Garden Design for Wildlife

We all know someone that has foxes, badgers, rabbits or even deer getting into their gardens. Or garden owners that make an effort to get birds nesting, newts and frogs swimming or even just a few nesting solitary bees. Covering some 4% of the 93,000 square miles of this island we’re lucky that our gardens are truly the biggest wildlife park we have in the UK. What’s more it’s not just our individual gardens that are important but the sum of gardens that is vital to biodiversity and garden designers have an important role to play in getting wildlife into gardens.

Individual gardens are usually quite small and it is the sum and, especially, the variety, of plants and features within an area’s gardens that is valuable. Other features such as canal, railway embankments, street trees, parks and other communal green space also contribute to the variety of habitats and resources but it’s our gardens that are important. The message is that whilst you might not have a pond for wildlife, your neighbour might and if you can include trees for birds and flowers for food in your garden design it will work with the gardens nearby that provide shelter for other wildlife.

One of the big stories in recent years has been the demise in honey bees due to many different factors, not least the use of pesticides in the countryside. Interestingly honeybees were thriving in our cities and it’s the solitary bees that are really on the decline. The huge increase in hives has though not come with a huge increase in food sources so even though you don’t have a hive think about planting design with lots of bee friendly plants. Rothamsted Research studied an important group of pollinators, the bumblebees, in gardens and farmland and found that gardens support around 5 times as many nests as farmland, with about 36 nests per hectare, regardless of garden size. This was put down to two important features of gardens: presence of potential nesting sites and food resources. Gardens offer a variety of nesting site opportunities, such as compost heaps and bins, bird boxes and flower-beds and a long and continuous season of flowering plants. The abundance of flowers in gardens provides much more nectar and pollen, from early spring to late autumn, than is usually found in the countryside. The conclusion was that gardens are one of the most important refuge for pollinators in Britain!

We can all do our bit and for those low maintenance gardeners out there you’ll be pleased to hear that it doesn’t matter too much about the state of your garden as a few piles of leaves, debris and even a few bricks can be great nesting sites for our bees and insects. But if you want to be more proactive and help these creatures then start building some bee hotels into your garden design using all the materials you might find around your garden but normally throw away. A few upturned flower pots stuffed with dead leaves is as simple as it can get or you can create some wildlife towers. You can also design some quite snazzy wildlife homes to fit into the style of the house that the garden belongs too. How about a modernist bee hotel for that modernist house, or a Victorian terrace bird box for the terraced garden? Whatever you do think about wildlife when you start a garden design and everyone will win.

Inspiring and Intricate Herb Garden Designs

The history of garden design dates back to 1500 BC. The earliest evidence of horticulture and landscaping is in the form of Egyptian tomb paintings depicting lotus ponds surrounded by symmetrical rows of acacias and palms. The famous Hanging gardens of Babylon were known as one of the wonders of the world. Temple gardens contained vegetables and herbs that were considered sacred. In the middle age, sophisticated herb garden designs and horticulture techniques were developed by monasteries. Monks grew medicinal herbs and treated the sick fellow monks and the community who were suffering from ailments with these healing herbs. The wealthy Romans built villas with water cascades, topiary, rose and shaded arcades. Much of the present modern herb garden design is influenced and inspired by the intricate, traditional Persian, Zen and Italian Renaissance gardens.

Your herb garden design should reflect the inspiration and theme. Herb garden may be one of the various design styles and techniques brought out below:

Knot Herb Garden Design

Knot gardens are symmetrically-designed gardens using geometric patterns with fantastic view obtained from trimming the plants in a knotted shape. It requires constant grooming and keeping the defined shapes by the precise pruning of edges. Herbs that work well in knot gardens are those that can be trimmed and designed into hedge. Varieties of dwarf herbs, such as Thyme, Chamomile and Lavender are good choices. Some possible patterns for a modern knot garden can be Diamonds, Oblongs, Diagonal crossings, Triangles and Wheels. These patterns can have divisions for different herbs that can be segregated according to hues, contrasts and fragrances.

