Form and Function in the Garden

When you’re working on any design, there are two things to consider: form and function. Gardens are no exception. What are you going to use your garden for? That will play a significant role in determining the form your garden takes. The very best designs combine pleasing forms with useful functions. Many things in your garden are both pleasing of form and serve a practical function.

Lighting

Lighting is important for the safety and enjoyment of a garden, but it can also be aesthetically pleasing. Floodlights are fine, of course, and can be very dramatic, but consider creative alternatives. A pilaster light or lit flagstones, for example. Either one can serve both the function of keeping your garden safely lit, and be pleasing to look at all on their own.

Privacy

Screening your garden from the prying eyes of neighbors isn’t just a functional matter; it can also be an attractive feature in your garden. Before you install a six-foot-tall fence, consider some alternatives. Evergreens and ornamental grasses can serve the same purpose without being so bland and unfriendly. There’s a reason that hedges are so ubiquitous in the UK. A living fence is just more fun than a dead one — and it never needs a fresh coat of paint.

Aesthetic and Eco-friendly

When you’re thinking about plantings, though, remember the constraints of the environment you’re working in. Beware of invasive alien plants, and be considerate of the water constraints in your area. Good planting and garden design are always going to take the environment into account, whether it’s rural or urban. A garden that’s beautiful but bad for the environment that it’s in is worse than no garden at all.

Remember, the first and final word on your garden is ultimately yours. The form and the function both should be suited to your needs and your tastes. Express and enjoy yourself!