The Beauty of Repetition in the Garden

Deciduous grasses

A riotous landscape packed with color and texture stimulates the eye, activates the senses and makes one feel alive.

That’s why I like to offer my clients many stylistic options when we start the design process for a new or soon-to-be-renovated landscape. After listening to their preferences, I then see which ideas can be blended into a garden that suits the setting. For a quiet back yard retreat I would make different recommendations than I would for a colorful front yard border for curb appeal.

One style element that I enjoy working with is repetition — using masses of single plant or just a few varieties of plants. I find that repetition creates a calming and peaceful effect. And who doesn’t need that after the stresses of a long day?

Repetition can take many forms. For a softer, more relaxed feel, I might suggest relying on shades of greens and a soft palette that includes pale blues, white and lavenders. This creates a visual foundation that slows the eye and gives a feeling of groundedness and security.

Here are some ideas for putting repetition to work in the garden:

• Mass plantings around a focal point such as a plant, tree or potted garden. This has the effect of creating a foundation for the main event.

• Use evergreens in repetition to create structure in the winter garden and provide a backdrop for winter blooming plants and bulbs.

• Create solid borders of a single blooming plant, perennial or annual, running along a garden bed or path. This pulls the eye forward to the path’s destination. (Think of a multitude of yellow roses on a wall, or sweeping bands of deciduous grasses. You get the idea.) The impact of a single vision of one color — white Mophead Hydrangeas, for instance — can be at once stunning and serene.

Planting bulbs? Think repetition.

Fall is here and it’s time for planting bulbs. Mass plantings of bulbs can be very effective whether they are contrasting colors or a single favorite hue. Since different types of bulbs bloom at different times, you can plant layers of bulbs that will bloom in sequence as spring goes on. Snowdrops bloom as early as January and Allium bulbs bloom in late May or early June here in the Pacific Northwest, taking your landscape right up to the point where summer perennials burst into bloom.

Happy planting!

Call us for a consultation to discuss design options for garden enhancements, landscape renovations and sustainable gardens.









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