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Do you need direction?

Do you need direction? Some simple tips for your garden

If there's one thing we all need, it's DIRECTION. Just imagine what chaos it would be on the road without it. People like to know where they are going - whether it's on a motorway; in life; in a job; in a public park or indeed, in a garden. Why?  Because making sense of the things around us means that we can work out what to do. Where to go and how to proceed. It enables us to get the most out of what we are doing.

Which way shall I go? Do you know where you are going? Let's not think in philosophical terms here, but concentrate on something far more achievable. Gardens. Have you noticed how pleasurable it is to be in a garden that guides you on a journey? Or within a public park that gently leads you from one pleasure to the next without leaving you to work out how to get there?

Which direction would you take across this meadow? Long grass in the countryside

Where should I go here? It's all quite easy once you realise that you have the power to direct dozens; hundreds; even thousands of people, without having to say a single word. How can you do this? Take the above picture of a simple meadow. The pathway through long grass looks like a pleasurable route. Indeed, the temptation to resist travelling down that path would be difficult to resist. The second picture, however, is quite different. Where would you go? There's no 'destination' mapped out for you. Perhaps you would turn around to find another path. Pathways are an excellent method of providing direction. They can be purely functional or rather more decorative; creative or plain; essential or frivolous. Not only do they provide a 'flow' for pedestrian traffic but they protect areas around them by keeping people on a definite 'route'. A form of crowd control without the police.

Who could resist following this path to the bench in the woods?

Fully functional - this footpath keeps everything neat and tidy and directs you to where you need to go. There are other ways to direct, without using paths. This is the STRUCTURAL element of a garden. Structure can be provided by plants and features that are permanent. Trees, including conifers; shrubs; hedges; ponds; garden archways; pergolas; statues; even flowerbeds and the shape of your lawn. They guide the eye to visually lead you around the garden and also provide physical clues as to what this garden is all about.

It's easy to see which direction you need to walk in with the aid of a structural hedge This is the great attraction of statues; benches and specimen plants that are positioned to provide a 'destination' . Seeing something interesting in the distance immediately gives people DIRECTION.

Hedges and statues provide great structure in a garden

The shape of the border together with hedges and the appealing sight of a statue in the distance provide good direction and draw people towards a destination

These deer sculptures close to the borders might provide a touch of intrigue and some permanent structure in the garden Try it in your own garden! Add a statue to create a 'destination' and see how it alters the perception of an outdoor space.

A sculpture gives a garden meaning and allows people to make sense of a space. It gives direction - and provides a 'destination' Even tiny spaces should have a sense of purpose. But don't make the mistake of filling small gardens with tiny features. Think big - it's far more effective. In fact a large pot or sculpture makes a small garden look much larger.

The central large pot gives a great sense of scale to this well-designed small garden. Have FUN with your garden. It doesn't need to be a blank lawn surrounded by a fence! Use planting and structure and the place will burst into life.

How much better could this garden be with some plants and some structure?

There's still a lawn but lots more interest in this garden which has plenty of structure from walls to furniture and planting. Perfect Plants  would love to see what's going on in your garden! Tell us about it. Post your pictures on our Facebook page: or email us: Happy gardening!    

By Perfect Plants


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