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Garden Design Tips from the Pros: Atlanta History Center

Understanding garden design helps you give your garden structure and appeal. These tips are from experts at a public garden in Atlanta—they'll work in your home garden, too.

5 Garden Design Tips from the Experts at Atlanta History Center

garden design tips

Repetition of the same low-maintenance plants is an easy-to-accomplish design tip from the pros.

1 Repetition makes a garden cohesive. Learn what grows well for you and grow lots of it! Repeat plantings of perennials or shrubs that perform well with little maintenance (see above).

2 Be bold! Surpass the “rule of three” and plant in groups of seven, nine or more (sticking with odd-numbered groupings). Large sweeps create drama during peak season.

garden design tips

Evergreen shrubs provide our gardens with structure year-round.

3 Use evergreen shrubs to shape a view, screen something unsightly or obscure your boundary lines (see above).

4 Pay attention to the shape of your lawn. Odd angles and points look jarring and unintentional. Create an informal shape of gentle curves or a strong shape with straight lines and 90-degree corners.

garden design tips

A mixed border of deciduous trees, evergreens and perennials provide scale in height and textural contrast.

5 Mix your borders. You’ll have a far more interesting garden if you can include a specimen tree, flowering and evergreen shrubs, perennials, a few annuals and bulbs. This gives you scale in height and textural contrast, plus a long bloom season.

Content courtesy of Sarah Roberts, Vice-President of the Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections at the Atlanta History Center. A full-length feature on garden design advice from public gardens ran in the January/February 2018 issue of Horticulture.