In Geometry Makes a Garden Better, landscape designer Warren Leach takes us through his process of designing a small garden for Peter and Shirley Williams of North Grafton, Massachusetts. Warren had a challenge when beginning to tackle this space, as it was a small area hemmed in by stone walls on three sides and a pool on the other. The space was also off-center to the pool. To fix this, Warren created a circular bosquet of Sugar Tyme® crabapple trees that matched up with the center of the pool. This sight line then became the center of the garden.
Two large island beds were installed to the right of the trees. They are shaped irregularly with angles and curves, which allows for unique perspectives from which to view the different planting combinations and allows for straight and curved walking paths between the beds. To the left of the crabapples is a long bed with angular borders that forms a zigzag pattern. This bed is filled with colorful plants with wow-worthy foliage and is one of the centerpieces of the garden. Walking past this bed, you’ll enter a circular lawn space that continues the theme of strong geometrical shapes. The lawn space is bordered by a number of garden beds with curved borders. In the back left corner sits a small seating area in some shade where you can look out onto the garden while listening to the gurgle of a nearby fountain. On the other side of the lawn is a circular raised bed that acts as a moon garden, with many plants with white or variegated foliage.
Below, you’ll find some plant identifications for two key areas of the garden: the pool and the bed with the zigzag border.
- Goldmoss sedum (Sedum acre, Zones 4–9)
- ‘Album’ autumn crocus (Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’, Zones 4–9)
- ‘Hameln’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’, Zones 5–9)
- ‘Elijah Blue’ blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, Zones 4–8)
- Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, Zones 4–9)
- Desdemona® rose (Rosa ‘Auskindling’, Zones 5–11)
- Seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides, Zones 5–9)
- Sugar Tyme® crabapples (Malus ‘Sutyzam’, Zones 4–8)
- ‘Elizabeth’ magnolia (Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’, Zones 4–8)
- ‘Do Tell’ peony (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’, Zones 3–8)
- Siberian iris (Iris sibirica cv., Zones 3–8)
- ‘White Cloud’ calamint (Calamintha nepeta subsp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’, Zones 5–9)
- Little Devil™ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Donna May’, Zones 3–7)
- ‘Chocolate’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’, Zones 4–8)
- ‘Gold Mound’ Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Gold Mound’, Zones 4–8)
- Wine and Roses® weigela (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’, Zones 4–8)
- Red-leaved rose (Rosa glauca, Zones 2–8)
- Russian sage (Salvia yangii syn. Perovskia atriplicifolia, Zones 5–9)
- Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9)
- ‘Royal Purple’ smokebush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, Zones 4–8)