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ARDEN IDEAS - PATHWAYS, FOUNTAINS AND PLANT LIFE
A successful garden includes a variety of different elements that work in harmony. Gardening is much more then simply growing a field of plants without any pattern or design, or placing some garden fountains in an otherwise bare courtyard. We use such things as plants, fountains and pathways working in harmony together to enjoy a garden. These different elements provide an organization and structure to the area that enable it to be used effectively and also prevents it from being a wild area that is difficult to manage and use.
The use of garden pathways is both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. A pathway enables us to access all areas of a garden without stepping of fragile plants. Pathways also keep our feet clean and help prevent the tracking of mud and girt to other areas after we leave the garden. Many people find it enjoyable to stroll barefoot in a garden and doing so on either a stone, concrete or brickwork pathway protects our feet from thorns and other things which may injure our feet.
An additional overlooked factor with pathways is that most people discover that sweeping and hosing off a pathway becomes an enjoyable task in itself. Caring for pathways can in time become much more then a maintenance task, just as caring for a garden can be much more then growing things. In time people find these endeavors and enjoyable and even meditative task that occupies the mind as they go about enjoying being outside in the garden setting. Simple garden tasks offer something to do other then sitting stationary and are also a good source of light exercise.
One of the most dynamic additions to a garden is a water fountain. A fountain creates both movement and sound which is a big attention getter. The sight and sound of a fountain also makes a garden seem cooler and water features create a soothing respite for birds on a hot day. In addition, fountains release negative ions into the air that make the environment feel more lively and can uplift our mood. Finally, a garden fountain is simply beautiful to behold and works so well as a natural addition to a garden. Concrete fountains for the garden are especially effective because the concrete can be stained with a large variety of colors that fit in well with natural surroundings. Some of the most popular fountain finishes include stains such as Antico, Toscano, Vintage and Rustico. Some finishes create a weathered and timeless look that make a fountain appear as if it has been sitting in the garden for centuries, while others produce a newer feel.
Flowers, Flora and Plant Life
No garden is complete without some sort of plant life. Plants like flowers, grass and trees should make up most of the garden area, followed by paths and brickwork and finally some accents like pond, statues and fountains. Many people enjoy growing things like fruits and vegetables in their garden and these would also fall into the plant life category. If we use to much plant life the area becomes more like a farm or natural forest. A preponderance of pathway or patio areas creates more of a courtyard feeling. Too many accents like statues or fountains, especially of the same type, and the area begins to look like a showroom and begins to create a cluttered feeling that is not in harmony with the rest of the garden.
The Interaction Of Garden Features
The proportional and balanced use of garden features like pathways, fountains and plant life work together to create a functional and relaxing garden setting. Meandering garden pathways work around planted areas, trees and water accents. Pathways also enable the garden caretaker to access all areas of the garden to provide upkeep and water without having to step on fragile areas with plants. Pathways also provide easy access to accents like fountains and ponds that need to be replenished with water periodically or fish cared for in ponds.
When looking proportions that usually work best consider a 50/30/20 split between the areas. More specifically, at least 50% of the garden can be used for plants, flora and trees; 30% for garden pathways and patios; and the remaining 20% left for accents like gazing balls, fountains, ponds and small statuary like animals, sundials and garden gnomes. The particular composition of a garden will of course differ depending on who is creating it. One of the most beautiful and extraordinary things about a garden is that it takes on the personality of it's owner. The next time you are sitting in a garden, perhaps over afternoon tea, discussing business or as a romantic encounter, try looking closely a the garden and reflect on the different elements present; how they are arranged and in what proportion and what may be overemphasized or missing, and know that such things in some way reflect the character of it's creator.