Some gardens have a simple certain something: Some radiate harmony and peace, others are mysterious and full of surprises. The rules of the organization behind the designs are simple…

Do like the professionals do and you can transform your garden into a special oasis.

The three basic principles of garden planning

Small gardens need to seem as big as possible. Dividing the garden into different zones helps to achieve this end. If there are hidden areas to discover, tension develops. Intriguing effects can be maximized with different view axes by focusing on certain “high points” in the garden. A clear symmetrical structure brings harmony. Regular, clear structure brings reassuring calm and relaxation.

These tips can be simply achieved if the garden is fundamentally transformed. Even in established gardens these ideals can be realized: With a Pergola, for example, you can separate a part of the lawn and behind it create a new setting. Interesting axes view points can be achieved with attractive focal points.

Divide the garden into “rooms”


Transitions in the garden are ideal and allow you to offer different garden styles.

For example, every home possesses several rooms; you can do the same outside by creating different “rooms” in the garden. Straight gardens with small dimensions can provide you a way to try different organizational styles next to each other and at the same time create the illusion of size. Use space dividers such as espaliers, climbers, wood fence partitions, lattices or narrow hedges. These separating elements can be broken through, for example by “windows” or gaps in the media used. This creates a sort of playfulness and loosens up the arrangement.

A guided transition adds visual interest.

Transitions: Emphasize the transition of one garden area to the next. Well suited to this are archways, pergolas or “guardian” statues in pairs. These transitions make the visitor curious as to what comes next. Small gardens can seem larger. Narrow properties look better if they have an intriguing view.

Create tension: Run paths in curves around high plants so a part of the garden always remains hidden from view. That creates curiosity.

Room dividers: Room dividers such as hedges or espalier offer the possibility of giving different place settings so that one can enjoy the different moods of the garden with the changing positions of the sun. For example a cozy bench under a tree offers a beautiful place to reflect upon different garden views and the garden’s different moods during the day.

Direct the view with view axes


On large properties this can be a pavilion or a sculpture. In small gardens a beautiful vase or a birdbath serves the same purpose. Also remarkably beautiful potted flowering plants, a small tree topiary or a standard rose (tree rose) are suitable. The optical lines should begin at frequently used places in the garden, approximately at a seating area, at the house entrance or in front of a window. For surprise provide a view axis which suddenly opens the course of the garden and a view that leads to an object which was not visible from a prior perspective.

Use already existing views and reevaluate these by adding an attractive eye catcher to the optical line. The view can be enhanced by a low hedge of small leaved perennial shrubs.  Additionally, view axles can run straight over a pond or the lawn.

Optical effects: Give the eye a clear goal. From a patio for example set the view to a small waterfall or pond, from a garden bench you can force the eye to focus on a beautiful amphora vase. If possible use the whole length of your garden for the view axis to strengthen the optical effect. The higher bushes and perennials are, the more closed up the garden is and the tighter the optical views become.

Symmetry creates harmony


Even in small gardens an orderly and clear design can present a clean structure which is inviting and harmonious.

Important elements are geometrical form and a symmetrical structure. In order to stress the clear outlines of the garden an edging is advantageous. This can consist of stones or low plants.

For simple, but impressive symmetry effects clipped-hedge bushes and trees are particularly suitable. Also plant boxes or large flower pots in pairs look good whether planted with sheared hedges or small trees or blooming bushes. A pair of flowering plants or summer flowers in planters can decorate your home’s entrance. The effect becomes still stronger if you use matched planters.

Mirror axis: In strictly formal baroque-style gardens this design is used. A mirrored axis divides the garden into two equal halves. In pair’s low trees or formed bushes face each other and create the garden’s center. The clear structure creates visual interest, thus the garden works calmly and harmoniously.

Happy Gardening!