What is the difference between gardening and landscaping? Hopefully, in the next few paragraphs, I can illustrate the difference.

Landscaping is to a garden as a hot dog is to a filet mignon… you know that a hot dog is a food, but that’s where the similarity ends. Landscaping is what most builders provide when you purchase a new home. They place five or six small shrubs along the front and a tall one in the corner, and if you’re lucky, a shade tree along the street or in the lawn. This is the bare minimum required to have some color and interest for your house. This is an example of the idea of just providing some landscaping to your property.

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Gardens, true gardens, have one universal connection- one of diversity. A diverse garden is about bringing all of your senses into play. A diverse garden has many varieties of plants, so there is as much color and interest as your particular climate will allow.

A diverse garden allows for active and passive participation. What this means is that you should have places to sit and observe the space (passive). Your garden should also create the desire to move about and experience her gifts (active).

As previously mentioned, a diverse garden should touch all of your senses. A fragrant blooming viburnum can make you close your eyes and be in that moment. A wind chime creating its special sounds can cause you to pause long enough to be in that moment as well. A water feature, one designed for sound, can actually lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

Let’s talk about attracting wildlife. If your property allows for enough space, you can plant certain species of trees and shrubs with berries to attract birds. You could plant a butterfly bush which actually attracts butterflies. You can plant certain perennials to attract hummingbirds. If bees are your thing, then install a Russian Sage, a guaranteed magnet for those little fellows.

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A diverse garden should also satisfy one very important factor- that of privacy. Privacy, created by plantings or man-made structures, will allow you to be completely immersed in your space. To fully feel the power and beauty of your garden, all visual and audio distractions should be minimized as much as possible.

As a final touch to a personalized garden, add a piece of art. It may be in the form of a statue, a wind-driven mobile or a decorative wall hanging. Someone once said that “a garden is like a fingerprint- each unique to their owner”. Personalizing your space with art gives you active participation in its final look and feel.

To truly illustrate the difference, I’ll leave you with one vision of a diverse garden…

Imagine walking out your back door on a warm, late spring evening. You head towards your outdoor kitchen to begin cooking dinner. Along the way, you reach down and pick a handful of rosemary growing in a beautiful blue glazed pot. The scent of lilac and viburnum fills your nostrils as you fire up the grill. You let the grill warm up as you go sit under the pergola on a soft lounge chair to enjoy a drink. Your friends begin to arrive and start filling up the space, giving it an intimate feeling. The sound of the waterfall adds a wonderful white noise behind the conversations. Perennial flowers are adding pops of color throughout the garden, and the kids are playing on the lush turf with the family dog. The outdoor lights kick on and give the entire scene a warm glow. A soft breeze blows and the wind chimes mix with the laughter of your guests. You decide to turn on some music, with your outdoor speakers placed strategically around the garden.

After dinner, you and your friends gather around the fire pit and begin toasting marshmallows. Everyone comments about the interesting bronze sculpture you recently added, surrounded by flowering dianthus and late blooming tulips. You end the evening under the stars with good friends and heartfelt conversation.

Welcome to the diverse garden!! – Allen M. Davis | Landscape Connection

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