Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, your garden should be a place of comfort and respite from the hectic modern world. Although the glossy photos in home and garden magazines may seem unattainable and prohibitively expensive to the average gardener, that is not entirely true. With good design, planning, patience, and creativity, you can easily obtain your dream garden.
Below are a few garden themes to inspire your garden transformation journey. You can experiment by combining them or selecting just one depending on your personal preference, budget, and location. Keep in mind that your garden should be compatible with your climate and grow plants that will withstand local weather conditions. Otherwise, you may want to consider an indoor or greenhouse garden with more control. If you’re planting in-ground, it is important to test soil conditions to ensure good quality soil, which is important for a successful harvest. The ideal soil type for most vegetables is sandy loam, which is soil that is loose, drains well, and rich in organic matter. Our 17" tall raised garden bed kits are tall enough to accommodate the root requirements of most vegetables if you want total control over the soil contents rather than using the in-ground soil components of the area. A benefit of raised bed gardening is that you do not need a large space; you can place them virtually anywhere: front yard, backyard, patio, driveway, and basically any other flat surface. Raised garden beds invoke a clean, minimalist aesthetic that is an attractive focal point to any garden and can limit overgrowth and excessive maintenance.
Once you have this foundation prepared, you can branch out into any of the following unique themes for your garden!
1. Edible Garden
An edible garden is very popular among gardeners of all kinds. A great way to get garden to table benefits is by planting your own fruits and vegetables, which is a more sustainable way to source food. For beginner and seasoned gardeners looking for a way to shake things up, consider growing a pizza garden, a garden that consists of common ingredients used in pizza sauce and as toppings. For example, oregano, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, onions (or chives), and other herbs or vegetables! Theming your garden around a specific food or type of cuisine is a great way to add some fun into your garden.
This type of garden is meant to invoke the romantic era of art and culture. Despite its name, a romantic garden is not just for romance lovers and the artistically inclined individuals. Anyone that loves to admire a beautiful garden and an architectural design will love this theme! Common aspects include arches, secret hideaways, sitting areas, and soft, muted colors. These elements and more create a dreamy atmosphere that is ideal for mindful reflection and daydreaming like a wistful heartbroken maiden from an 1800s novel. Roses are a popular option to grow in romantic gardens. If you wish to preserve some historical accuracy or want a very fragrant garden, consider growing heirloom or old garden roses; these are both species of roses that have existed since before 1867. Besides roses, other flowers that will add some dreaminess to your garden include bluebells, bleeding hearts, foxgloves, and delicate groundcovers.
3. Cottage Garden
Also known as the English garden, a cottage garden embodies the wild and exuberant quality reminiscent of English garden paintings. Cottage gardens are a subset of the romantic garden; the cottage garden conjures up quaint images of wisteria blossoms, sweeping vines, and rustic manor houses. However, while a romantic garden may have more clearly delineated paths, a cottage garden is often designed to appear unkempt, the teeming masses of flowers restrained only by a fence. A cottage garden is perfect for gardeners that are a little more on the lazy side. No shame! It’s a way to balance your eye for beauty with your more “leisurely” garden habits. With proper planning, you can give your garden and home a cottage look. Prioritize traditional plants such as hydrangeas, irises, delphiniums, hollyhocks, poppies, and foxgloves. Cottage gardens often include climbing roses over stone arches, trellises, birdbaths, fountains, and natural stone or wood borders.
