Most people start landscaping their house by installing a shade tree and some evergreens next to their foundation. After that, they add some flowers, so they create a spot to plant some annuals and perennials. Maybe the next year they decide that garden is too small so they widen it out a bit. They continue this until they reach the the mixed border stage.
Mixed Border Stage
The mixed border stage is an important stage. This is the point of no return for lots of future plant nuts. This is where the homeowner either decide to make a continuous bed around their property to enclose a central lawn space, or turn back and run inside to watch Duck Dynasty. Click here for more on mixed borders.
The number that turn back at this stage is directly proportional to the sum of the average high temperature during the summer, the number of mosquito’s out and the local baseball teams place in the standings. I have to imagine a lot of gardens were created this summer in the Chicago area (Cubs -66 wins, 96 losses, White Sox 63 wins, 99 losses).
The mixed border around a central lawn does provide some privacy from the neighbors and some interesting plants to look. It does NOT however provide any sense of mystery in your yard.
Mystery? What do I need that for?
If you recall when you first met your hubbie or wife, you will remember that there was a lot that you were unsure about them. You did not know the details of their personality, attitude, beliefs, habits, etc. These were mostly all unknowns to you. There was a sense of mystery about them that made them MUCH more interesting.
I heard that “Amen” Jenny!
A sense of mystery also makes landscapes more interesting. When you are taking a walk down a path through a garden and the path disappears from view, the walk seems more interesting.
The funny thing is, even when you have taken the path before and you know what is behind that curve, it is still more interesting than if the path was completely visible from the start.
So how does this relate to the mixed border?
Instead of your yard being a big circle or rectangle surrounded by a border that is fully visible, you can create a hidden garden space in your yard. To do this it can be as simple as extending a bed out into the yard and planting a tree or large shrub in it.
The tree or shrub does not even have to completely block the view. If it partially obscures the view so that you can’t quite see everything that is behind it it works too.
They key idea is that the plant hides a portion of the garden from the main view of the garden. This is usually from a patio or deck or from a window in the house such as the patio door.
The plants used should be substantial enough that they provide some screening in the winter. Evergreens are probably the best for this although trees and shrubs with thicker branching and stems can also work. You don’t want a wispy branched shrubs here that pretty much disappears in the winter.
Structures can create hidden garden spaces too
Besides using trees and shrubs you can also use a structure to provide the screen. If you extend your border out to encompass the structure it will seem to fit into the landscape. Possible structures you could use include gazebos, arbors, or trellises with vines growing on them. One benefit to this is that the effect is instantaneous, you do not have to wait for a gazebo to grow.
I hope this post gave you some ideas of where you can create a hidden garden space in your yard to add a little interest to your landscape.
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