorter than your wires and planted well away so there will never be a pruning problem if the pole is in your yard or fence line)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 11:23AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I have both, linear and curving, and I think I like it that way. It wasn't my choice since all the hardscape was already here, but the design marries very well with the terrain, which is hilly and rocky, but with some flat areas around the house. A strictly linear garden carries few surprises and too much informality can verge on the messy, and so a happy marriage of the two seems to suit me very well.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:32PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It's not whether or not they are linear or meandering. It is if they are wide enough. Michelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel masterpieces on his thumbnail.

If the beds are wide enough, you have room for tall plants in the back, creating a beautiful backdrop, medium plants in the middle, and small plants in front. Look at photos of the grand borders in the UK, they are often straight, but they are 12' wide or even wider.

A standard (good) landscape-architects rule of thumb is that bed width should be at minimum 1/3 the maximum height of your house. If your house at the tallest point is 15', then beds should be a minimum of 5' to be in proportion.

If you have lawns, straight lines are much easier to mow.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 12:04PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I have a back problem, so sharp turns on the ride-mower are difficult. My beds usually curve, so I don't have to turn the steering wheel so hard :D I use short groundcovers in any little spots left between mowing and the garden bed.

I like seeing large expanses, so I don't really do any hidden gardens, but I do like my gardens to look casual. That's about upkeep, too, for sure. I can't do all the weed-whacking, etc. So I use mondo grass or whatever to keep down on that while still having those curves I like.

I really like formal gardens, too. I have small areas of formality within the rest. Not too much, because it's too much work! I like the mixture, too. The eye really focuses on the formal parts, so having them be small works well. I put them where someone might put a big specimen tree -- where folks expect to see a focal point. The rest is much more casual and mixed up, which I like too.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 3:31PM
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