. .
Take the Quiz

How Adding Structure Improves Your Garden

client case studies garden design basics starting a garden

A garden needs structure, good bones, as you could say. And before creating permanent structure, you need a thoroughly thought layout. You got to know where you place different functions in your garden. You need deep thinking behind your decisions to create a functional and visually pleasing garden.

Author and design writer Linda O'Keeffe states it so poetically in her book "Inside Outside - A Sourcebook of Inspired Garden Rooms":

" Without a structure, a garden is merely an open field. It may have layered beds with tall, hierarchal planting or waist-height rows of grass to create verticality, but without some kind of permanent organizational framework, there's nothing to focus on, nothing to anchor the viewer's eye . . . Without structure, without bones, there's no opportunity for a garden or room to be whimsical, grand, intimate, or serene, because it has no character."

Linda O'Keeffe

Who could say it better - she's so correct.




Structure Gives Your Garden Character

Your garden needs structure to be interesting, to express your style and support your lifestyle. You can create structure and reflect your Garden Personality Style with:

  • shapes and forms
  • hardscaping elements and materials
  • garden buildings
  • hedges and borders
  • skeletal plants
  • accents like ornaments and objects

The garden structures also enhance the functions of your garden. Hence they support your lifestyle and make it possible to use your garden the way you want to enjoy it fully.

Structure, layouts, and spatial design are my favorites. They are the cake that can be decorated and flourished in many ways.

That's why I was so pleased that Linda chose one of my designs to be part of her inspiring garden sourcebook. (I loved the working process and inspiring discussions with her too.) And especially as she placed it into the chapter named: STRUCTURE, where she showcases four versatile gardens with different moods and atmospheres - one in New York's Hudson Valley, my design near Helsinki, one in Connecticut, and one in Suffolk, UK.



Structure Creates the Permanent Framework for Your Garden

Permanent structures and hard landscaping are the most costly and pricey parts of your garden. They also demand the most time and effort to build. When you plan thoroughly in the first place, you'll save time and money. It would be essential to get the structures placed and make them right from the start.

Think, for example, patios, garden paths, pavilion, trellises, trees, privacy screens. When you get them right, you have many options to start playing with plants and decorations afterward. You can even change them during to following years. The plants are the fun and most inspiring part of the garden creation - the icing of the cake.



Good Structure Lets Your Creativity Flourish

Somebody might find spatial design and creating structure the most challenging part of designing a garden. Yes, it is hard to do it for the first or even for the second or third time. However, use your time wisely, do not rush.

  1. Create a layout and flow that includes all the needed functions in the correct order.
  2. After that, give your garden the structural elements that will support its' functions and create good bones for years to come.

That is highly important as good structure and garden layout keep it all together. It allows you to experiment and test new plants and planting combinations. It lets your creativity run wild.




Book: Inside Outside A Sourcebook of Inspired Garden Rooms by author, design writer and editor Linda O'Keeffe. Published in 2019 by Timber Press, Inc..



Turn your Pinterest board full of garden dreams into reality with a set of solid guidelines to follow. It takes only 3 minutes, but the results will serve you for a lifetime.