Our garden expert Dale Vine shares his ideas for creating a garden that’s a little bit wild and free.
1 INFORMAL A raw, natural and often whimsical feeling can be created by an informal garden. While a well-maintained design with shaped hedges and a precise lawn is pleasing, there is something joyful and almost freeing about witnessing flowers growing wildly among garden beds as if in an untouched wilderness.
2 DITCH THE EDGES Removing garden edging states that “this garden has no boundaries”. Plants will seem like they’ve naturally established there, rather than being placed in chosen positions.
3 PATHS IN DISGUISE In a wild garden, paths should not be beautifully paved and stand out as in formal/modern designs. A path should simply lead you through the natural spaces left between plant growth, so are best created out of natural materials and in earthy colours.
4 ATTRACTING WILDLIFE The simplest way to add movement and life to a wild garden is with wildlife. Select plant varieties that will attract birds, insects and other native fauna, as this will create a habitat for an abundance of species and bring in the sights and sounds of life.
5 NATURAL CURVES Many landscape features, like rivers, mountain ranges and bushland viewed from the sky, are curvy. Reflected in informal garden beds, curves will give the impression of wild terrain.
6 MIXING SPECIES To recreate a natural mix of plant species, intersperse taller plants and trees with bushes, grasses and groundcovers, deciduous species with evergreens and annual flowers among perennials. There’s no need to neatly layer heights and textures.
7 NATIVE GRASSES Nothing says wild more than native grass species. We have many different forms of poa species with different heights, textures and colours. Shades of green, brown, orange, red, purple and blue are all found among different native grasses. Planted en mass, their wild forms create a natural look.
8 ELIMINATING BALANCE In a formal garden, borders create a visual path to a feature or view. In a wild garden, create a visual imbalance with bright flowering plants in some areas differing from plain coloured grasses in another. Your eyes will take in the garden but not as a whole, creating a more whimsical experience.
9 ILLUSION OF SECLUSION Creating your wild garden to block views of your home – for example with trees – will let your imagination take you further away and enhance enjoyment of its wilderness.
10 ROCKS AND LOGS Place weathered logs, stump or oversized rocks (instead of features like garden ornaments, statues and pots) randomly around the garden. This will give the impression of a wild, untamed habitat – and could also provide shelter to small wildlife such as frogs.