Reasons for Creating a Garden | Part 1: Redefining Your Outdoor Space

by Allen Quay

in Landscape Design


What are the reasons for creating a garden? Why try to make it better?

Just look down any street and you’ll see lots of people are quite happy to ignore their landscaping and get on happily with their lives.  For every garden that looks well-loved there 5 or 10 that will look unkempt.  So why bother?

There are practical reasons… like your garden may make up the major view of many rooms in the house.  So when improving your garden you’ll also be improving each room that looks out onto the landscape.  Also, garden spaces are usually bigger than any room inside the house. Even with small gardens you have all this space outside.  It is senseless not to make the most of this space.

But aside from these practical reasons, there are more psychological reasons for creating a garden. Gardens are important… the importance of the garden goes way beyond the little niche-of-a-place to do gardening.  Most people I design for have no interest in doing any gardening at all and if they do, it is way down on their list of priorities.

Gardens today are not primarily about gardening. They are places where you can enjoy nature, relax and be yourself, where you can create your own world.

Cute kitten popping it's head out of a clay pot surrounded by white daisy flowersThis separates gardens out from kitchens or any other room inside the house.  Garden usage is defined by you.

In the kitchen you have to cook and wash dishes. In a bedroom you have to have a bed where you go to sleep.  In the garden, what do you want to do? How do you want to feel?

So it’s really important NOT to define the garden by the old fashion idea of a place to grow stuff. Maybe that’s what you want to do but if you release yourself from those constraints so much more is possible.

We have a very personal relationship with the garden. Sometimes people are recreating a childhood dream, sometimes a favorite holiday or a certain mood. A few times people have stayed in a particular hotel and want the same treatment for their outside space and this is how it should be. We should be using our gardens to provide a bit of magic or sanctuary.

In my next article on the importance of creating a garden, I write about how this magical refuge is missing out of so many gardens these days and how important this quality is to our well being.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frank B Gabry March 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

We are the only stewards of this Planet, we are doing a horrible job, last 30 yrs have witness Disappearance of pollinators in various parts of the world.In SW FL. landscapers? are the last link to restoring the grounds, yet they choose to plants exotic GREEN Plants next to foundations then use Exotic Mulches that chase away earth worms, why? So we can have chemically grown ‘lush’ lawns that are not conducive to water use! I work hard to EDUCATE MY CLIENTS yes some think I’m crazy at first, but many after they ‘change’ they realize, & we get wow’s awesome beautiful, & many thank yous.As bird.s, butterflies, bee’s, even HummingBirds fly around us! Estate Style is what I call it, & yes it can be formal yet can be natural & most cases both.After all so are we! Estate Style larger plantings are father away from structures & have supporting understory flowering plantings, No plants closer than 7-10 ft from buildings, (no foundation hiding plantings) After all most homes today are beautiful why hide them? Granted we do create ‘BUFFERS’ which create optical illusion, that buildings are father away than they seem, why I call it Estate Style. Even smaller properties look great & bigger! Its strange because people think lawns help enlarge but LAWNS do the OPPOSITE, they make yards seem smaller. Estate Style protects homes against damaging winds, when proper plants/trees are used. Planting closer to lot lines, create ‘buffers’ when looking out of one home, one see’s trees and plantings with flowers, not another house with constantly trimmed high maintenance ‘green’ encased home! BUFFER, needs less watering, reduces costly trimming, reduces chemical use greatly, absorbs what was nutrient rich runoff! Best of all invites nature back into our lives! After all we are the stewards of this planet!


2 Allen Quay March 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Wow Frank… you should have posted this as an article on our site as a guest blogger. Great sustainable ideas!


3 rsteve March 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

Gardens are for people. Thomas Church


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