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Rock gardens add beauty and dimension to your property. Many garden planners therefore will employ the servic-

es of a landscape designer first and a landscape installer second. Larger companies will be able to supply both services. Either way, most will suggest plants from a list of materials that they have long worked with and which they know to be reliable and hardy. If you want something more exotic, you can make suggestions, but it is important to understand the nature and needs of your plant list or be prepared for failures. Good garden design

The key elements of good landscape design are the same

elements of any good design: line, texture, colour, form, balance, scale and symmetry. The landscaper also needs to know about water flow, drainage, light direction, wind prevalence, snow collection, and so on. In areas where the substratum is clay, he needs to understand how to create stable surfaces over a shifting base. All good gardens designs have a few things in common:

seating areas, sightlines, destinations, and surprises. Every garden needs a place where you can immerse yourself in the experience, with sitting or reclining or just walking through it.

Hardscaped paths can add class to any home. These are created using a combination of hard features

and plants. Viewing points will depend on your own habits in the

garden. If you spend a lot of time looking out the kitchen window, you may want to orient the garden in that direc- tion. Or it may be that your favourite viewing point is the patio or deck. Think about this when advising your land- scape designer. There should be destinations in your garden and even the

smallest garden can have them. Pathways and walkways can be curved to allow for the element of surprise. An example might be a winding pathway with a shrub obscuring what’s behind a curve and then some surprise element such as an ornate planter or a little bench on the other side. The desti- nation for your path should have a purpose at the end — it might include a seating area or a statue on a small patio or perhaps a pond. Changes in elevation are also a good idea. A sunken

garden with the upper level topped by a low stone wall is a very effective way to change space and mood. These raised walls help to define spaces, adding destinations and mystery to the garden. Garden walls are a big feature in Europe

Don't be afraid to mix elements, contrast is good.

22 • Summer 2016

Pathways can be curved and should lead to a surprise destination or have a purpose.

Ponds can bring peace and tranquility to the garden.

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