There is a lot about planting and garden design that we can learn from Piet Oudolf, his romantic and naturalistic approach to planting large landscapes is special and different to many other designers, which is why he is so influential in the industry. His style can be replicated in any size garden with some tweaks here and there for size but the natural drama and colour he creates for all year interest is second to none. Take a look at some of his work in places such as The Millennium Garden at Pensthorpe Natural Park to Battery Park in New York, also the High Line in New York to County Cork Garden in Ireland. So what can we learn from Piet Oudolf?
- The garden should look good through all seasons
- Experiment with plants
- Think longevity with planting
The garden should look good through all seasons according to Piet Oudolf
The majority of planting in Piet Oudolfs designs are at their best in early Autumn, but every plant is chosen to look good and different all throughout the year. Think tall grasses in swathes, perennials with beautiful seed heads and plants that sway in the breeze complimenting all of the colours in the surrounding landscape yet contrasting at the same time. He focuses very much on structure, not just flower and appreciates plants in all of their forms throughout the year. So by understanding what your plants will look like in Autumn and Winter, you can have interest all year and also for wildlife.
Learn to experiment with plants from Piet Oudolf
Use your own garden to experiment as gardens continuously evolve over the years. Piet Oudolfs own gardens have been a botanical place of experimenting for over 30 years. It’s there in his own gardens he learns what works well together and plants will change as he develops new ideas and visions. It’s great to experiment with plants and learn what you love to work with and different planting combinations, so why not use your borders as an experimental place to both enjoy and learn from.
Think longevity with planting is important to learn from
Much of Piet’s planting schemes involve perennials that are large, strong and have a clumping habit. This really means they will grow and last for many years with little maintenance. The clumping habit of the plants contributes to the swathes that are seen in Piet Oudolf’s designs giving a sweeping, naturalistic and stunning effect across the landscape he works in. Even in a small garden, by choosing plants and placing them in swathes within a border, the effect can still be very beautiful.