For the novice green thumb, coming up with cool design ideas for your garden can be more than a little intimidating. If you have a patch of land and would like to start a garden, how do you know where to begin to design it? Gardens have been cultivated all over the world, and various cultures have approached garden design with their own twists and philosophies. Why not take a cue from these varying approaches and incorporate design elements from a variety of inspirations? Take a look at the following ideas, and start enjoying your garden for its design as well as the flowers it contains.
The Renaissance garden is a formal design philosophy that was quite popular with European royalty from the Renaissance era to the present that was characterized by the use of fanciful topiary and symmetry. To incorporate a Renaissance feel into your garden, consider surrounding the perimeter with neatly trimmed hedges, or sectioning off the various areas of your garden with topiary. Another popular element common in Renaissance gardens is statuary, placed in areas of prominence. You can find fairly cheap garden statues in a local garden store. There's no need to go overboard with well-chosen statues, either. One or two strategically placed statues will add an elegant touch to your garden.
The English garden was a reaction to the more formalized Renaissance garden, and it emphasized the primacy of nature over the imposing symmetry of landscape architecture. Grassy vistas and old stone structures that melded with the background were popular motifs. Although you may not have access to a sweeping English estate, you can still add elements of the English garden to your project. If you have a small stream, consider placing a rustic looking stone bridge across it. The bridge doesn't even need to be functional: consider it to serve only aesthetic purposes. If you have the land, utilize the beauty of a grassy hill, and plant a cluster of trees as an outpost on it.
Another reaction to formal gardens, the cottage garden is even more informal than the English garden. One way to think of the Cottage garden is as more "charming" than formalized. One common theme seen in the cottage garden is the use of a rustic wooden gate to enclose it. If you do not have the space to completely enclose your garden, adding a gate as pure decorative element is certainly an option. Another tactic in maintaining a Cottage garden is to grow your vegetables in separate plots, much as you would do with most gardens, but use a variety of colorful wildflowers to fill the space between the plots. In addition to common garden vegetables, add to the practicality of your garden by adding a space for various herbs.
These ideas are just a jumping off point; with a little research, you can design a garden that not only relaxes you, but also effectively reflects your particular aesthetic.