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Defining Your Garden Style: Plant Partners

 

As a designer I am not immune to creative dry spells – but the key to maintaining a steady stream of ideas is to know how to re-inspire yourself.   I gather inspiration from nearly everything in my life; I never know when something is going to strike me in a way that causes new ideas start flowing.  But when I am in a pinch and feeling the need to force the issue…I have to actively go looking and often I find the answers in the art of others.

When I was in design school we had to study plants in depth – and a huge part of that study was learning a way to use them that was not only effective and practical in the garden, but also in a way that was artistically distinctive to each of us as designers.   The idea was that if we could strike on signature groupings, we could begin to define our distinctive styles as well as make the design process easier (by providing ourselves endlessly repeatable templates).

Do you have a signature planting look in your garden?  

If you don’t, it would be an interesting exercise to go through at the very least so that you can re-inspire yourself.  Here is what I do when I am trying to come up with something new and interesting:

  • Find an inspiration source.  I like art; maybe you might pick something that is already hanging on the walls of your home.
  • Study the piece for composition, pattern, and notable personality elements and also pull out the colors that appeal to you.
  • Using these reference points to start, look for plants that reflect the work.  Let the list of possibilities ramble – maybe use a Pinterest board to collect the ideas.
  • Narrow it down.  Once you have a pool of ideas, start refining a plan based on bloom time (if you want your plants to play together – they probably need to bloom together), habitat (they need to be able to survive side by side) and individual characteristics as they meet your needs.
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