4. Goth Garden
If you enjoy scary movies, have a fascination with the macabre, are drawn in by the dark aesthetic of a brooding Victorian era vampire, or just vibe with a darker color palette, you might consider growing a gothic or goth garden. A goth garden can be stylish year-round, but it will make Halloween decorating easier than ever and set just the right mood as you start putting out the jack-o-lanterns. Artistically, gothic gardens often feature twisting pathways, crumbling statues, overgrown thorny vines, decaying foliage that obscures the paths, and a haunting fog that seems to never dissipate. While this may work in art and literature, you’ll need your garden to be a bit more functional. Look for unique vintage items, ornamental lanterns, and metal or partially damaged stone statues to accent your garden and invoke an eerie ambience. For plants, stick with colors ranging from deep burgundy to aubergine to almost black. It’s always great to add mossy plants and maybe a willow tree to add some mystery. Consider implementing this theme on a small-scale to try it out, and expand it further if you find it interesting.5. Butterfly Garden
Also known as a pollinator garden, butterfly gardens have become popular features in yards and public parks over the years. To establish a butterfly garden, select a sunny location that is not overly windy. Provide a water source by mixing sand or soil in a shallow bowl and placing it near your garden. Butterflies cannot land on water, so a traditional water bowl or birdbath will not work.. Standard perennials commonly found in butterfly gardens include milkweed, coneflowers, hyssop, beebalm, and asters. Nectar-rich flowers include cosmos, petunias, and zinnias. You should refrain from using pesticides, as pollinators are very sensitive to these substances. It is always best to plant the native plants to your area.
6. Tropical Garden
If you live in a hot or humid climate, consider growing a tropical or subtropical garden. With exotic plants and bright splashes of color, tropical gardens are reminiscent of favorite holiday destinations without the cost or travel. Tropical gardens typically feature tall, leafy plants with bold colors. Backyard pools pair well with tropical gardens, so if you have the budget, opt for an ornately tiled pool to further instill the feel of a tropical getaway. Good choices for plants include birds of paradise, palms, orchids, callas, and hibiscus. Foliage should be vibrant and colorful, with the taller plants layered near the back. Plant some citrus trees or dragon fruit in containers to brighten up a yard, deck, or patio. Vego Garden’s dragon fruit rolling planter makes it easy to grow dragon fruit at home. If you don’t live in a climate conducive to tropical plants, consider a greenhouse or some indoor plants for a smaller scale version.
7. Bohemian Garden
A bohemian garden is an increasingly popular look ideal for those wishing to feel free-spirited and adventurous. Common themes include artistic vintage pieces, hanging fairy lights, and lush plants and trees. All of which help to foster a creative and whimsical atmosphere. Some gardeners chose to incorporate bright prints and cushions with unique patterns to create an eccentric look. While almost any plant with dark green foliage and/or bright colors will suffice, hydrangeas, dahlias, and lavender are popular options.
8. Apothecary Garden
One of the lesser-known garden types, apothecary gardens have been around since Medieval times. In Europe, monastic orders frequently grew an apothecary garden to treat various ailments. While medical practices in the Middle Ages were poor, the efficacy of some herbs is well-documented. Many medicinal herbs and plants are easy to grow and offer a myriad of benefits. Research is necessary to understand which herbs to grow and how to prepare them to access their medicinal benefits. This garden is considered low maintenance, as many herbs can easily be grown in any type of container or in-ground. Common plants in an apothecary garden include lavender, sage, thyme, spearmint, chamomile, and rosemary. Small indoor apothecary gardens are a great way to introduce some greenery into your home or kitchen.
9. Relaxation Garden
After an exhausting day, whether at work or in a labor-intensive garden, many gardeners find it necessary to find a place to just sit down and relax. A relaxation garden sets apart space for gardeners to unwind. When creating a relaxation station, choose seats with comfortable cushions that are easy on the back. Consider a veranda to provide a shaded area, especially if you live in hot climates. Plants should be mostly green or subdued to encourage a sense of calm. You do not want anything too bright or attractive to other critters, producing the opposite of the intended effect. Some people like to include chimes, small fountains, and zen garden-style sand boxes. Do whatever feels right and most comfortable to you.
10. Sunflower Garden
Even if they only occupy a small portion of your garden, sunflowers have an instant mood boosting effect, with their cheerful yellow color and buoyant flower heads. Plant them next to other yellow flowers, or mix it up with vibrant colors of purple, pink, and red. In addition to the ubiquitous yellow, there are red, white, and ‘Strawberry Blonde’ varieties you can choose from. True to their name, they need full sun, so place them in well-lit areas that are maybe an eyesore otherwise to liven them up. A vibrant sunflower garden is not for those that prefer subtlety. Make a statement and commit to a beautiful and brightly colored garden!