Have you ever wondered why space is important in gardening? Even in miniature landscaping, space is a crucial element of design. It defines importance to objects, provides areas that make the design interesting, and leads the eye through the garden. The tip to bringing a sense of order to garden spaces is to add negative and positive features by using hardscape.
Since positive space refers to the area that an object occupies, negative space is the open area between the design elements. When planning a miniature garden, consider negative areas of design that contain pebbles, sand, stepping stones, or lawn. With these elements in the garden, the eyes will be able to rest and notice the important visual accessories.
Let's start with the "importance of objects." Look around your neighborhood and notice how many homes have sidewalks leading up to the front door. The negative space of the sidewalk gives importance to the homes. This same concept can be applied to miniature cottages. Create a pebble pathway, design a stone sidewalk, or add stepping stones that lead to the front door of the fairy cottage. Immediately, the cottage becomes a central feature of your mini garden.
Next, consider the layout of the walkway, because it will define how the positive space is filled. A smooth transition between the two spaces is desired, so begin lining the walkway with edging plants and gradually increase the height of the plants. Remember that the number and size of objects affect the space. A group of odd-numbered plants in a miniature garden provides a pleasing design effect. Many plants scattered throughout the garden take away from the unity or balance of the space, while groupings make the design interesting.
Finally, the mini gardener needs to consider how the correct use of space leads the eye through the garden. Study your landscape. What features and accessories are going to be the important items in your miniature garden? A cottage, bench, or gazebo may be focal points in the garden. Many times a pond or waterfall can be an important element in your garden. Those items will fill the positive spaces. Now think of what types of hardscape could be used to lead the eye from the negative space to the items of interest. A lawn planted with Baby Tears or Wooly Thyme gives an open feeling to the mini garden and leads the eye to notice the plants bordering the lawn.
Mini gardeners can find much satisfaction when experimenting with space, since it is a crucial element in design. Miniature gardens need negative and positive spaces to make the landscape interesting. Take time to create a plan that makes space a significant aspect of the design.