There are almost as many garden styles as there are reasons to garden. The love of plants and flowers, being outdoors, an enjoyable way to get mild exercise, and the creativity of garden design may be why we garden, but why does someone plant a formal garden instead of a naturalistic garden? Some yards are carefully manicured, but the overgrown landscape next door may be tended just as carefully. What can you figure out about someone by looking at their garden? Let’s take a look at some of the basic garden styles and see.
The Orderly Garden
The orderly garden is neat and tidy. Every plant is in its place with nary a weed or stray twig in sight. The plants are all healthy with no evidence of pest problems, dead branches or unraked leaves. The orderly garden is not necessarily formal, but it is clear that someone spends a lot of time to take care of it.
Perhaps the orderly garden belongs to someone that loves gardening and simply has a lot of time available to tend to it. However, there is probably more to it. Many gardeners spend lots of time outside, but concentrate on things other than pruning, raking, clipping and cleaning. We expect the orderly gardener has a home that is just as neat inside as it is outside.
The Minimalist Garden
While the minimalist garden is likely to be tidy, it has other qualities that are different from the orderly garden. A minimalist landscape will have clean lines, a simple palette of plants and materials and little complexity. These are things in common with Japanese Zen gardens. Though this style fits well with modern architecture, the minimalist gardener is interested in more than matching their house style. A simple, no-frills lifestyle goes along with their home and landscape.
The Unkempt Garden
Though the unkempt garden may appear to be neglected, that is not necessarily the case. There are many gardeners that spend time planting, watering and rearranging, but are not interested in cleaning up and manicuring their garden. The plants are well cared for, but there may be piles here and there of pulled weeds, and the overall organization of the garden may be lacking. We suspect the gardener of this messy plot enjoys gardening for its own sake, not so much for what the neighbors think.
The Unfinished Garden
An unfinished garden is never complete. It may have much in common with any of the gardens above, but there is always a project, or two or three, underway. The keeper of the unfinished garden has lots of ideas and plans they want to implement. The process of designing and implementing new things in the garden is more important than the final result.
No garden type or style is better or worse than any other. While it always risky to assume too much based on outward appearances, it is fun to speculate. When you look at different gardens and landscapes in your neighborhood, do you think about the people that create and care for them? What does the style and condition of your garden say about you? Hopefully, our gardens become a reflection of our own personality, character and interests.