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Design

Give Your Garden Mass Appeal

Increase drama and reduce maintenance with a design that focuses on grouping your plants

Fine Gardening - Issue 192
Get a high-impact, low-care garden. There may not be a ton of different types of plants in this landscape, but it’s still eye-catching. The interest comes from selecting a limited number of varieties and then grouping them into flowing masses.

There is no denying that massing plants makes an impact. Many of the most compelling gardens (think Piet Oudolf’s High Line plantings in New York) feature masses of plants. Massing has played a big role in a couple of influential planting movements of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The New American Garden style of Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden, and the New Perennial Movement, championed by Oudolf, Noel Kingsbury, and others, immediately jump to mind. We know their names, and some of us can conjure up an idea of what their planting styles may look like. But more often when gardeners think of massing, they call to mind big commercial properties.

These spaces generally have large installations of some common plant that are surrounded by mulch. They look rigid and feel cold and impersonal—exactly the opposite of how we want our home gardens to feel. So…

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