Natural Landscaping

photo of Natural LandscapingThe term “natural landscaping” can take on different meanings. In this article I’ll be referring to “natural” in the sense of a relaxed style verses a formal style landscape. Natural landscapes can be incorporated on every property, but you should first take into consideration the architecture of your home and the naturally existing surroundings to ensure a natural style landscape will be conducive. Material choice plays a large part in creating a natural landscape. You’ll typically find indigenous materials being implemented in various applications throughout the design. 

A natural landscape should be one that’s simplistic in blending colors, shapes and patterns. When creating a less formal landscape, we tend to use more organic shape for patio’s, walkways and bed lines. Within the planting bed, mass plantings of perennials or shrubs will create a simple yet visually striking impact.

Here are a few specific garden types to help you envision a natural landscape.

  • Prairie style is one that first comes to mind and is conducive to mass plantings and a lot of repetition. You will usually find native ornamental grasses and wildflowers at the heart of the design.
  • Cottage gardens are also considered to be a natural style of landscape and in this design you will typically see less mass plantings of one particular plant and gthe use of more specimen type plants. Cottage gardens also include meandering paths usually made of natural stone or pavers and are used to connect outdoor rooms and gardens.
  • Woodland gardens are another great example of a natural style landscape and include shade loving plants in a mix of mass’s and specimens. Woodland gardens can also be based around native selections of plants, which will provide consistent seasonal interest. When creating a woodland garden imagine what you would see in a forest and borrow its design.

Home owners should determine whether or not their surroundings and style of architecture are compatible with a natural landscape. If your style is natural but your homes architecture is not, you can still designate an area for a natural garden. Don't be afraid to mix a little bit of natural with formal; when done well the overall look is unique and one of a kind. An example of mixing natural with formal is the use of an upright/columnar ornamental grass which is natural but yet the upright form is considered to be formal. With natural landscaping as well as any style of landscaping the goal is to create a connection between the home, naturally existing elements and the landscape design.

Material choices for a natural landscape are typically indigenous, but there are exceptions to the rule. For the most part natural style and native plants go hand in hand but it’s important to incorporate some specimen plants that may or may not be native. Repeating plant material and planting in masses creates a unity thought out the landscape and is visually striking. It’s important to use a mixture of sizes when first installing plants to achieve some instant impact. Also, keep in mind the change of seasons and incorporate plants that will offer something unique such as flowers, berries and fall color.

The hardscape material be used can also be native. In Minnesota, you will typically find fieldstone, Virginia slate, trap rock and limestone. Using wood that is native to the area such as Ironwood for decks or pergolas is a great way to make a connection to nature.

In order to create a timeless, beautiful landscape a plan is an essential part of the process. Let our design team at Pine to Prairie assist you in creating a landscape that suits your style - contact us today!

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