Shapes In Informal Gardens

Shapes In Informal Gardens – An informal garden has carefully planned spaces but conceals its boundaries. You can create boundaries by using native mixed hedging such as hawthorn, holly and briar roses or, in larger gardens, by planting  clumps of trees such as birch or rowan.

Irregularity is achieved by organic-looking spaces and winding curves. A grassy lawn may lead circuitously to a wild garden or a rose garden. Make sure the shapes are generous. Paths should wind gently in large curves, not wiggle up the garden in a worm-like way.


One large curve always looks better than two or three meanly angled ones. Informality implies relaxation, so the whole garden should seem relaxed. There should be plenty of space for slow movement around the garden and plenty of places in which to sit.

At each bend a series of tall plants should conceal what is around the corner, so that there is always a  new surprise – a flowering cherry tree, a sculpture half-hidden by ivy or a rural arbor – because this should not be a garden with strict patterns, but a garden of random walks and mysteries.

Even a very small garden can be made to seem larger and be filled with surprises by introducing winding curves, diagonal lines and tall plants to conceal what might be waiting round the corner. Here, a lawn is located fairly near the house and a herb garden at the bottom of the garden; comfortable seats invite the visitor to sit and enjoy the plants.

In very narrow plots you can treat the whole informal garden as a walk, with undulating borders on each side of a gently curving path leading you down to a seat or other eye-catcher at the end. The path can be made or bricks, stone or even grass, although grass is liable to become worn in summer and soggy in winter, making it difficult to work in the informal garden.

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At intervals on either side of the path, set back into the planting, you can create seating areas, allowing the visitors to pause and enjoy the plants. The plants themselves should be chosen for their color and scent and they should have interest most of the year. The occasional small tree or large shrub will provide shade and height.

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