Children are taught to create wonderful scenes by colouring in sections of an image according to its corresponding number. After 10 minutes or so the image appears – perhaps an animal, a house or a garden.
The numbers not only represent the colour of the item, but also the frequency that number is used in the image. The more a number appears the more that colour is used.
With Landscaping, we can learn from this simple technique. The ‘less is more’ principle.
When creating a modern garden aim to use a limited number of different plants. This means you may need many plants of one type, and then a few of some other plant types.
For example, you have a 10m hedge that needs to be planted.
Use different plants in the hedge to give you a mix of colour and texture
Use the same plant for the whole hedge
Option A may give you an interesting hedge but each plant may grow at a different rate, grow to different dimensions, have different soil and pest control needs.
Option B will give you uniform growth, care and appearance in most cases. It is this option that is best for long hedges when landscaping.
It is also easier going into a nursery asking for 33 of the same plant rather than a random assortment of other plants that “look good together”.
In the overall garden it is best to select a few reliable plants as the ‘foundation’ for your garden. Use a lot of them.
Added interest, contrast and harmony can then be created by strategic selection of a few additional plants in prime locations. These plants should not dominate the garden in terms of numbers as they are the ‘furnishings’ to your outdoor space.
Odds and Evens
There is a general rule in landscaping - never plant in sets of two.
Unless you are specifically creating a balanced garden always buy plants in sets of 3’s, 5’s or 7’s. A cluster of 5 plants will always look more natural than a set of 4 or 6.
In design odd numbers reduce the visual impact of over-manipulated and contrived landscapes.
Even numbers are however great for the following situations:-
focal plants at either side of entrance to the home
a strongly architectural designed home and garden that needs exact placement of plants
framing a garden structure to enhance its features