Unity results when all of the basic garden design principles come together in a balanced, harmonious whole. Focusing on harmony will help as you choose from an exciting and sometimes bewildering array of plants and other landscaping materials.
Make simplicity a guidepost as well, and you likely will achieve a unified design that gives you a sense of completeness. Good structure in the overall design, combined with hardscape that meets your needs for service and enjoyment, creates the perfect setting into which you can place favorite plants -- trees, shrubs, groundcovers, flowers, and seasonal containers.
Contrast emphasizes the difference between a plant or an object and its surroundings. Using contrast is the best way to avoid predictability in a garden. It also adds a pleasing sense of tension between elements. Like most garden design principles, in moderation contrast is good, but too much can be confusing and unrelaxing to the eye.
You can create contrast by manipulating various elements such as form, texture, and color. Achieve a distinctive look by planting the contrasting forms of horizontal 'Bar Harbor' juniper in front of red-twigged dogwood, for instance.
You can contrast textures by varying hardscaping materials, such as bricks and gravel, or plant textures, such as a leathery leaved magnolia next to a finely needled cedar or juniper shrub.
Finally, the colors of flower blossoms can create wonderful contrasts. To be most effective, the hues should be widely separated on the color wheel. For example, red and green, purple and orange, and yellow and blue represent the highest contrast in color. You can also contrast variegated leaves with solid colors, or green and purple leaves.
Color seduces the eye, evokes mood, and reflects the seasons. As a powerful and unifying tool, color has predictable effects. Cool blues, purples, and greens soothe and recede, whereas warm reds, oranges, and yellows enliven and advance.
Single-color schemes enchant with their simplicity. The real fun comes in expressing your personality by combining colors. Some colors compete for attention; others harmonize.
Although flowers are the jewels of the garden, too many different colors look chaotic. Remember that a balance of subtly different colors creates a pleasing effect.
How to Create a Colorful Garden
-One of the easiest ways to design a great garden is to know what blooms of what. One classic combination is roses and peonies. The beauties at the roses grow up to the peonies and compliment them in color, form, size. Here a pink rose and pale pink peony are magical combination. Plus both are wonderfully fragrant. Yellow Lysimachia and cranesbill geranium are standout combination. It's easy to care for combination that thrives in the summer garden corner. This is a combination of old fashioned roses, a white rugosa Rosa Alba and pink Grootendorst Rose. What's lovely is that the roses undercarriage is camouflage with blue [unk]. All three of these are very fashioned, yet very hardy plants. They make a great trio. This is a lovely romantic combination of pink English roses and purple May night salvia. Once the salvia is done blooming, shear off the flowers and they will bloom again later in the summer. Here we have two different types of blue clematis in front of a pink rugosa rose. The clematis seems to [unk] on the fence while the rose provides a backup of color. This hardy rugosa roses growing with the white clematis. It makes a beautiful romantic pairing. You just can't go wrong with roses and clematis. Sometimes foliage plants make great companions too. Here's the red leaves a barberry looked good all summer long and are lovely planted next to the shimmering light peony. It proves you don't leave flowers for great color. If you have peonies consider adding alliums to this play. Their purple flower heads are very dramatic in the garden. Just remember, alliums have to be planted in the fall. It doesn't take a big number of plants to have big impact in your garden. By choosing varieties that bloom at the same time, you will create a wonderful floral show in garden in the summer.
Continued on page 5: Rhythm and Variety