A garden, generally defined as a space designed for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of various types of flora and fauna, is an ideally suited setting for solitary or social expression, as well as the natural protection of the body from the elements. The single most distinguishing feature distinguishing even the wildest garden from the most domestic is control. Man has always prized control over his habitat, and a well-designed garden is an extension of this belief. In our modern lives this belief has been extended to the design of gardens, with what seems like an infinite number of garden design possibilities available to us today.
In the early years of the Common Good, garden design was largely directed towards providing a functional, practical function from a garden. For instance, if you wanted to plant roses in your garden to provide sweet fragrance, you would grow and plant them in beds. As time went by, these bed plants were developed into different ornamental styles and became part of the overall garden look. The forms and uses of the Common Good Gardens of the 16th century all revolved around practical use rather than for display or ornamentation.
Landscape gardening on the other hand, developed out of the need to create a beautiful, attractive public space in cities throughout Europe. The French Revolution, which happened around the time that the majority of garden planning was being done, prompted a turn away from the more traditional, natural oriented styles towards more extravagant, ornate and elaborate garden designs. This new approach, which became more prominent in the Baroque periods, resulted in many buildings, public spaces, and gardens that were quite extravagant. Baroque gardening included, for instance, the building of large, architectural gardens such as those found in the Louvre and in Trafalgar Square in London.
Although there are many different styles of garden layout, most landscape gardens are designed with one purpose in mind, and that is to provide the best possible environment for plants to grow and thrive in. Plants need adequate lighting, water, proper drainage, and adequate ventilation in order to grow healthily. Gardens may also be designed to increase privacy viewing areas, or to add beauty and interest to a street or alley. In fact, one of the main features of any good English garden will be a series of ponds, watermills, waterfalls, and birdbaths. A well-designed, lush landscape garden can be enhanced by the addition of a paved walkway, stone pavers, flowers, shrubs, and perennials.
Zen garden design has taken Zen landscaping to a whole new level. The goal of a Zen garden is to create a garden that is beautiful, tranquil, and self-contained, away from the troubles of the world. Zen gardens may be created using simple tools like rock and wood piles. A Zen garden can also take the form of an actual physical location where one can sit, relax, meditate, and think. A Zen garden may not even necessarily be located inside of a building. It can be just as functional and useful as a backyard, but it’s all on its own, within the property of the person who created it.
Rock gardens were originally created by stacking up huge rocks and planting low-growing bushes or grasses on top of them. The rocks would act as a natural background for the colorful array of flowers and other plants that would grow in such a dense and over-sized landscape. The main concern with creating a rock garden was keeping it from being eroded away due to the weight and pressure from the rocks themselves. Today, landscape architects and designers use many different methods to incorporate rock garden features into their designs, and some of the most common ways include using plant beds, using ornamental grass and ground cover, using gravel as a base, and using stones as a main or secondary feature.