Garden Terms


A formal walk bordered by trees, planted in 2 parallel rows

  • Frame scenic vista, statue, or focal point
  • A permanent feature
  • Makes space feel longer
  • Strengthen design effect by planting hedge row along outside allee, adds depth
  • Sequence: slows down direction, but by repetition, it carries the eye forward:
    • sequential rooms=made of clipped hedges
    • formal meander-break up the length of perimeter hedge
    • directions for planting:  “Creating an Allee Through Your Garden”, by Judith R. Tries. Fine Gardening Magazine


  • Survive only 1 season, workhorses, love the HEAT
  • Most native to tropical climates where high temperatures are the norm
  • stick to larger quantities of a few types of plants, rather than the over-busy look of a few of everything.
  • Not all plants need to have flowers to be great additions to the garden. Foliage plants such as coleus, Persian shield, ‘Magilla’ perilla, Joseph’s coat and copper leaf add color and texture whether used as a filler or focal point.
  • form roots that are very shallow.  Everything that goes on in a container or ground planted annual garden happens in the first 8 to 10 inches below ground.  Annual plants only want to set seed before the end of the season, they will bloom and set seed at the expense of a substantial root system.   DS
  • top 8 inches of soil needs to be loaded with organic material and watered regularly. 


  • paths can run straight or curve out from the back door to form a spine of a garden
  • year-round interest is paramount
  • best backyards combine inside of the house with outside
  • look out the back door to see a focal point
  • key windows/doors at back house give rise to the important path that provides a way out into the garden from the house, linking the 2
  • extend wings of the house into the garden
  • gardens in an ell
    • outdoor sitting areas in ell feel like outdoor room bc 2 sides of the house create walls
    • an arbor over a deck gives the deck a more human scale
    • sitting/dining areas set into ell feel snug, intimate
    • trees provide a ceiling for your outdoor room
    • gardens in the ell of a 3 story house need trees
  • play spaces for all ages: treehouse, pool, sports, bocce, frisbee