Planting Design Tip: Swathes and Swoops and Drifts and Rivers

Oh, the siren call of nurseries and garden centers in spring! It is so tempting to buy every gorgeous plant that whispers (or shrieks) your name. Without some restraint, however, your garden may end up looking like a polka-dot jumble. Tame the chaos by selecting fewer varieties and planting more of them.

Limit yourself to a few favorite varieties that look beautiful together, and buy as many as your budget allows. Plant them in swathes and swoops and drifts and rivers. Repeat groupings throughout your landscape, and watch how different areas of your garden light up during their bloom times.

This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice free-spirited abandon for subdued minimalism. Just feast your eyes on this example from the Toronto Music Garden, where a carefully curated palette of plants in masses and swathes creates a joyous symphony.

Landscape design by JMMDS. Photo by Virginia Weiler.