Rustic gardens are visual throwbacks. They evoke a different era, a quieter time. They have the charm of the old-fashioned, a sort of aged sturdiness that values endurance over order, ruggedness over beauty. Nothing is picture perfect in this type of garden.
Rustic gardens are not for the Type A gardener. They are not for gardeners who obsessively trim and pot and replant and plan. Nothing wrong with those approaches, but they are the precise opposite of a garden designed and built with rustic values in mind.
Here are some great examples of salvage style.
PLAN FOR A RUSTIC GARDEN PARADISE
Ask yourself how you’d like to use the new space. Head outside to plan your garden. Take a look around to really get a feel for what you want to build and where it should go.
GO BIG IN PROPORTIONS
If you live on a large lot or acreage, go big in proportion and scale when planning a porch, patio, deck, or pergola. Use plantings and paths to guide people through the yard in a gentle, meandering manner.
CREATE UNDULATIONS IN THE LAWN AND GARDEN BEDS
The gently rolling look evokes a meadow setting, but beyond that, it catches rainfall and becomes a long-lasting source of moisture for the plants. With this strategy, you may not need to begin watering the garden until June.
USE PATHWAYS TO INFLUENCE MOOD
A wide pathway invites a speedy pace and is well-suited to the entry, but as you walk through the garden, let your pathway narrow to invite contemplation. As you slow down to walk a narrow path, “your feelings transform from outward to inward”.
Remember that a rustic garden celebrates nature. If your garden is a little bumpy, or has a bit of a slope to it, you don’t have to rush in and fix it. Simply consider it part of the garden space. Integrate it.
Rustic gardens seem to just cry out for borders. A bit of rough fencing is good – the older, more weathered, and haphazard the better! Or you can work with herbaceous shrubs and create a natural, low maintenance border out of something like Hydrangea.
AND ALSO GATES
While those borders can promote a sense of privacy, even mystery, you might also want to be sure that you’ve got a gate. See if you can find one lying around at an antique shop or a tag sale.
CLAIM THE SPACE AS YOUR OWN
Consider a rustic garden as your personal space, not a family home. You can be more free spirited. Take chances and use items that reflect your personality that don’t work with your home decor.
Where stone is abundant, use it to edge a garden, create a pathway or patio, build a firepit or retaining wall, or create an accent within a flower bed. Allow moss or low ground cover to grow between stones to soften the look.
: Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating a lovely rustic garden. The key is to let your creativity flow without working too hard to contain or restrain it. Even when designing for a certain setting, such as rustic or woodland, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind about how your space and your own personality might inform the landscaping.