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Semi-formal garden design :)

Posted by lavender_lass WA zone 4 (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 5, 10 at 19:27

Well, according to my research on the Internet (what little I've been able to find) my garden style is defined as semi-formal.

Apparently, that's when you use a more formal layout with less formal plantings. So, for me, that would mean a formal design, but instead of arborvitaes on each corner of a rectangular garden, I would use butterfly bushes, or instead of boxwood around a bed, I would use lavender or even marigolds. Often, there's more color and flowers, but evergreens are still fine. I would use holly, if it weren't bad for the horses...I love holly. Perfect for Christmas :)

Formal gardens can sometimes be all in shades of green or boxwood around tea roses. While that's very pretty, I usually end up with shrub roses and daisies with lavender and salvias...maybe a few herbs thrown in. Another favorite combination is snow pavement roses with purple clematis and red bee balm (the ones with the purple centers are really striking).

Here's an example of what I would think of as a semi-formal garden. The design and layout are very formal, but the flowers are much more cottage style. I love this combination :)

Anyone else like this style?

Here is a link that might be useful: Formal design with cottage flowers

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Semi-formal garden design :)

I tend to not like yellow flowers - but would love to have space to have a gold/yellow garden so I liked that link.

RE: Semi-formal garden design :)

I'm not a big fan of yellow either so why do I have so many yellow flowers in my garden, still scratching my head over that one.

For myself formal, semi-formal, not my cup of tea, being a nonconformist at heart I don't like restriction in any form. I have some straight lines (paths) they just happened because that's all the space would allow. I just plunk things in and if it ends up looking half decent.... Mmmmmmm, serendipity comes to mind :). On the other hand I can appreciate and love looking at what others have done alone these lines, I've seen some really lovely gardens it's just not me.


RE: Semi-formal garden design :)

I don't like yellow either- and my garden is dominated by it. Go figure. It's just that the roses and irises that can take the heat and bloom like crazy just happen to come in yellow. Ditto with Asiatic and daylilies, columbines, the list goes on.

I love the layout of your garden, lavenderlass, and I would use that layout if if had started from scratch. What you do with it beyond the basic geometry is what makes it special.


RE: Semi-formal garden design :)

My little green acre is evolving into a "bare spot surprise" garden design as the seasons pass. I see a bare spot, review inventory of plants in pots looking for a home and am often surprised at the end result. Somehow Ive brought together what appear to be some great combinations like gaura The Bride planted beside Russian sage & dwarf fountain grass, toad lily near brunnera Jack Frost & Japanese painted fern among others. I have more blue, pink, purple & white than yellow. Agastache rupestris has a lot of potentialgrew it from seed this year (winter sown) and its just beginning to bloom so it has late season color on the plus side along with fragrant flowers, foliage & it draws the bees. I planted ladybells & verbascum near peony & baptisia but will have to wait until next year to see how that combination looks.

RE: Semi-formal garden design :)

LL, my cottage area is a type of semi-formal yet informally planted space. I had planned it to be very straight lines with the pathways, but then the plantings are full and flowing. I have borders on either side of my porch that are quite symmetrical with perennials but they are still pretty carefree and flowing. Only a couple shrubs and 1 evergreen is in the area, but it still looks slightly more formal because of the paths. It is the entry to my house so that is why I wanted it a little more structured.

The rest of my garden isn't like that at all. However I do have an area on the right of my driveway that I hope to start working in probably a few years from now and I do want to make that a more structured, symmetrical "garden.

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