English Cottage Herb Garden Design

There are two types of English herb gardens. The informal types are called Cottage gardens and are used for culinary and medicinal properties. The second are the formal gardens built for aesthetics and visual appeal. These gardens were structured and used knots and overlapped with row plants. Lavender and Thyme are ideal and widely used in English herb gardens. English cottage gardens are popular in American circles and widely emulated for their wild abundance of perennial flowers and herbs, vine-covered arbors, and plants tumbling over walkways.

Tuscan Herb garden Design

Tuscan herb gardens incorporate traditional elements in style and the design contains elements, that are characterized by both plants and the accessories. One of the important features in Tuscan garden design is the use of vases, urns, and terra cotta pots to grow your herbs in. Though you are expected to use a hoard of garden containers to create your Tuscan garden design, you don’t really have to spend a fortune for buying vases and pots. The herb garden looks perfect in its rustic look even when it is cultivated in chipped and cracked pots. Use of Italian herbs is best for the Tuscan design with optional inclusion of poppies and flowers. Use of a trellis and grape vine or grape ivy to create a look of Italy’s tradition of fine wines will give a stunning look to your Tuscan herb garden.

Topiary Herb Garden Design

Topiary is a formal garden design that uses the art of pruning and training plants and shrubs into decorative shapes. It goes as far back as the Romans, but many of the artistic forms or prunings were developed in Europe. Massive topiary shapes of animals, birds and sculptures can be created out of tight evergreen bushes or hedges. You are not expected to craft elaborate sculptures out of the herbs, use simple topiary design that will enhance your herb garden giving it an artistic view.

Landscaping the herb garden doesn’t require high degree of professional skills. Using stones and rocks in home gardens provide a seat of tranquility for reflection and relaxation. Caring and tending for a garden can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, divert stressful memories and help in conjuring good thoughts that have a lingering beneficial effect on the subconscious mind. Reserve a part of the garden to enjoy a few minutes of solitude, meditation and prayer. The mind can rest and the eyes can feast on diverse muddle of colorful herbs, blooms and flowering plants, distributed in a seemingly haphazard but pleasing style, apparently evoking thoughts of a “natural landscape.” The symphony and aura of herbs with flowers in the overall composition, and the wildness of the arrangement gives rise to a closer communing with nature.

The Benefits of Professional Garden Design

Garden design is the art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Most professional garden designers are experts in the principles of horticulture and landscaping. A professional designer will have the passion to create your ideal garden, whether that is a low maintenance space, or a unique contemporary or traditional styled garden. Many will use an ‘in-house’ team to ensure that projects are constructed and managed efficiently and tidily and that work is carried out to the highest possible standard. A design team can offer expert advice on any aspect of your garden or a large country estate.

Typical services provided by a design and construction service:

• Residential and Commercial Garden Design

• Project Management

• Full, in house Construction Service

• Planting Design and Installation

• Lighting

• Irrigation

• Design and Installation of Bespoke Water Features

• Natural Swimming Pools / Hot tub installation

The process usually consists of the following steps:

Initial Site Visit and Consultation

This involves a meeting with designers to discuss your ideas and requirements. Design prices will reflect the plot size, complexity and the scope and features included in the brief. As every garden is unique, the cost for your project will likely be discussed at an initial consultation.

Layout Design

Your designers will prepare a tailored, scaled design detailing the hard and soft landscaping features that are to be included in your design.

Quotation

Once a layout design has been finalised to your complete satisfaction, you will be provided with an itemised quotation and detailed specification.

Construction

Upon acceptance of the quotation, work will be scheduled and the project will be undertaken by the team of gardeners and landscapers.

Planting

If you require a formal planting plan, this will usually be prepared and costed for you. Plant stock will be ordered and the garden designer will ensure that plants are planted with care and precision. Most designers have experience of designing and implementing large and small schemes and can source and plant specimen, semi mature trees and shrubs.

So in summary, if you’re thinking about overhauling your garden and want to make sure you end up with top class results, consider the benefits of employing a professional garden designer to take the hassle out of the design and construction. When selecting a garden designer it’s always worth seeking recommendations from people you know, and ask to see some examples of previous work.