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The naturalistic planting style brings nature back to where it used to belong.

Exploring Naturalistic Garden Design: Is It Right for Your Outdoor Space?

nature-inspired garden planting ideas sustainable gardening

The naturalistic planting style feels carefree and slightly wild. There are colors, movement, bees, and butterflies. It speaks directly to our senses—no wonder the style has become increasingly popular.

It's also practical and makes sense in many ways:

  • The main idea is ​​to use plants that thrive in that particular environment and are typical for the site
  • The naturalistic planting style has a soft spot for ornamental grasses. And there are plenty of them weaved into the planting areas to give movement and longevity.
  • This approach supports sustainability in plant selection and maintaining them naturally - no watering and overly fertilizing needed.

Informal landscaping and planting make the garden feel organic, as it had always been there. The effect it creates is, well, very natural.


Wild Garden Style with Grasses and Perennials

In a garden planted with a naturalistic style, you will usually first notice the abundance of grasses waving in the slightest breeze. The versatile use of ornamental grasses truly characterizes this planting style.

The natural planting style is firmly bound into its' place and can thus be very varied. Mainly, in addition to ornamental grasses, perennials are well represented. And there are usually LOTS of perennials!

Did you know that the style's roots go back more than a hundred years to Karl Foerster's nursery in Germany? Karl Foerster was a passionate plantsman with a particular focus on native plants. He saw their beauty and the opportunities when used in garden settings. What started in his nursery has become a global phenomenon.

Karl Foerster propagated and also cultivated beautiful, reliable plants in his nursery. One of his cultivars is one of the most popular ornamental grasses worldwide, called Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster’). Maybe the one he genuinely appreciated by himself, too.



Naturalistic Garden Design in Your Outdoor Space?

The natural habitats have increasingly been swept away in newly built areas, suburbs, and cities.

Building large public areas in a naturalistic and even wild style is an attempt to bring nature back to the places it used to belong. You can often enjoy these natural areas in public places like Olympic Park in London. Or you may have visited Drömparken in Sweden or The High Line in New York. 

The naturalistic planting style is the 'rock star' of all planting styles. It has received much attention and created famous names familiar to a broader audience than professionals and enthusiastic home gardeners.

In its most ecological and rebellious way, this style may challenge traditional garden aesthetics. Sometimes, the vast space in parks may make it challenging to interpret the style in your own garden.



But not always. For example, The High Line in New York was a wonderful place to discover many planting combinations on a smaller scale than in a usual park setting, as the space was limited sidewise and still had many versatile nooks and corners to sit and be surrounded by planting areas.

The naturalistic garden design and planting style do not need to be restricted to large public parks only. You can use it on a smaller scale and combine it with the existing planting of your garden. It doesn’t have to be ’ either-or’; it can be ’both-and,’ too. You can recall nature and natural habitats in your garden on a scale suitable for your outdoor space.







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