The borrowed landscape design style

Landscape Design

How borrowing  from your neighbour’s landscape design can bring out the best  in yours.

When Doug and Nancy came looking for garden decor for their courtyard wall they were after a mirror that would reflect the views from their outdoor living deck. Looking at their photos, it was easy to see the potential to get much more than just reflections, out of their beautiful Brisbane retirement village home. Luckily they were open and enthusiastic about ideas offered.

Around their courtyard deck was a collection of timber planters filled with a mixture of small trees and plants that didn’t really match.  Nothing that clearly described a confident style.  By contrast the neighbourhood style, which they looked right onto, was a distinctive landscape design style I call lush layers. Where plants are used to create rich deliberate layers and trees, selected for their style, are planted to create the ‘pop’ factor through those layers… Well that’s my designer version..

The borrowed landscape is a term used to describe how elements from other gardens we look onto, can be used to our own advantage in landscape design projects. I find that works even for small courtyard spaces.

It didn’t mean Nancy and Doug had to throw everything away and start again! Rather borrowing from that adjoining design style and connecting it theirs. Blurring the boundaries to have it read as one extended space.

Here’s how they did that:

  • Aligned all the matching planter boxes along the wall facing the view.
  • Place the other planter boxes and features deliberately so they balanced to extend the design round the courtyard.
  • Replaced mismatched trees with species that matched and where their colour varied, alternate those to maintain formality.
  • Layered plants to create distinct levels.  High – medium and low. Aiming for lush.
  • Used rich textural and shape variation in the foliage to accentuate those lines.
  • Put anything that was not in keeping with that theme in a separate space away from that sight line.
  • Hung the wrought iron wall mirror to maximize the effect so it reflected the styled courtyard and the borrowed landscape from inside and out.

In keeping with their attention to detail everything was finished perfectly even sourcing an old slab of sandstone to raise their water feature up to make it more of a statement.

NOW- Their entertaining deck no longer looks isolated from its surroundings. It’s connected, and whether they’re having a drink outdoors with friends – or inside reading the morning paper – when you look up –for a moment you could imagine you are in a grand estate garden just about anywhere.  Even if you just appreciate your own achievements in this beautiful riverside village you’d feel really proud and content.  Cheers to fun, friendly people who are open to ideas.