Garden design could be defined as a process of planning, designing and creating the layout for one’s garden. Anybody could design their own garden and in fact many people do, although not many of them would possess professional skills and knowledge in this area. Professional garden designers combine their experience, their learned knowledge and their sense of creativity and employ them to deliver their vision of what a perfect garden should look like. In many cases, particularly when designing large gardens, full of complex elements and unusual features, experience of horticulture, floriculture or even architecture is required.
Landscaping is a process of adapting the natural environment accordingly to the designer’s vision. This involves combining the natural conditions of the terrain with those created artificially. In other words, it includes changing the terrain layout as much as adding structures and objects to it. Landscaping also involves various transformations and further processes of conservation of the altered surroundings, whether they are public parks, golf courses or private gardens.
Both garden design and landscaping are tightly related to the humans’ need of changing and adapting their environment. Currently these two areas of knowledge and expertise are almost completely handled by professionals, who specialize in designing not only the gardens or public green spaces (growing plants, arranging surfaces, cutting hedges, etc.), but also in designing additional elements like lamps or garden furniture.
Keys factors contributing to a well-designed and landscaped environment include:
• Determining the desired property profile of a garden (whether it will be used for relaxation, growing plants / trees or if it will serve as a playground for kids) or a wider environment (whether the landscaped terrain will be a park, a nature reserve or sports ground);
• Delimiting the area with fences or shrubs
• Deciding on a desired surface – whether it is to be grass, soil, sand, gravel, concrete, etc.; whether it will have footpaths, alleys, and so on;
• Selecting and arranging the plants within the chosen boundaries;
• Using additional elements like garden furniture and appropriate sources of light for the newly created environment.
The evolving styles
Both landscaping and garden design have changed dramatically in the recent decades. For example, in the past 20 years the garden design business has seen a shift of focus from plastic garden furniture, used initially as additions in the gardens, to exclusive and highly esthetic metal, wooden or rattan sets of garden furniture that presently constitute the center of nearly every garden. Landscaping has also changed greatly, evolving from a domain of rich amateurs to a rapidly expanding field of business, where only the best trained and educated specialists can find a niche for themselves.
At present the styles of garden design and landscaping vary depending on the geographic and cultural context. While Asian arts of landscaping and garden design are usually inspired by traditional methods of arranging spaces (like Feng Shui), European and American approaches usually focus on the formal aspects such as functionality, planning permissions and space usability.