Monday, April 8, 2013

Making the garden seem bigger than it is - landscaping tricks learned along the way

I was talking to my neighbour the other day and she said that a visitor had commented on the lychee tree in their back yard.  They don't have a lychee tree - we do!  Because we grow the same type of plants along our fence lines both of us can use the illusion that our gardens are bigger than they actually are. This large tree and the palm trees are in her garden, but who would know?

 The heleconias and gingers are a bit overgrown now and are going to have to be cut back to contain them, but I also don't want to lose the illusion of space.  Once a heleconia stalk has flowered, it dies, and sends out another stalk.  So the ones that have already flowered are taking up use-able real estate.  This bed is full of these lovely big red heleconias.
 The red ginger are way too cramped and overgrown.  Here you see them from both sides of the fence.
  There is a little path that leads just to the back fence, but because the fence is not visible one might think it leads further into the garden.
 Along the side fence I have also tried to build up some vegetation, now with the taller trees at the back, and smaller plants in front.   The path going around the tree opened up the garden so that one can wander through and see more plants up close.  I removed plants to make this path, so in actual fact it now has less growing space, but because you can access more, it somehow seems bigger!  All  illusion :)
In the veggie garden I have another advantage in that those neighbours have a hedge of hibiscus and they have grown so tall they peer over the fence.  Instant pollinator attractors.  I wonder if that is what has made this loofa vine suddenly set loofas?    I have a male pawpaw tree, and it serves well to service the female trees in both my and my neighbours garden.  Pollinators don't seem to see fences.
I never set out to use all these landscaping tricks but they have developed along the way.  What landscaping tricks do you use in your garden?


  1. I love this post, this is similar to what I'm trying to achieve in my garden. The path that leads to the fence is brilliant, I'm stealing that.

  2. Many of my tricks come along the way I think. I don't have a backyard like you. I stay in linked houses. To make the garden bigger (in my case is making for space to grow more plant), one way is to I find ways to grow my plants vertically - either with plant stand or obelisk for vines to climb ;-)

  3. I love, love, love heliconias. Yours look beautiful.

  4. You can't over-estimate the value of a good pathway. I also like the boundaries of the garden to be hidden with vegetation so you can't tell where it ends.

    Your helioconias and gingers are looking spectacular.

  5. Dearest Africanaussie,
    Wow, this kind of landscaping tricks or illusion may not happen here in Japan.
    How different and I enjoyed seeing every pictures, my friend.
    The red ginger remained me Strelitzia, although their flowers are yellowish p;)

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  6. Your garden is amazing and I love to see how you are using all these lovely plants which are so different to the ones available here.

  7. I have no tricks but I love your ideas. And your garden looks great.

  8. A magician never gives away his tricks, but you have done well with your garden illusions.
    We are still waiting on the rain. The days are too HOTT to even think about gardening.
    Your garden is looking lovely as usual.

  9. Clever and beautiful!

  10. Your garden looks lush and beautiful. Like a movie set, or should I say a movie set would try to look like your place.
    The best trick I ever learned is to arrange the plants in levels. Create little alcoves with tall, middle and low plants. Then make another alcove next to it. It is hard to break away from rows, but successful gardeners seem to follow this method automatically. I had to learn it.

  11. I would love to do this in my garden, but my neighbours don't co operate - they have sheds near the fences instead of shrubs anbd trees. So I've only been able to achieve it in patches. I do have one illusion - a hidden garden border that you can't see until you get close, because of the way the path curves, and I'm planning more like this.

  12. Alison,
    You are welcome - I probably stole the idea from someone else. Isn't it wonderful to have so much information at our fingertips?
    I have been using my own gazebo legs to make frames for my veggies to climb on.
    I do too, but think they maybe too overgrown as you cant see them easily. I suppose having some hidden secrets is good though too.
    thank you
    I really love your new pathway! Yes the garden loves this weather.
    I have a strelitzia, but it has never bloomed - I have a feeling it might not like the wet here.
    Thank you, I also enjoy looking at blogs of roses and other flowers that I cant grow!
    thank you
    I could probably spare some rain for you :)
    Good advice, I often don't realise how tall a plant is going to grow though, and end up moving them.
    Oh that sounds like fun - a hidden garden! Yes I like surprises like that.

  13. You have an amazing lush and beautiful garden.
    I love the path idea, it really appears as if there is something more around the corner.

  14. This is so beautiful! I would love to be able to hack back the vegetation instead of coaxing things to grow! Living in the shade in PA!

  15. Hi Sami,
    I put it in because I have to go around the back and trim branches off, but it definitely has a double purpose :)
    Oh your garden is full of lovely old trees!

  16. We have a set up with the neighbours similar to yours - they grow very similar plants and we borrow each others tree's in our views of the garden. For the most part, you cant see the fences between the properties until you are almost on top of them! on Google Earth its hard to see where we end and our neighbours begin on three sides! - K xx

  17. So many plants in one location, I can't count them and they all look great together.

  18. Practical Frog,
    I love that idea!
    Malay Kadazan,
    Thank you


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