Learning The Ways of Curvilinear Bed Design - March 2021
I've talked and talked and talked about our backyard landscape plan on the blog over the years and I've made a lot of progress towards realizing the vision laid out there. But, because I'm doing things myself, my best laid plans don't always work out. And, one of the ways where I've been having trouble is in laying out the beds in the back. You look at these ideal woodland gardens and any backyard garden of note, one of the things that you often see are beautiful, graceful, swooping curves that mark the edges of the beds.
In poking around the Web, I found this post from Sue at Not Another Gardening Blog that was part of her "Good Lines Mean Good Designs" series titled: Curves Wonderful Curves. Those posts are almost ten years old, but they're just as valid as today. And, for a beginner gardener like me? They are *just* what I needed for where I am on my gardening journey right NOW.
|Source via Not Another Gardening Blog|
She also articulates something that I'm dealing with: a lot of bends and dips in the beds. She writes that this is a common mistake:
Unfortunately the tendency is to use too many smaller arcs. As I’ve mentioned before, gardeners tend to subscribe to the adage that more is better – they equate simple with boring and mistakenly assume that adding a few more bows and bends will up the wow factor. It doesn’t. Instead it creates an awkward kind of visual movement as the eye wanders along a vague path.
What do some of our beds look like now? Funny you should ask. Are you familiar with that TikTok meme using the song September by Earth Wind and Fire that is named "september on crack featuring a recorder"? Like this one:
Now that you're familiar with the meme, I would show the photos from Sue's blog post first, then when the recorder comes on, I'd show everyone these photos below - showing my bed edges.
You're probably thinking the same thing that I am.
Pretty bad, right? But, how do we make it better? It starts with idenfying the circles and ovals that make up our design. Here's a look at where I've landed. Red circles = outside. Blue circles = inside. Green line = bed edges.
But, it seems like this COULD be the time to do this very exercise. And just kind of rip the bandaid off as part of a bigger project this season. We have planted everything FAR too close to the fence line and everything is cramped. Even the things I planted last year - the Oakleaf Hydrangeas are too close together. And, I mentioned this in a recent post about Astilbes that the original dozen from last year are too close to the hydrangeas. That bed needs to grow out into the yard like three feet. Once that's done, I have to dig up and transplant things closer to the edges of the new beds.