Landscaping & Gardens

landscaping ideas4If the warm weather of spring ever returns to Wisconsin all of us will finally be able to enjoy the great outdoors even if its only in your own backyard.  When the weather is warm we talk about landscaping – when the weather is cold we talk about interiors.  It only seems natural living in Wisconsin.  Bed and pathway lines are important to how we view and navigate our gardens. A good garden designer will employ these shapes to influence moods and to dictate how and how quickly we move through a garden. Straight paths are utilitarian, moving people quickly from point A to point B. Curved and serpentine paths create a sense of peacefulness, causing people to stroll at a leisurely pace, stopping to enjoy vignettes and treasured plants. Then there are the zigzag paths. Enter yatsuhashi.

“Yatsuhashi” is a Japanese term that literally means “eight bridges.” Originally, eight wooden planks were laid out in a zigzag pattern, without railings and generally over a shallow pond surrounded by irises. Legend has it that this pattern kept evil spirits away, because the spirits could not make 90-degree turns. This belief led to the construction of zigzag bridges and paths on temple grounds.

Let’s look at how to use this pattern, not only in Asian gardens but in contemporary, woodland and even traditional ones.This elevated boardwalk is laid out in true Yatsuhashi fashion, with the lumber in each section leading the visitor forward. This creates an interesting and contemplative landscaping ideas2pattern. The lumber pattern is repeated on the dwelling, pulling the eye forward as well as upward and creating a homogenous, nurturing vibe.

Safety is a concern when building any raised walkway without a railing, so take this into consideration. In situations such as this, good landscape lighting is imperative.

During the flower-power days of the 1960s, Donovan sang about “being mad about saffron” in his hit song Mellow Yellow. Are we still mad about yellow in our gardens, and can it be mellow? Nature commonly uses yellow, with spring flowers like daffodils, forsythia and primroses, but can we use this bright color without its taking over?

landscaping ideas5Yellow is the perfect color to bring warmth into a garden, especially in colder climates where gardeners embrace solar rays. A glowing feature wall in this garden brings light and warmth into the space. The yellow used is almost a primrose yellow, which shines without overpowering the garden scheme.  Yellow is a beautiful color in the fall as well and when you bring this color into your gardens and landscaping you can really enjoy your outdoor living space longer.

With much of this garden composed of neutral colors, like brown and taupe, the two squares of bright yellow bring it to life. Beware: Yellow can lead the eye through the garden, but too much will overpower it.

Here we see how the deep gold of the fernleaf yarrow (Achillea ‘Moonshine’) really stands out against the purple blue of the meadow sage

When choosing a color for a feature wall, it’s useful to remember that color changes enormously in different light conditions. In the morning sun, a yellow wall will look completely different than it does in evening shade; it will also alter through the year as the angle of the sun rises and falls, changing the quality of the light.

There could be no better choice of color than the fresh yellow used for the parasol on this poolside terrace. The clear blue of the pool intensifies landscaping ideas3the yellow coloring, as the meeting of complementary colors strengthens both.This simple yellow sunshade blends beautifully with the surounding foliage. Green and yellow-green sit next to yellow on the color wheel, which means foliage will tend to blend in with most yellows.

With a strong color like yellow, it can be better to plant in swaths or masses rather than dotting plants through a mixed border — you only have to think of golden fields of sunflowers, or the acid-yellow flowers of rapeseed or even dandelions in abundance on a lawn.

The mass planting of the goldenrod (Solidago) here is stunning, especially as the cool gray of the drive brings out the strength of the acid-yellow flowers. The further touches of yellow in the autumnal foliage in the background and the bright yellow potted chrysanthemums at the front door show how different shades and tones of the color can bring a composition together.

landscaping ideasMost people think of yellow and blue as a classic combination, yet purple and violet are equally complementary and bring out the best in the yellow — the coolness of blue and purple contrast the warmth of yellow.

The mass planting of the goldenrod (Solidago) here is stunning, especially as the cool gray of the drive brings out the strength of the acid-yellow flowers. The further touches of yellow in the autumnal foliage in the background and the bright yellow potted chrysanthemums at the front door show how different shades and tones of the color can bring a composition together.