I am putting together a piece of writing about gardens without plants and would be interested in your views.
Has anyone ever been asked to design a plant-free garden?
Is a garden without plants a garden?
How much hard landscape can we as a society take?
Thanks Linda, I am well aware of how the dictionary defines a garden, but where would we be if we - designers, artists, - stuck to definitions? What is an Andy Goldsworthy ? A piece of Art? landscape? installation? concept ?
What is interesting is how quickly people think of car park when you mention a garden without plants.
What about this: this is called The Garden .........................at Yale. ( Please don't blame it on Americans! remember The High Line.)
Linda Laxton said:
by the way the dictionary definition of a garden is "an enclosed space used for the cultivation of flowers, fruit and vegetables"
I am still strongly against encouraging people to avoid using plants. There are so many front gardens on bungalow estates covered in gravel and paving. All these wasted areas (for biodiversity) around the country add up.
As has been mentioned before on this post, it is bad in many ways, and something that I would never undertake.
Luckily people are starting to wise up ! and things are starting to change, - If you remember it used to be ok to wear a fur coat.
I see that you want to close the topic now,
I think that as the publisher of this post you can close it yourself. Probably from the edit function.
You can also delete it if you so wish, lol
If you are designing a garden it needs to include plants. If you're designing an outdoor space without plants it shouldn't be called a garden. That's the conclusion I'm coming to after reading everyone's responses.
This doesn't mean that designs for the space behind or in front of a house must have plants. Fantastic designs can be achieved in this space without including plants. Depends what the client wants to use this area for.
But if there are no plants it can't be called a garden. Trouble is I have no idea what to then call this space. Maybe just house exterior although that doesn't sound great!
Yes both the people living there have horrible allergy problems. I think the garden is going to be all hardscape and no plants at all. Its quite a challenge for me as my gardens always contain planting, but I have a strong design idea so hopefully it will see me through!?
Jennifer Mitchell said:
I take it that this is an allergy problem they are trying to solve?
John Cavill said:
I have just been commissioned to design a low pollen garden with more emphasis into the structures than the actual planting. They are even considering a no plant garden, providing I can give them the special area they want and still make it look lush other than clinical. Is this what you are looking for?
I design and create gardens for my maintenance customers if they want it. If they were dead set on a plantless garden then i would do it as they would only get someone else to do it. However, i am a conservation and wildlife nut so would not push the plantless garden at all.
I am always aware that alot of hard landscaping etc can ruin the plot forever. Top soil removed, tons of hardcore gravel etc thrown in . That is going to take some removing and top soil put back in when years down the line a subsequent owner wants a "proper" garden.
From a wildlife point of view the area is almost sterile. From a conservation point of view the carbon foot print is massive - remove soil and other materials (landfill?), bring in construction materials, fuel and materials to make the materials and the fuel etc used to remove it all years down the line and "make good".
Thats my view of things.
One other major factor is the simple fact that such design would need to ensure that the regulations are obeyed. In the UK some of the cited garden design is simply illegal - SUDS regulations are consistently getting tighter and there is even stricter regulations in the pipeline. I have found more recently that when working from a designers brief the time taken both in France and the UK, in ensuring that the design does not break the law is becoming greater and this time needs to be accounted for financially.
SUDS and other legislation is there to help prevent flooding events becoming more catastrophic and it is worth mentioning that in all enquiries subsequent to recent flooding in the UK; blame has been specifically targeted towards the overuse of hard landscaping surfaces.
Not sure whether I missed the boat on this one but does a garden have to have plants would be my question. More to the point in my case, do those plants have to be real plants? I set up a company this year specialising in artificial grass supply and installation which fills many peoples desire to have a lawn still, but without the necessary maintenance required to keep it nice. Some people are just unfortunate in that they live in houses with land which can't grow grass, and others have grass but is constantly wrecked by pets and children. Artificial Grass gives them the answers they have been looking for - Safe, functional, low maintenance, hard wearing, and cost effective and has a great look and feel too.
Continuing the theme, I also supply a range of artificial tree's and plants which can be used outdoors and in. These are great for patios or the none green fingered people who want nice looking gardens but don't have the time or know how to tend to them and instead of spending money year after year replacing real plants which unfortunately die, artificial alternatives can be moved around and swapped with great ease and simplicity.
So my view on your topic is this, I love real plants and tree's, I'm not great at keeping them, but I'm a businessman and my time is precious and seldom have much of it spare to tend plants or lawns. I have completely stripped my incumbering garden, front and back, of labour intensive or money draining items and have gone completely for low to zero maintenance alternatives which at very worst require a blast of water to clean. I know its not to everyones tastes but often just giving people an alternative is all a customer wants.
The dictionary definitionary definitely I've found is that a garden is an area adjoining a house usually containing plants, trees etc etc. As it contains the work 'usually' I suppose that you could say that a garden could still be a garden and not contain any plants.
Not to my taste of course, I love high maintenance and masses of flowers because that's the joy of gardening for me personally, but there definitely seems to be a growing interest in high quality artificial plants.
I have seen a couple of gardens which are almost entirely artificial and I would say they are tidy, attractive in their own way but utterly sterile.
Totally agree, but on the other hand I enjoy, Japanees gardens and Desert Landscape with very little amount of plants as it makes them be more dramatic. ( no plants at all is a too bare but I had projects that based on hanging baskets ( commercial parking for big factory) .
Jane Stewart said:
A garden without plants is a "yard" or an "outdoor room" but it is not a garden