Gardening and landscaping go hand in hand, but it may not always seem that way. The distinctions between a utilitarian vegetable garden and one created only for design purposes may seem drastically opposite. Structured, manicured lawns may appeal to some more than the unpredictable vegetable gardening experience. The two different appreciations of nature don’t have to be at odds, though. Both gardeners and landscapers alike share the appreciation of nature and love of plants. These practices should be combined rather than separated into two different schools of thought.
When you think of landscaping, the images are probably grand and expansive, like the gardens of Versailles. Landscaping initially began as the rich’s practice to display their land and create a picturesque vision of their wealth. In contrast, gardening was often a necessity for folks to grow their own food. The presentation of vegetable gardens is not always a priority for gardeners.
Even though modern landscaping is grand in some cases, the elements of design and beauty can be applied on any scale. Vegetable gardens possess the same beauty and color as neatly trimmed box hedges and bright blossoms. All it takes is a bit of planning and forethought to turn your garden into a beautifully landscaped environment.
The elements of design with the knowledge of gardeners are a powerful combination. If you are unsure where to start landscaping your garden, we’ve compiled a few tips. Trust your gardening knowledge; it will guide your choices in organizing plants into a designed garden.
What’s the difference?
So first, what is the difference between gardening and landscaping? Maybe you have come across this article, thinking that they were essentially the same thing. Some may use the terms gardening and landscaping interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between practices.
Gardening usually involves simply planting plants in a space for the purpose of growing useful crops or herbs. Gardeners are often associated with the grunt work of getting dirty, pulling weeds, and watering the plants.
Landscaping, on the other hand, incorporates the design and planning of a garden. Sometimes landscapers only have a part in the design process and are not involved in the execution of their plans.
A Quick Lesson in Landscaping
Landscaping is a type of art, creating a balance between the wild of nature and the pruning of a gardener’s hand. Students of the landscape art studied the ways to craft a beautiful yard. Use the uncontrolled nature of plants to your advantage, embracing their path rather than trying to control it. It’s okay to do some pruning, but often the most beautiful landscaping allows the landscape to decide its natural form.
A simple addition to help guide plants like an elegant trellis supporting a wild vine creates an equilibrium between the two elements. Landscapers studied these opposites of nature and human-made design to come up with four key elements to find this balance.
Follow these key elements of gardening and landscaping to guide your garden decor choices…
Lines can be any shape or direction, whether they are straight or curved, vertical, or horizontal. They are an essential element to incorporate in your garden to create order and balance among the chaos of a vibrant garden.
In vegetable gardens, these lines already exist in the rows which you sow your seeds. Once you start looking at how your garden is laid out, it becomes easier to visualize lines. Organize them in a way that makes sense to you, whether that means spacing them out or grouping some close together.
Form is the space and shape a plant takes up. Consider the shape of the plants you include in your garden, whether they have an upright, round, spread out, flowing, or rigid form.
As an overall rule of thumb, when designing your garden layout, try to create a contrast between the different shapes. But there are other ways of using the form to your advantage. Think about your garden’s desired appearance, which may be manicured, homey, formal, or inspired by wildlife. Tall and rigid plants create a more formal feeling to the garden, whereas flowy plants have a more lighthearted element.
Color may seem like a self-explanatory element, but there is a tad more to it than merely the hue of blossoms. This element is often used in themes to create a mood or seasonal vibe. Warm tones like red, yellow, and orange may be associated with fall and summer. Cool tones like blues, greens, and purples are associated with spring and winter.
But you don’t have to follow the ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ tones. There are many fun color combinations you can incorporate. The bright variety of pansy blossoms, the many hues of peppers, and the changing tones of a ripening fruit bring constant change and diversity to your color palette.
Look at a color wheel for some guidance, choosing colors across from each other. The color wheel helps you examine which combinations complement each other. As a basic rule, choose three colors (one main color and two accent colors), and you’re good to go.
Texture is a broad category that is applied to the surface of your plants. Coarse, medium, and fine textures may be found anywhere on your plants. Pay attention to the size and shape of bark, leaves, and flower petals. Contrast is always fun to play within this category. For example, if you noticed that most of your vegetables have smooth textures like tomatoes and peppers, try including a rough leafy veggie like lettuce or broccoli. Texture draws the eye around the garden, looking at all the rich diversity growing within it.
It’s important to remember that landscaping doesn’t always involve plants. The overall design of your garden can also include structural elements like fountains, patios or places for you to sit and enjoy your garden. Pergolas offer shade, comfort and class to your garden landscaping. Although they may seem pricey or difficult to include in your garden, we found an easy way to your own pergola. DIY Pergolas teaches you how to craft your very own pergola. Their easy-to-follow plans guide you step by step to build this shelter in your garden.
Bring Them Together
Gardening and landscaping don’t need to be at odds with each other. They are not merely for the use of necessity or decoration but can be even better when combined.
When planning your vegetable garden, consider the elements of line, form, color, and texture. These elements are found in your vegetables as well as ornamental plants. You may choose to design a vegetable garden exclusively, but use the landscaping guidelines. You may also incorporate ornamental plants like flowers, vines and shrubs into your veggie garden. The other way around is also possible. If your garden is largely for visual beauty and atmosphere, consider including vegetables into your garden for their color and design qualities.
Gardening and landscaping when combined have limitless opportunities. They create rich landscapes with diversity and add another level of enjoyment to plant lovers. Don’t dismiss the teachings from the other side of a practice, as gardening and landscaping are two sides of the same coin.
A Note from Gardeners
Just like gardeners, landscapers should follow the practice of rotating their plants seasonally and annually. Gardeners don’t plant the same vegetables in the same plots year after year. Rotating crop placements helps maintain the soil nutrients and erosion in that plot of land. This allows you to landscape with new and exciting plant species each season. Try a different color scheme than last year or try a different form. If your garden was cool tones with tall plants, perhaps experiment with warm tones and short rounded shrubs.
Another gardening tip that translates well to landscaping is the natural needs of different vegetables. When planning a vegetable garden for utility, you consider how much water and sun each plant requires. This creates a design layout for you to follow. If you are new to landscaping or want an easy process, follow this pre-made design. When choosing accent plants to go along with your vegetables, group their similar needs together. Place flowers or ferns that love shade and moisture with vegetables that have the same growing requirements. Plants that love full sun can grow right along or intermingled with the sun-loving veggies.
Frequently Asked Questions: Gardening And Landscaping Tips.
I love landscaping, but need help with the gardening part. Where do I start?
Vegetable gardens are the perfect addition to your yard. You can start small, with a couple plants, or you can create a garden bed for several rows of crops. In my opinion, it’s best to start with a small summer vegetable garden. The growing conditions are most favorable during the warm weather, you are sure to have a happy garden. Check out our article on summer vegetable gardens for some starter tips.
How do I landscape for my climate/environment?
Depending on where you live, your garden will look a bit different according to its climate. The amount of rainfall, sunlight and overall temperature contribute to which plants will thrive in your environment. These factors can be predicted and mapped by determining which growing zone you live in. Check out our article on garden hardiness zones to choose which plants will grow best in your climate.
How do I build a pergola?
Pergolas provide shade in your garden. They create a space for you to occupy, creating a homey feeling in your garden. Spend more time appreciating your hard work in the garden by building your own pergola. Build your own pergola with easy to follow blueprints and instructions thanks to DIY Pergolas.