Exploiting Natural Characteristics


When planning a garden, it is usually best to work with the given conditions, using natural site features as part of the design where possible. Banks, slopes and changes in level may provide opportunities for creating retaining walls, terraces, a watercourse, stepped beds or a rock garden, as well as providing good views out over the garden.

Poorly drained and damp areas are often difficult and expensive to drain, but make an excellent home for many bog and moisture-loving plants. If there is a large area of damp ground, there may be space for alders (Alnus) or ornamental willows (Salix) with other small, moisture-loving plants such as candelabra primulas around them. See our section on bog gardens for more details.

If large areas of subsoil or rubble have been left from construction and building works, they may be used productively to form the base of a gravel or scree garden, rather than spending time and effort on digging them out and replacing them with good soil. One advantage with scree and gravel gardens is that they often require minimal maintenance once they are established.