Since early English gardens and as far back as Roman courtyards, people have held an expectation towards landscaping. The ‘manicured landscape’ has always found a place among our society as the accepted and desirable design. People often recognize its beauty because of the design elements we impose unto its layout. Things such as the golden ratio, symmetry and human form have been used within our gardens for centuries to create the ideal and desirable landscapes which society always recognizes as the highest achievement of beauty. Yet, these types of landscapes rarely consider the functionality, biodiversity and general role which its elements play in the greater picture of our environment. A traditional landscape in this context is unsustainable and requires constant input (such as pesticides, fertilizer and mechanical treatment) which can in fact be detrimental to the land and the money in our pockets. The beauty of traditional gardens is outweighed by the maintenance, cost and lack of biodiversity which they entail.
There is a common opinion that someone’s yard is unsightly because they haven’t cut it down to a carpet of green or that a garden is disorderly because its plants have not been pruned to a form or planted to a pattern. This opinion of the traditional has impeded our ability to truly appreciate the intrinsic value which plants bring into our landscape and the role that even the smallest garden can have on the environment.
Look at the non-traditional styles of gardening and separate yourself from the anthropogenic opinions of landscaping which we have become so accustom to. Consider the low maintenance requirements of having an native grassland or wildflower meadow instead of a manicured plant bed. Appreciate the biodiversity created by native perennials and shrubs which can be identified by the fauna which will surely be attracted to these plants. Once you acknowledge the lack of sustainability associated with a traditional landscape which requires constant input and adaptation then you can open yourself to the beauty of a non-traditional landscape design.
For gardeners that don’t have the time, patience or money to maintain a traditional landscape then it may be wise to consider the non-traditional. This advice is important even for avid gardeners that are willing to provide the input demanded of a traditional landscape. There can only be positive outcomes from adapting your garden to provide more biological diversity and require less input while still maintaining a certain aesthetic.
References - All licencing information can be found at the following links
ricoeurian. (2007. Georgian Style Flower Garden. Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamespaullong/539010126